Careers in Blockchain Technology: Solidity Developer

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Working with blockchain technology can be an exciting opportunity. Explore the career of a solidity developer with the guide below.

[Featured Image]: A solidity developer studies code on multiple computer monitors.

Jobs in the software development industry are projected to grow 22 percent between 2020 and 2030 [1]. Studies suggest that the blockchain market will grow alongside it, creating more opportunities and demand for those with professional experience in blockchain development [2]. This article investigates the role and requirements of a Solidity developer, also known as a smart contract engineer. If you’re interested in working with blockchain technology, read on to learn more about this specialized career path.  

Introduction to blockchains

Blockchains are a type of database. They store and maintain information electronically. An example of a database you might encounter daily is your favorite streaming service. Traditional databases like Netflix organize data into columns and rows, forming tables that computer systems can process. Blockchains differ from traditional databases because they don't use tables to organize information. Instead, blockchains collect and digitally format information into clusters or blocks. 

Blockchain blocks store a finite amount of information. When a block reaches capacity, it closes and links to the one filled before it. As each block links to another, they create a chain of information. Cryptography enables each link to be documented with unchangeable time stamps. This permanent record is public because a blockchain is a shared network. Public, immutable documentation allows blockchain users to validate information like transactions. 

Blockchain development

Blockchain development refers to designing, developing, and testing blockchain systems and applications. There are two varieties of blockchain developers: core and software. Core blockchain developers work on blockchain systems. They focus on blockchain architecture, protocols, and security. In contrast, blockchain software developers focus on developing applications and programs for blockchain platforms. A Solidity developer is a blockchain software developer.

What is Solidity?

Solidity is a programming language. Developers use programming languages to communicate instructions to computers. For example, imagine that computers can only understand German words. In that case, anyone who wants to use a computer would need to learn how to speak German. Computers don't speak just one language, however. They may require developers to use specific programming languages to request certain tasks. An example of this concept would be using one language to work on an application's functionality and another on its design. 

Solidity use cases

The Ethereum Network team created Solidity. Ethereum is a blockchain software platform. It's the second-largest medium for cryptocurrency exchange after Bitcoin. The Ethereum Network team created Solidity to design and develop smart contracts. Smart contracts, like regular contracts, represent agreements between two parties. They contain terms and conditions just like an ordinary paper contract. The difference between smart contracts and traditional contracts is that smart contracts are programs on a blockchain. These programs ensure compliance with the terms of an agreement by only running when the contract requirements have been met. 

What does a Solidity developer do?

A Solidity developer is a blockchain developer who works with smart contracts on Ethereum-based applications. A Solidity developer job description may include:

  • Developing and deploying smart contracts

  • Auditing smart contracts

  • Communicating with users to translate business goals into technical requirements

Essential skills for solidity developers

It’s important for Solidity developers to be well-informed regarding the following areas of expertise:

  1. Technical skills. Foundational knowledge of popular programming languages and tools is essential for Solidity developers. Solidity is influenced by popular programming languages like C++, Python, and JavaScript [3]. Aspiring Solidity developers who don't yet have any programming expertise may benefit from an introductory course like Learn to Program: The Fundamentals.

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2. Cybersecurity. Smart contracts may involve large sums of money and sensitive information. Solidity developers must learn security fundamentals to protect their clients’ data. Learn more about smart contract security with a course specialization like Decentralized Finance: Opportunities and Risks.

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3. Blockchain expertise.Solidity developers must have a thorough understanding of blockchain technology. As mentioned above, Solidity was specially developed for use on the blockchain software platform Ethereum. For an introduction to blockchain technology and its applications, consider earning a certificate in Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases.

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Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases

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How to become a Solidity developer

The first step you take toward becoming a Solidity developer depends on your current background. If you're brand new to the field, it's crucial that you gain software development experience first. Recent computer science graduates or those transitioning from a related role may focus instead on a blockchain specialization. The following sections explore relevant degrees, courses, and certifications. When you are ready to start, consider using them to prepare for your first job as a Solidity developer. 

Degrees

Employers do not always require blockchain developers to have a degree but it can be highly beneficial for building your resume and foundational expertise. Aspiring smart contract engineers may consider pursuing a Master of Computer Science. Solidity developers can also benefit from obtaining a degree in a related field, like information security.  

Certifications and continuing education

Course specializations and Professional Certificates can also help you gain the credentials you need for a role in smart contract engineering. If you haven’t yet gained the essential skills above, start there. Otherwise, the list below matches key Solidity development concepts to courses you can use to master them.

Cryptography

Cryptography is a critical component of blockchain security. It’s one of the tools Solidity developers use to protect vital information. Learn more about cryptographic systems and how to use them with Cryptography I and II offered by Stanford University.

Decentralized finance infrastructure (DeFi)

Learning about DeFi infrastructure will provide you with the context to understand advanced development concepts. With a course like Duke University’s Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Infrastructure, you can broaden your expertise in blockchain technology, smart contracts, decentralized applications (DApps) and the mechanics of Ethereum.

Decentralized applications (DApps)

Many blockchain developers work on decentralized applications (DApps.) DApps are programs or applications that exist on a peer-to-peer, open-source blockchain network. Like traditional applications, they exist for a variety of reasons including networking, gaming, and finance. Unlike traditional applications, DApps are not controlled by a single organization. 

For example, Twitter is owned and operated by the Twitter corporation. Users can create their own profiles but they can’t control elements like content removal or sensitivity flagging. DApps are free from any single entity’s control. Not even the DApp’s creators have centralized power over its content. Master the skills you need to develop decentralized applications with the DApp Specialization offered by University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

Getting started with Coursera

Ready to take the next step towards becoming a Solidity developer? Learn how to design, develop, and deploy smart contracts today with the Smart Contract Specialization.

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Smart Contracts

This second course of the Blockchain specialization will help you design, code, deploy and execute a smart contract – the computational element of the ...

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Average time: 1 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Solidity, Smart Contract, Remix IDE

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Article sources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm.” Accessed April 29, 2022.

2. Statista. “Size of the Blockchain Technology Market Worldwide from 2018 to 2025, https://www.statista.com/statistics/647231/worldwide-blockchain-technology-market-size/.” Accessed April 29, 2022.

3. Solidity. “Solidity v0.8.13, https://docs.soliditylang.org/en/v0.8.13/.” Accessed April 29, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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