Why to consider—and ways to kick-off—a career in cryptocurrencies

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Crypto, despite its current volatility, seems to have staying power. Here's what some companies have to say about landing a gig handling the various popular digital currencies.

Cryptocurrency market concept

Image: Travis Wolfe/Shutterstock

Cryptocurrencies, once considered fringe digital assets, have marooned into the mainstream. You can purchase Bitcoin on Square's Cash App with one click, as well as buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on Paypal's platform. There are even crypto-buy options on an assortment of ATMs at gas stations

Many countries and the private sector are taking note of the surge. Bitcoin, for instance, just became a legal tender of El Salvador, and the Canadian-based, energy-minded bitcoin mining operation, Bitfarms, recently landed on the Nasdaq. With the embracement of these various decentralized currencies, they've, in turn, spawned careers for their upkeep and innovation. 

According to the job website Indeed, from April 2020 to April 2021, the share of cryptocurrency job searches per million "increased by 191.30%" on its platform. "During that same time period, the share of cryptocurrency jobs per million increased by 28.94%," said a spokesperson for the company.  

Indeed added that the following crypto gigs are the most in-demand right now: software architects, senior software engineers, full-stack developers, software developers, back-end developers, lead engineers, security engineers, development operations engineers, front-end developers and platform managers.  

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Bitcoin, of course, was the original decentralized crypto and its creation of blockchain technology has become the backbone for other popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Dogecoin. Essentially, the blockchain is a ledger—a digital way of keeping a record of exchanges—-and one that protects users from double-spending on a given transaction.     

According to Coinbase, which is one of the largest cryptocurrency enterprises in the world, says the crypto job sect is both rewarding and challenging. Coinbase's director of employee experience, Daisy Linden, told TechRepublic that "crypto and the wider world are full of interesting problems we could tackle" and she said that they "look for candidates who will be laser-focused on the mission."  

And yet, she cautioned that, after being more than a year into our remote-first journey, she said that she doesn't know what the future of work looks like for her company. "We need candidates who are comfortable with—even energized by—that ambiguity," Linden said. "Finally, 'top talent in every seat' is a huge focus for us, so we look for employees who are excited, not intimidated, to be part of teams entirely made up of all-stars."

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Moreover, the career website Dice says only a small percentage of the largest sought-after technologist jobs (for its platform, those are software engineer, developer, network engineer/architect and product manager gigs), and they rarely contain the word "blockchain" in job postings, shared Michelle Marian, the CMO of Dice.   

Marian added, "This could change in coming years as industries find new uses for blockchain technology. As with any type of technology, though, it's important to keep in mind that their uses and modifications vary wildly by industry and need. 

For example, Marian said, "blockchain in the context of financial services is different than in cybersecurity." But, she maintained, those "interested in cryptocurrency roles or Bitcoin-related skills might consider focusing on mastering all of the relevant skills related to blockchain." 

Blockchain jobs are lucrative, though, with the median salary hovering around $97,000 a year, and a six-figure one is easily to land, says Dice.  

The academic background to landing a position in blockchain work is relatively lax, says Marian. Knowing the technology, and knowing how it works, is key. 

"Virtually all jobs that currently seek blockchain skills request a bachelor's degree, which indicates there's likely not a need for an advanced degree in order to land a job interview in this field," Marian emphasized.   

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