Things move really fast in the field of software development. Thing often start off with small micro trends which in a short period of time end up becoming massive industry wide movements. Ofcourse you need your internal hubris detector to figure out what is real and what is fluff. Another issue with predicting future in a dynamic space like tech is — the timeline of how technologies will pan out, penetrate or commercialise.
But a thing about being right in tech and placing your bets early on is that you will get an exponential ROI. That is the very same reason why Jeff Bezos insists on making Amazon ‘ one of the best places to fail’. As a developer that means investing your time learning a new framework or technology only to realise later that the project which seemed to once have immense potential is now discontinued.
So best way to predict future is to either do it yourself or hangout with people who are doing it. Based on lot of conversations I have had had with pioneers in different fields of tech from startup founders to double phd Stanford developers has made me quite optimistic about the mega trend that is blockchain. Lets take a look into it.
Blockchain is real. It is important to understand that the biggest debate we have currently in the modern society is about data and who really owns it. This has led to huge scandals such as with Cambrdige Analytica + FB , or big companies who we use to think of themselves as custodians of data have had security breaches because of their lax approach to prepping up their cybersecruity efforts.
Traditionally the model which companies like google and facebook have pioneered is that the developers of the platform or service provider will own the data and can basically do whatever they want with it. But blockchain as a technology offers a fundamentally new way to think about ownership of that data. An immutable decentralised system where users own the data.
Blockchain is already implemented by big banks and financial institutions for vaious finanical applications where blockchain is creating billions of dollars of new business or value. This has led to an explosion in demand of blockchain developers in areas all around the world. Many of big players in the blockchain space were asked about the hurdles and their answer was unanimously lack of blockchain talent after govenrment regulations.
To become a really good blockchain developer you need strong indepth understanding of various types of data structures such Data Trees, Hashmaps, Queues, Stacks etc. Afterall, blockchain very simply put is a distributed database, so all of the knwoledge about data structures really comes in handy as you will have to write really efficient code which optimises for machine usage and performance.
You also need to be familiar with various messaging protocols such as publisher subscriber, message broker, bus architecture to faciliate updation of ledger after every transaction. Understanding the nuances of differences between legacy architectures of client-server vs blockchain architecture would also be critical.
Lot of talent demand is from existing large isntitutions and multi national organisations who are hiring not only blockchain developers but also economics graduates, researchers with sepcilisation or expeirence in blockchain.
There is lot of money ( about $4 billion dollars ) which has been raised in ICOs and it has created a mad race to acquire talent who can execute the lofty visions outlined in their white papers. If you look at the ratio, then there are more than 20 job opening for a single blockchain developer. According to talent marketplaces like Toptal, upwork etc- blockchain development has become the most demanded developer skill.
There are couple of specific skills - such as building payment based apps usign Ripple which is a payment protocol designed for remittances and exchanges, then there is smart contract programming language for Ethreurm machine called Solidity and other important one is Hyperledger Fabric which is an open source enteprise blockchain network.
So blockchain is real and is the mega software development trend in the year 2018, the question really is how do you plan to embrace this financial and technological renaissance.