How to become a smart contract dev? What skills does this job require? Discover the answers in this 9-step guide!
Smart contract development is a relatively new field but offers many benefits in automating transactions and verification processes without a third party.
So, many young people want to work in this field. Keep reading to discover the complete career guides!
First, let’s look at the overview below to find out if you are a good fit for this position through the concept, working environments as well as duties.
A smart contract developer (dev) is an expert who specializes in creating smart contracts. Smart contracts are digital agreements on blockchain technology (e.g. Ethereum) automatically enforcing rules without a third party.
These developers are like digital architects. They use programming languages to write instructions for smart contracts.
They understand how blockchain works and how to create these contracts for various purposes, like finance, supply chains, and more.
My duties and responsibilities as a smart contract dev are building and maintaining these digital agreements. My primary tasks include:
- Creating contracts: I write the code that defines the contract rules.
- Connecting to blockchain: I link contracts to the blockchain so they can run smoothly on the network.
- Checking for issues: I review the contracts carefully to find and fix any mistakes or security issues.
- Code optimization: I try to make the contracts efficient to save users money by using less computer power (gas in Ethereum).
- Writing guides: I create documentation explaining how to use my contracts.
- Testing and fixing: I test the contracts to make sure they work as intended and fix any issues they find.
- Staying updated: I stay up-to-date with blockchain changes and make sure my contracts work well.
With these tasks, I ensure the contracts are secure, cost-effective, and easy to use in blockchain technology.
These developers usually work in tech-savvy settings. They can be part of blockchain companies or startups or as freelancers. Many have the freedom to work remotely from different places.
They often team up with other tech experts like blockchain engineers and project managers. Their main task is coding, so they need to pay close attention to details.
You need a specific skill set to work with blockchain technology and create self-executing contracts. Here are the vital skills:
- Programming languages: Be good at using programming languages for blockchains, like Solidity or Vyper.
- Blockchain basics: Know how blockchain works, like how decentralized ledgers, agreement rules, and secret codes work.
- Smart contract building: Know how to make contracts that follow the rules of real-life agreements.
- Security awareness: Be able to find and fix bugs in the code to make sure contracts are safe from hackers.
- DApp integration: Know APIs and data exchange methods to make smart contracts work with DApps and off-chain systems.
- Problem-solving: Be good at finding solutions to challenges in the ever-changing blockchain field.
Smart contract developers use these skills to build, secure, and make smart contracts work well.
If you are new and don’t know what you need to learn to get a job in this field, the following detailed guide will help you step by step to get this position!
To become a skilled dev, you should start with the basics of computer science. You need to understand how computer networks work and how they’re organized to work with blockchain technology.
Then, explore the blockchain essentials. Learn what blockchain is, its advantages (like security and no central control), and how it functions. Also, find out where and how to use it in the real world.
After knowing the basics, you need to go beyond the surface and dig deeper into the blockchain:
- How blockchain really works
- The main ideas
- How to use it in various blockchain systems
If you feel overwhelmed with this knowledge, you’ll need a training course that sets you on the right path.
You should find a course that covers the basics and goes into practical details. It should teach you everything you need to know about building these contracts.
Also, ensure the course gives you a deep knowledge of Solidity, the primary language for smart contracts. You should feel confident in writing, testing, and using Solidity code.
Besides, your course should show you how to use development tools like Truffle Suite or Remix IDE. It should include practical examples that prepare you to create smart contracts for actual cases.
Regarding experts in the course, they should work in this industry to share real-world knowledge beyond theory and be ready to help when you have difficulty in learning.
The next step is to learn cryptography to make smart contracts more secure and know how blockchain technology keeps things trustworthy, including:
- Key cryptography: You should know how public and private keys work because they keep transactions safe.
- Digital signatures: They ensure that messages and transactions are genuine. Smart contracts rely on them to confirm that transactions are valid.
- Message verification: Cryptography is crucial for checking if messages and transactions are real and not tampered with. You need to learn it to ensure your messages aren’t intercepted or altered.
- Hashing: Explore the world of hashing as it’s a way to link different data pieces in the blockchain.
Be serious while learning this knowledge because it will help you build dependable decentralized apps.
In this journey, learning the Ethereum blockchain is vital because Ethereum is like the birthplace of these contracts. It’s where these self-executing agreements were first created, and it’s still a big player in the blockchain world.
