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Blockchain and Crypto Opportunities in the IT Sector

Posted: 24 Feb 2021

Blockchain and Crypto Opportunities in the IT Sector

As bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies make headlines, exciting opportunities are emerging in the IT sector. Our Technical Lead Peter Kirby gives us his insight on the impact Blockchain is having on IT recruitment.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are rarely out of the news at the moment. Late last year, Paypal announced the launch of a new service enabling its customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal account. Mastercard is expected to start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on their network and Tesla made headlines with their recent announcement that they have bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin and may start accepting bitcoin for car sales “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis”. (For an interesting take on the Tesla story and other developments that have driven up the price of Bitcoin in recent weeks, have a listen to Independent.ie journalist Adrian Weckler’s podcast interview (29 January 2021) with BNY Mellon’s Lory Kehoe on The Big Tech Show).

Digital currencies

Of course, it’s not just bitcoin and blockchain making currency headlines. Digital currencies, too, have been in the news. Towards the middle of this year (2021) the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to decide whether to launch a digital euro project in order to be prepared for the possible issuance of a digital euro at some point in the future while the Bank of Japan is also understood to be planning early phase experiments on issuing a digital currency.

Blockchain and crypto opportunities for IT workers

With stories like these breaking almost every day, it is not surprising that exciting opportunities for IT workers in various crypto and fintech roles are starting to emerge, says Eolas Recruitments Peter Kirby.

“Financial institutions and other organisations are starting to beef up their digital assets teams to prepare for changes that they see coming in the not too distant future. So, as a specialist in the IT sector, Eolas Recruitment is beginning to see more demand for IT workers with strong analytical skills and experience working with fintechs and start-ups in the blockchain/DLT space. Candidates that have two or three years’ experience have a definite advantage when it comes to securing these roles,” says Peter.

In terms of qualifications, advanced degrees in maths, science, engineering and related disciplines, along with relevant work experience, are among the criteria that employers are looking for.

Government policy

At the policy level, Government has been working to make Ireland a global blockchain and crypto hub for several years. Blockchain Ireland, a combined effort of Government and Irish based companies, was set up to support this effort and create blockchain and crypto-based jobs. They run regular webinars and have recently put out a call for speakers for their 2021 programme. It is worth keeping an eye on the Blockchain Ireland, website for details of these events.

What kinds of blockchain roles emerging?

In terms of the types of roles that are emerging, Peter says there is a lot of interesting stuff happening around the potential for private blockchain networks in B2B transactions as well as in topical areas like using blockchain to help detect fakes.

“The more these types of innovation take place, the more opportunities there will be for IT workers like solutions architects, project managers, data scientists, quality engineers, and so on,” Peter suggests.

Currently, though, it’s in areas like Project Management and Programme Management that Eolas Recruitment is seeing strong demand.

“This seems to be due to more projects getting sign off in the last few weeks,” says Peter.

What if you don’t have the necessary qualifications or experience for crypto-based roles?

“If you don’t have relevant experience, there are plenty of courses around so now is the time to consider skilling up,” says Peter.

“From basic online introductions to courses leading to formal qualifications, there are loads of options to choose from. However, don’t discount your previous work experience. It may be that you have relevant skills if you previously worked in areas like software development, distributed computing, payment protocols, security protocols or encryption,” says Peter.

Examples of the courses that Peter referred to include the DBS Diploma in Blockchain and Dublin City University’s part-time online MSc in Blockchain aimed at IT professionals in employment in Republic of Ireland registered companies.

There are also various Skillnet courses and then there are courses like Futurelearn’s Introduction to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). LinkedIn Learning and Coursera also offer relevant courses.

Virtual recruiting

In the current market, virtual recruiting and onboarding are still prevalent due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When applying for roles, particularly senior roles, keep in mind that soft skills are becoming more important, Eolas Recruitment advises.

“Often, it’s not just your qualifications, experience and technical skills that employers are looking for. Soft skills are really important when managing your team, making presentations, communicating with senior stakeholders and so on,” says Peter.

Finding and applying for roles

When it comes to finding and applying for crypto-based and blockchain roles, or indeed other roles in the IT sector, building a relationship with Eolas Recruitment is a great way to keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry and find out where the best opportunities are.

As always, for further information and/or advice, check out our informational videos and online reviews or reach out to a member of our team for a chat!

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