How much does a blockchain developer earn? Coordinator of blockchain developer community and head of recruitment will highlight the issue
On average, a blockchain developer earns 150 to 250 thousand rubles per month, but you can also encounter salaries equal to 300 to 400 thousand, and the need in such specialists will be growing. The information was provided by speakers of Blockchain Conference Moscow: HR expert working in the field of information technologies Alexey Isaev and coordinator of the St. Petersburg community of blockchain developers Dmitry Plakhov. Together we spoke about the popularity of the blockchain technology in the Russian business as well as demand for and incomes of blockchain developers.
Interviewer: Blockchain Conference Moscow (BCM)
Respondents: Dmitry Plakhov (D.P.)
Alexey Isaev (A.I.)
BCM: It seems that every business all of a sudden felt the need for blockchain. How did that happen?
D.P.: I think that there are at least two reasons. Firstly, the technology has matured to become attractive for businesses. Secondly, willing to control this spontaneous interest, the government takes a proactive attitude and requires that state institutions at least introduced their employees to basic principles of the technology. In some cases, demands are set up to study and implement blockchain.
A.I.: I would divide the question in two parts. The first is the real solution of business tasks due to application of blockchain technologies. The second is the use of blockchain in ICO projects and in general, ICO as a new way of fundraising.
Talking about the first thing, I think nobody will argue that there are real-life stories of success that proved the long-term benefits of the technology. In Russia, we can mention Sberbank, S7, and Acronis. It seems that business sees that as well.
BCM: Which niche expertise does the position of a blockchain developer have?
D.P.: Together with members of the blockchain community, we have tried to define this important term, which (thanks to the frequent separate use of the first and second parts) has worn out a little bit. That is why people do not often understand what stands behind this notion. In fact, a blockchain developer is a fullstack programmer that combines the skills of an architect, system administrator, mathematician, network administrator, analyst, and even a little bit of a financier.
Besides, unlike other professions, this position demands active communication in society, being in the forefront of the development. Systems that a blockchain developer is working on are decentralized, meaning that they unite separate points in a single network. One cannot do without communication and diplomacy here.
Therefore, I would not divide this profession in separate competencies, as if you do not have them all, it will be difficult for you to solve tasks in blockchain.
A.I.: Percentage distribution as for the end of 2017 (according to data of Amazing Hiring):
- managers – 28%;
- development – 26%;
- sales and marketing – 6%;
- analysts, HR, designers, QA – 40%.
By the level of complexity: middle – 60%; senior – 30%; junior – 10%. Around 20% of specialists graduated from five top-class universities in Russia: Lomonosov Moscow State University, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, or Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation.
In most cases, blockchain is implemented by large technological companies from various sectors such as banking, aviation, products, telecom, followed by startups and different funds.
BCM: How do you distinguish a good blockchain developer from a bad one?
D.P.: Take the specialist I mentioned above and add such characteristics as determination, diligence, ability to achieve results, and you can call him a good one.
A.I.: The same way as developers in other directions. The market is ‘overheated’ now and one should have unique input data and try his best to find a specialist with truly big experience in blockchain. Therefore, I usually recommend paying closer attention to good developers that are keen on the technology.
I advise the following: when you review companies and projects where a person participated, ask about the specific role and achievements of the person. Factor in proactivity and openness to new knowledge: whether the job applicant participates in conferences, open source projects, obtains additional education. In addition, there is a push or pull factor – the way a person moves from one company to another. If a person finds a new place (being pushed) – that is not cool. If he or she is pulled, that is cool. There are other factors, and I can tell more about them during the presentation.
BCM: What would you recommend to those who have not understood whether they need blockchain in their business?
D.P.: Perform an audit of the project to check on the applicability and integrability of the technology. Our association provides such a service. As a result, the project will receive an official conclusion and in case of a positive verdict concerning the applicability – high-level architecture of the product.
A.I.: As a recruitment specialist, I would recommend to think well before you opt to search for a person with huge experience in the blockchain technology. You will waste time and money and get disappointed in the market. Look for promising applicants interested in the technology, and you will achieve results faster in such a way.
BCM: Would you consider recruiting foreign specialists for remote work at a Russian company?
D.P.: I cannot see any need in that. Russian developers are in great demand not only in our country, and that is for a good reason. We have noticed that any of the actively developing blockchain projects in any part of the world definitely has one of the Saint Petersburg developers on the team.
The mission of our community is to provide professionals with a platform for communication and conduct educational outreach activity. We are striving to grow our own specialists, and to engage beginners in the development process. Of course, we can also engage foreigners.
A.I.: There are very good examples when foreign specialists were engaged as advisors. There are also examples when people were hired remotely from other countries. However, that is mainly the case of companies primarily oriented towards the global market and having offices not only in Russia. Taking into account the ‘overheated’ market, it is not a simple task, especially if a company has only local ambitions.
BCM: Would recommend a developer not familiar with blockchain to start learning this technology?
D.P.: Learning – undoubtedly. A developer is a person that is constantly mastering new technologies, uses new solutions, and optimizes the code and architecture of the software product. It is rather difficult to decide whether it is reasonable to use blockchain in the project.
A.I.: Yes, I would. Currently, the blockchain market can be compared with the Data Science and big data market five years ago. At that time, it was much talked about and look: now it is one of the most demanded professions with very good salaries, possibility to work from any part of the world, and choose tasks to your liking. Isn’t that a reason why you should start entering the blockchain market now? I think that if things keep going as they do now, we can talk about market growth and increase of demand.
BCM: Which average salary can a blockchain developer expect? What does it depend on?
D.P.: It is hard to call a remuneration, which a good blockchain developer can and should receive for building the project’s core, as a salary. Currently, such specialists are in such a great demand that they can afford themselves to participate in several projects simultaneously spending even their personal time on work. That is both good and bad. Good for developers, as they gain experience quickly. Whereas projects lose an opportunity to engage the specialist one hundred per cent, it can influence the quality of a product. However, a shift to a full-time job and a fixed salary is hardly possible for blockchain developers in the short run.
A.I.: Mid-to-senior developers can easily expect a salary of 150-250 thousand rubles per month (net). That is an average figure for the market – many employers are ready to offer such a price today. The peculiarity of a rapidly growing market is that the demand is very big, and consequently, cases of higher salaries are more frequent here (especially if a person has a minimum of experience working with the technology). There are salaries of 300-400 thousand rubles (net). If the company is international, the salary can be even higher, of course.
BCM: What is your forecast: how will competences of a blockchain developer evolve in five years?
D.P.: The abovementioned subcategories might possibly emerge. However, the specialist will not be restricted in his or her open-mindedness within the subcategories. Instead, he will take the responsibility for specific area of development and integration with classical centralized systems.
A.I.: I will repeat that blockchain will follow the same way as Big Data. It will become one of the most popular directions. And, consequently, blockchain developers will be in great demand as well.
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