Skip to main content

If you want to start a career in blockchain and you’re wondering which skills are required, Big Four auditing firm KPMG has identified them. In 2019, KPMG expects to see an increase in the number of companies exploring this technology, from identifying new business models to piloting projects and progressing to scalable solutions.

“Blockchain projects will not succeed or scale without a multifaceted team that goes beyond technologists,” KPMG states, thus identifying the four major skills needed for a career in the industry. Earlier in 2019, KPMG released a survey showing that 48% of C-level executives believe that blockchain is likely to change the way they do business in the next three years. When asked about the possibility of implementing blockchain in their companies, 41% of respondents said they are likely to use the technology. As for advantages and disadvantages of the decentralized technology, 23% of respondents believe that blockchain helps improve business efficiency.

Finding the right talent in the business landscape

Besides the four top skills required for a career in blockchain — more on this, below — just as important is an understanding of the business landscape and how to apply the still-emerging technology to a specific problem. Nowadays, many voices from the industry believe that blockchain will soon face a new challenge: a severe lack of talent. Somewhat surprisingly, a significant amount of the talent resides on college campuses. Younger generations have witnessed the maturity and evolution of Bitcoin and blockchain and are therefore the most interested in and comfortable with the technology. Here are the top four blockchain skillsets KPMG identified:

1. Business acumen. The number of user roles, personas, and entities blockchain touches is more than in any previous emerging technology and ranges from IT to finance, procurement, and the mailroom. Each user from each entity has a unique view and access, which requires a deep understanding of specific processes across the business. “The key thing we do at KPMG is balance an understanding of how this technology works without being a blockchain hammer looking for a nail,” said Tegan Keele, KPMG’s U.S. blockchain program lead. “You have to know how to apply it and that really only comes if you have an understanding of business processes.”

2. Tech literacy. Members of a blockchain team should understand the difference between a variety of technologies, including the cloud, protocols, ERPs and networks, and know when to use different mechanisms and platforms. “This will help ensure they can understand how blockchain interacts within an existing technology ecosystem, and how that ecosystem will impact the design of the blockchain solution,” KPMG said. “And for those who are planning to work on the development side of blockchain, some knowledge of coding — JavaScript, HTML, Solidity — is helpful….”

3. Data analysis. KPMG also looks for a job candidate’s technical literacy, or the ability to understand data generated on a blockchain platform and how to use it in a business context. While most team members do not need to be technologists to work on blockchain projects, the team must include data analysts who can tap into one of blockchain’s greatest benefits: data. Being able to understand and make use of the data taken from a blockchain and present it in a meaningful way to each of the varying user roles is paramount to success. “When you have multiple people within each participating entity looking at the blockchain, they’re all going to want to see slightly different things,” Keele said. “So understanding how to derive those insights out of the information on a blockchain is key.”

4. Hacker mentality. Those entering the blockchain development / engineering field should have the mentality of a hacker — the ability to solve a problem collaboratively in a workshop setting when a client presents a business problem. They need to be able to think through the business objectives, implications and value “for each of the participants and then define the architecture and overall solution flow”, KPMG said. “It is this collaborative approach that leads to a successful application of blockchain. Given the lack of coursework around blockchain and its relatively new existence in the enterprise, a team must be open to exploring and experimenting by hacking the problem from a business and IT perspective”, concludes KPMG.

What it takes to become a blockchain developer? Find out here!