Besides, many other blockchain platforms for these contracts follow Ethereum’s design. So, by learning Ethereum, you’re getting a skill that can be useful on other platforms, too.
Learning Ethereum is like building a foundation for a tall building. With Ethereum as your base, you can excel in blockchain development.
Smart contracts are like computer programs; you need the right language to write them. Solidity is the primary language you should focus on.
As I’ve mentioned, Solidity is the universal smart contracts language on Ethereum and other similar platforms. Without it, you can’t create contracts working on these platforms.
You can begin by reading the official documentation of Solidity. It provides details about syntax, data types, best practices, etc.
While Solidity is vital, I recommend checking out other languages like Vyper because it offers a different approach. So, learning it can make you a more versatile developer.
The next step is to be familiar with the contract’s frameworks to make your working process easier and more efficient. They can help you to:
- Write code
- Check code
- Test smart contracts
- Deploy smart contracts
If you’re starting, Remix IDE is like your training wheels. It’s beginner-friendly and helps you learn the basics of writing and testing smart contracts. As you progress, explore more advanced tools like Truffle Suite and Hardhat.
As you aim to be a proficient dev, don’t just focus on technical skills; security is equally crucial. Smart contracts often handle large sums of money or vital data. Your security skills can prevent theft or damage, protecting people’s assets.
Because cryptography is a secret code that keeps smart contracts safe, you need to learn how to use it effectively. Also, learning to protect against common attacks, for example, reentrancy attacks, is crucial.
Besides, these contracts often rely on external sources for data. So, think about potential problems and how to avoid them.
Like any other job, having a strong network helps you learn from your seniors and increase future job opportunities.
The first step in building a network is to join industry-related meetups, online forums, and conferences.
When you talk to the experts in these places, you will gain new knowledge and keep up to date with the latest trends. They will discuss with you programming languages, blockchains, tools, and frameworks to optimize workflow and create more efficient contracts.
Besides, you can participate in open-source projects to collaborate with experienced developers. This way, you can learn new work tips from them and hone teamwork skills.
Another potential place to build a network is social media platforms. You can make friends and interact with industry experts to stay connected.
Don’t forget to search and connect with the HR at famous companies in the industry to build relationships with them. They will provide you with information about new projects and future recruitment needs.
It’s time to create a portfolio! When looking at your portfolio, they will see your outstanding skills and projects. So they will know if you suit the position.
In your portfolio, you should include project details in a scientific and specific manner. Information about advanced certificates or courses will also impress them.
Then, you can apply for jobs on job websites, for example, Indeed and LinkedIn. You can also post your portfolio on social media to increase your opportunity. Many employers lurk in recruitment groups on Facebook and other platforms!
This career is promising because of high demand, attractive salaries, cutting-edge technology, flexibility, and growth opportunities.
High Demand and Salary
These developers are in great demand because many companies use blockchain technology and need experts to create smart contracts.
The pay is good, too. In 2023, a dev in this field can earn a base pay between $47,000 and $68,000 per year, and with bonuses, the total incomes can reach $52,000 to $79,000 per year. As you gain experience, your earnings can grow more.
Smart contracts are at the forefront of technology. They’re changing how business agreements work by making them automated and secure.
Working in this role means you’re working on cutting-edge technology. So, you shape the future of how agreements and transactions occur globally.
This job often lets you work remotely or as a freelancer. You can work for a company, be your own boss, or collaborate on various projects.
Learning about blockchain and smart contracts is mentally stimulating. It’s a field that’s evolving. So, you’ll keep learning and solving new challenges. As a result, it gives you chances for personal and professional development.
You can learn through various online platforms and courses. Some are Coursera, Udemy, and Ethereum, with official documentation, tutorials, and resources.
Also, developer forums and communities like Stack Overflow are great places to seek guidance and answers to your questions.
The answer is yes. While the most commonly used language for this field is Solidity, some platforms like EOSIO allow you to write smart contracts in C++. Yet, C++ is not as widely adopted in the blockchain ecosystem as Solidity.
While smart contracts don’t inherently generate income, they enable revenue generation through mechanisms like token creation and sale. You can join in token sales or receive fees for their services, thereby earning money.
Above is my share on how to become a smart contract developer, along with the necessary background and skills for this job.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some idea of what to do in this process. With the increasing demand for smart contracts, you will easily find a position with an attractive salary and many benefits!