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Bitcoin, blockchain jobs remain unfilled as interest drops off

While the number of jobs related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin has skyrocketed in the past four years, the number of searches for those jobs has  drastically dropped recently, according to job search site Indeed.

Over the past year, the share of cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related job postings per million has slowed on Indeed, increasing 26%. At the same time, the share of searches per million for jobs in the field has decreased by 53%.

A year ago, Indeed's data similarly showed interest in blockchain development skills, including the creation of cryptocurrencies, had waned as bitcoin's value - and the hype around it - fell off.

"We've previously covered how bitcoin's volatility seems to correlate with job seeker interest, and the change in bitcoin price this year might be why job searches have declined," said Allison Cavin, a writer for Seen, Indeed's tech hiring platform.

The mismatch between the number of jobs being created and the number of qualified candidates to fill them has always been lopsided. According to Indeed.com, in the four-year period between September 2015 and September 2019, the share of cryptocurrency jobs per million grew by 1,457%. In that same time period, the share of searches per million increased by only 469%.

Bitcoin's value has been on a roller coaster ride in the past two years. In 2018, the cryptocurrency's price plummeted from nearly $19,500 in Februrary to around $3,600 by the end of last year. Over the past year, however, bitcoin's value jumped to more than $12,000 before settling back to about $9,200 today. The volatility seems to be turning potential job seekers off.

"For the first time, the number of jobs per million exceeded the number of searches per million," Cavin wrote. It could be reasonable to assume that if bitcoin drops dramatically again, a candidate looking for a blockchain role would run into less competition than they would after a large increase."

An April report from a management consulting firm, Janco Associates, showed blockchain positions remained unfilled as a dearth of qualified IT workers persisted -  and those who do have the skills remain in high demand. The shortage of qualified candidates with blockchain and cryptocurrency experience also lead to companies poaching talent from each other.

"With 20,600 new IT jobs created in the first three months of 2019, the market is tight," Janco Associates CEO Victor Janulaitis said at the time. "There is a skills shortage, some projects are missing key early benchmark dates due to lack of staffing.

Last year, the job of developing blockchain distributed ledgers for businesses was ranked first among the top 20 fastest-growing job skills by freelance employment website Upwork. LinkedIn also ranked blockchain developer as the No. 1 emerging job.

The most promising jobs include more than just developers and engineers, according to research by BusinessStudent.com - a site that reviews business schools and their courses.

According to a mid-year salary survey from Janco Associates, blockchain development and management positions remain in high demand.

"From coding smart contracts to designing user interfaces for cryptocurrency apps to building decentralized applications (dApps) that communicate with the blockchain, there's no shortage of work to be done in the bitcoin field-and the tech jobs in our top five prove it," Cavin wrote.

For a better chance at landing a blockchain-related job, candidates should become familiar with basic cryptography, P2P networks and a language like C++, Java, Python or JavaScript (along with certain crypto soft skills).

"To stand out, learn new blockchain development languages like Hyperledger, Bitcoin Script, Ethereum's Solidity, the Ripple protocol or even languages currently in development like Rholang to stay ahead of the curve," Cavin wrote.

This story, "Bitcoin, blockchain jobs remain unfilled as interest drops off" was originally published by Computerworld.