Though it’s technically still in its early stages, the blockchain industry is projected to grow to a value of 35 billion by the year 2035 (link). This prediction means that blockchains value will surpass that of other recent tech innovations, including artificial intelligence. With this in mind, it’s only appropriate that we should expect job opportunities in the sector to grow as well.
Industry leaders are making efforts to emphasize blockchain’s multiple applications and shift its focus away from merely being associated with Bitcoin and Ethereum, but cryptocurrency is still an undeniable financial force and the focal point of the sector. If you’re familiar with tech and interested in getting involved in the crypto world, there’s likely a counterpart of a traditional job in tech that could work for you with a few minor tweaks. Here are 11 crypto careers that are sure to surge in both popularity and availability:
Project managers are in charge of both helming a team and taking into account constraints like time and money to deliver high-quality finished products in an efficient manner. This position also typically involves supply chain management, dealing with the flow of materials and data across various groups and clients. This is because projects in the digital age have moved beyond the boardroom, often involving many independent contributors.
Possible crypto projects include the incubation of a new coin or governance token, the development of a new application, or the creation of a financial product backed by cryptocurrency. These projects may require extra, blockchain-specific constraints like data volume, security, and chain integrity. In a format where an error could cost thousands and there are no undo buttons, a project manager with expertise and the ability to handle the pressure of an is necessary.
A product manager is an intermediary between the developers of a product, and the marketers and strategists who get it out the door. They need to be involved with every stage of a product’s gestation and release, possessing both knowledge of its technical details and its possibilities and potential.
Crypto must not only know the protocols and incentive mechanisms that go into their creation, but also have an expansive knowledge of crypto space in order to envision their product’s future. Being able to simplify intricate inner workings and make it both digestible and appealing to a skeptical and uninformed general is also a necessity.
A crypto venture cannot be stuck as an idea forever, it needs someone to actually engineer it. A developer needs the computer science knowledge to structure a product, along with the crypto knowledge to make it a reality. Beyond the knowledge of standard programming languages like Python and Java, they must also know blockchain-specific languages like Solidity in order to program within the world of blockchain.
The developer also needs to be acutely aware of the engineering problems that are unique to cryptocurrency. Is the product secure, or are there backdoor corruption possibilities? Will the product perform efficiently, or will it slow down rather than speed up transactions? Will the product’s code correctly isolate tasks for modification or is it impossible to edit?
The developer is undoubtedly one of the most important jobs within the world of crypto and blockchain, however it is also one of the most popular positions that requires far more qualifications than any other job on this list. In addition, the position leaves no room for error, as a simple mis-click on a keyboard can be all a hacker needs to infiltrate the system. The position requires a lot from an applicant, but those who are willing to undertake this role can make 150,000 to 175,000 dollars per year.
Of course, outside of the production of new cryptocurrency projects, there is the booming decentralized finance (DeFi) industry that is built on top of them. Beyond the wide variety of DeFi services, crypto hedge funds are the most visible and reliably successful. Standard financial and investment training is key, but the differences between cryptocurrency and normal assets also need to be kept in mind. Crypto traders may be dealing with more frequent and extreme fluctuations in an industry subject to scares.PwC’s May 2020 Crypto Hedge Fund report sings the praise of growth in the sector: assets under management (AuM) by funds doubled from 1 billion to 2 billion in 2019, showing clear and staggering growth. Additionally, they estimated the median return of crypto hedge funds to be +30%, which should quell fears of those who believe them to be unstable.
A crypto product can offer the most advanced, useful technology in the world, but this technology can also be rendered useless if it doesn’t have good user design. One of the most daunting things to crypto newcomers is its notoriously confusing UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design. This idea of a UX that seems foreign to many has become a large barrier that prevents both newcomers from entering the world of blockchain and the widespread adoption of the technology amongst the general public.
It is important to note that though many of the underpinnings of crypto are techy and complex, their use need not be. Cutting out minutiae and formal jargon from the client end of applications will help them reach a more mainstream audience. As a UX designer, try to think: how could this be made simpler to someone who had never heard of cryptocurrency, much less used it in an exchange?
There is much to say about community development’s integral role in blockchain (see my article on it here). To sum it up, for a technology based on the distribution of power, it’s essential to have a stable user base. Beyond that, one must be willing to engage in good faith with others in the distributed network to avoid issues like forking.
A community development worker should make it their duty to foster a positive group around their product while avoiding insularity or aggression. Additionally, they should try to cultivate a user base even before launch, as this avoids issues with liquidity or token consolidation and gives the product a foundation of users that it can build off of. A crypto product is defined by the community that uses it, so significant attention needs to be given to its care.
Once the product is successfully out the door, it needs someone to sell it. The same business savvy is required per usual, but like the product manager, the key to selling a crypto product is striking a balance between the loyal, fervent blockchain evangelists and those new to the space and waiting to be blown away.
Not only should a worker know what makes the product unique or innovative, they also should know why someone should care about it. They should market the product as the best thing since sliced bread. Another advantage is knowing the crypto space like the back of your hand; being able to navigate it and properly negotiate within it, which is sometimes the case when partnering with other ventures.
Going hand in hand with both product management and business development, marketing is essential to making a new cryptocurrency or app stand out. There have been market floods with each new innovation in blockchain, so being able to successfully differentiate your product from the rest with appealing advertisements and branding is essential.
A crypto marketer at minimum has to deal with normal SEO (search engine optimization) and ad targeting, but a successful one will reach out to potential customers within the crypto space itself, possibly on blockchain-based browsers such as Brave. Each coin wants to be the “next new thing”, so studying successful campaigns is crucial.
After the product finally ends up in the hands of customers, keeping them satisfied with good public relations is mandatory. Many newcomers think that cryptocurrency is risky, and could lead to the loss of large sums of money if a blockchain is damaged. Therefore, crypto ventures need to put large amounts of resources into making their firm, coin, or application seem transparent and reliable.
Customers need to feel safe in doing business, and for crypto businesses that require ample liquidity, this is necessary to make sure clients don’t pull their investments out if they sense weakness or fraud. It’s also important for PR to help establish the project as an authority in the field, since blockchain is such a “new” technology and requires the image of expertise to be trusted by those who are still skeptical.
Once a project has a leader, it needs someone to make sure its team members are taken care of. Good human resource officers are needed to keep the balance between worker satisfaction and the project’s collective interests. Handling anything from discrete payments, to conflict management for digital disputes, to resources for those working halfway across the globe are necessary in the world of HR.
Additionally, crypto projects are notoriously secretive due to the open-source nature of blockchain. This is done to ensure that developers aren’t stolen away or that technology is not co-opted by other companies. The HR department may need to create agreements among employees to ensure privacy, while also keeping spirits light and progress running smoothly.
Stepping back to look at the crypto industry at a meta level, market research needs to be conducted on both itself and the neighboring industries it relies on, such as its tech and monetary competition. The work done by market analysts helps companies determine strategy, demand, and pricing. Cryptocurrency needs market research to expand, showing onlookers the reliability and feasibility of crypto through empirical evidence.