There is no shortage of skepticism and outright confusion about the enterprise implications of blockchain. At the same time, demand and hiring of people with blockchain development or implementation skills is going gangbusters, growing at a rate faster than other job categories.
That's the word from analysts at LinkedIn, who recently published their list of the fastest-growing jobs over the last five years. Along with blockchain skills, artificial intelligence (AI) expertise also leads the current list.
Blockchain (or all forms of distributed ledger technology) and AI can bring unprecedented efficiencies to just about any business process imaginable. However, enterprises employing shiny new technologies can't just be super-efficient -- they need to be forward-thinking. They need to figure out and execute innovative ways to put the customer first in everything they do.
Thus, growing demand for blockchain and AI skills isn't strictly technical, Guy Berger, chief economist with LinkedIn, points out. There is just as much demand for human skills that can put blockchain and AI to work in productive ways. "Basic business functions are surging," he observes. "AI may be on the rise, but it can't replace the power of humans. Basic operational functions like administrative assistant, assurance staff and sales development representative also landed spots on the emerging jobs list."
Such requirements include soft skills such as oral communication, leadership and time management - make up nearly half of LinkedIn's current list of skills with the largest skills gaps.
Here are LinkedIn's fastest-growing jobs and the skills that go with them:
- Blockchain developer (33x growth since 2014): Solidity, blockchain, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, Node.js
- Machine learning engineer (12x growth): Deep learning, machine learning, Tensorflow, Apache Spark, natural language processing
- Application sales executives (8x): Software as a Service, cloud applications, human capital management, enterprise resource planning, solution selling
- Machine learning specialist (6x): Machine learning, deep learning, Tensorflow, Python, AI
- Professional medical representative (6x): Pharmaceutical sales, sales effectiveness, product launches, medical devices, gastroenterology
- Relationship Consultant (5.5X growth): Banking, retail banking, loans, consumer Lending, Credit
- Data Science Specialist (5X growth): Machine learning, data science, Python, R, Apache Spark
- Assurance Staff (5X growth): Top skills: auditing, accounting, financial reporting, internal controls
- Sales Development Representative (4X growth) Salesforce, cold calling, Software-as-a-Service, lead generation, sales prospecting
- Business Support Consultant (4X growth): Risk management, credit, banking, business analysis, business process
- Solar Power Consultant (4X growth): Solar energy, renewable Energy, Sales, Business Development, Marketing
- Administrative Assistant (4X growth): Receptionist duties, administrative assistant, data entry, office administration, Microsoft Office
- Background Investigator (4X growth): Investigation, background checks, private investigations, law enforcement, criminal justice
- Machine Learning Researcher (4X growth): Deep learning, machine learning, Tensorflow, Python, algorithms
- Data Science Manager (4X growth): Data science, machine learning, Apache Spark, Python, R
Some examples of job openings in blockchain and AI, culled from online job postings:
Senior Engineer-Blockchain (financial services company): "Design and build the enterprise blockchain platform with a mission to tokenize the assets and transform the value exchange. Design and build integration components and interfaces."
Python Engineer for Blockchain Platform (gaming startup). "Company's platform is built on a decentralized blockchain platform. The best candidate will have strong communication abilities, and the aptitude to learn new skills: Python, Flask or Django, REST, microservices, SQL/PostgreSQL, unit testing, Docker or Kubernetes, AWS, Scala."
Blockchain developer: "Responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting a distributed blockchain-based network. Analyze requirements, designing blockchain technology around a certain business model, and the building and launching of a blockchain network. Functions include research, design, develop, and test blockchain technologies, brainstorm and help evaluate applications for new tools and technologies, maintain and extend the current client- and server-side applications responsible for integration and business logic, be involved in the global blockchain community."
Machine learning engineer (financial services): "Work with team of researchers, engineers, and data scientists, collaborating on delivery of new machine learning algorithms and their applications. Responsibilities include creating sophisticated data solutions to business problems. Heavy focus on ML and AI aspects of data engineering. Collaborate with a cross-functional agile team spanning user research, design, data science, product management, and engineering to build new product features."
Senior Data Scientist/Machine Learning Engineer (advertising/marketing firm): "Develop, implement and extend data-intensive machine learning software for real-time auctioning, ad inventory estimation, and audience segmentations. Design and implement core components of algorithms, as well as model and monetize the large amounts of data. Responsibilities include development and implementation of data-intensive machine learning software for real-time auctioning, ad inventory estimation, audience segmentations, and other AdTech applications."