It’s a good time to be working in blockchains or Bitcoin, with salaries climbing and a host of job openings chasing fewer interested developers.
Online recruitment firm Glassdoor this month reported a 300 percent increase on its site in job openings seeking people with blockchain skills. The company compared blockchain job openings in August 2018 with openings in August 2017, counting 1,175 open jobs in the United States in 2018 and just 446 in 2017. Most of those new jobs, Glassdoor reported, are in New York City (421 openings), San Francisco (381 openings), and San Jose (99 openings). Internationally, recruiters are mostly looking for blockchain engineers in London (189 openings), Singapore (85 openings), Toronto (82 openings), and Hong Kong (79 openings), according to the company.
What is a blockchain engineer? Glassdoor indicated that it can be a lot of things, including an analyst relations manager, product manager, and front-end engineer, but “software engineer” tops the list.
Demand for freelance blockchain experts is also booming, according to Upwork, an online marketplace for freelancers. Upwork’s Q2 2018 Skills Index listed “blockchain” as the fastest growing skill set in terms of demand, growing 3,500 percent over Q2 2017.
All these potential employers may be on the hunt for engineers for a while—because the number of software engineers looking for a new job involving blockchains or cryptocurrencies has been falling fast. Job site Indeed.com took a look at searches per million for jobs including the terms “blockchain,” “Bitcoin,” and “cryptocurrency,” and found a big drop in searches since the beginning of 2018, with “blockchain” down 37 percent, “Bitcoin” down 72 percent, and “cryptocurrency” down 70 percent.
With demand rising and supply falling, salaries should be going up. Glassdoor’s data indicated that salaries for blockchain developers are running level with other software jobs in similar regions—US $102,104 for a blockchain developer offered in New York City, compared with a $104,630 median salary for all software engineers there.
But other recent surveys are finding that blockchain expertise commands an increasing premium. According to Janco Associates’ 2019 IT Salary Survey, the median salary for a blockchain developer is currently $127,000; experienced blockchain engineers are making $172,000. That compares in Janco’s analysis with a $100,000 median salary for IT jobs overall. The picture looks even better to recruitment firm Hired; in data provided to CNBC the company indicated that global salaries for blockchain engineers are currently averaging $150,000 to $175,000; a Hired spokesperson says that compares with an average of $135,000 for tech workers overall.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.