How to Become a Blockchain Developer Without a Degree

Follow this step-by-step guide to become a successful blockchain developer without having a degree.

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The bottom line
  • Worldwide, only 14.54% of open blockchain developer job advertisements list a degree as a requirement, according to our research.
  • All of the essential skills expected from blockchain developers can be fully self-taught online.
  • In this article, I will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to become a blockchain developer without a degree.
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According to a report by the Indeed Hiring Lab, crypto and blockchain job postings are growing fast, rising 118% year-over-year in 2021. And, one-third of these job postings are for software developers, meaning that blockchain software developers are in bigger demand than ever before.

This demand is also reflected in the salaries. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet provide blockchain developer salary data, many credible sources indicate that blockchain developers earn more than the average software developer.

According to Glassdoor, junior blockchain developers earn an average of $102,279 per year, while senior blockchain developers earn an average of $113,101 per year in the United States. even estimates that entry-level blockchain developer positions begin from $121,875 per year while senior-level positions start at $185,250 per year. If accurate, this would indicate that blockchain developers are some of the highest-paid types of developers in the world.

But, what if you don’t have a degree?

In this article, I’ll discuss:

Can you become a blockchain developer without a degree?

Yes, you can become a Blockchain developer without having a degree. All of the skills required of Blockchain developers can be self-taught without formal education, and only a small fraction of open blockchain developer positions require a degree from applicants.

In fact, finding a job as a blockchain developer has very little to do with having a degree. Employers value skills and experience above formal education and most of the time, job postings for blockchain developers never mention a degree.

There are, however, some differences between countries regarding the importance of a degree. In the United States, for example, having a degree will give you a bigger advantage than in other parts of the world.

Have a look at this chart to see the exact differences between countries

Job outlook for blockchain developers without a degree
Job outlook for blockchain developers without a degree. Data: LinkedIn Job Search (2022).
  • Worldwide, there are 1,511 no-degree blockchain developer jobs available out of a total of 1,768. Thus, 85.46% of blockchain developer jobs worldwide do not require a degree.
  • In the United States, there are 451 no-degree blockchain developer jobs available out of a total of 587. Thus, 76.83% of blockchain developer jobs in the United States do not require a degree.
  • In the European Union, there are 310 no-degree blockchain developer jobs available out of a total of 330. Thus, 86.07% of blockchain developer jobs in the European Union do not require a degree.
  • In India, there are 210 no-degree blockchain developer jobs available out of a total of 244. Thus, 39.9% of blockchain developer jobs in India do not require a degree.
  • In the United Kingdom, there are 49 no-degree blockchain developer jobs available out of a total of 57. Thus, 85.96% of blockchain developer jobs in the United Kingdom do not require a degree.

Now, let’s go over the skills that you’ll need to learn.

What skills does a blockchain developer need?

Starting a career in any field without getting a degree is all about acquiring the necessary skills. Without a degree, your skills are what will make you stand out from the competition and when it comes to blockchain development, there are quite a few important skills you need to have.

These are the most essentials skills for blockchain developers:

  • Familiarity with developing smart contracts. Whether you’re developing for Ethereum, Polkadot, or Solana, you’ll likely be writing smart contracts on a regular basis. Learn to implement smart contracts early on in your career, and you’ll thank yourself later.
  • Proficiency in at least one high-level coding language. You can develop blockchain architecture and smart contracts in a number of coding languages, and you’ll need to master at least one in order to be a useful blockchain developer. JavaScript is often a good place to start, but there is a breadth of options available for the Ethereum blockchain alone.
  • Understanding of distributed ledger technology (DLT). Blockchains are just one type of DLT, and as a blockchain developer, it’s important for you to have a fundamental understanding of how they work. This will help you develop better smart contracts and understand both the limitations and possibilities of blockchain technology.
  • Working knowledge of different blockchain platforms. Here, there are many options available to you. The Ethereum blockchain continues to be the most popular, but other blockchains are gaining traction every day. Get to know as many as possible, and be prepared to work on different ones in the future.
  • Understanding of cryptography and security patterns. Cryptography is essential to blockchain development, as it’s used to secure transactions and data on the chain. Security patterns are also important, as they can be used to secure smart contracts and prevent common attack vectors.
  • Familiarity with data structures. Proper use of data structures can make a decentralized application transparent and secure. Good blockchain software developers have to be well-versed in data structures and know how to use them properly.
  • Solid understanding of P2P networking. Blockchain technology is all about P2P networking rather than relying on a central authority. As a blockchain developer, it’s important that you have a strong understanding of P2P networking principles, together with knowledge of how to apply the technology within blockchain protocols design.

The technical skills required for blockchain developers are not as difficult to learn as they appear at first glance. According to a survey of more than 100,000 developers, most young developers prefer to learn coding via online learning. Keep expanding your skillset, and you’ll become a competitive blockchain developer even without a degree in computer science or cybersecurity. That’s what the next generation is already doing.

Now, let’s go over the practical steps you need to take to launch your career as a blockchain developer without a degree.

Steps to becoming a blockchain developer without a degree

1. Learn the basics of blockchain technology.

The first step to becoming a blockchain developer without a degree is to learn the basics of blockchain technology. By that, I don’t mean the technical know-how of hash functions or network architecture. You’ll get to those topics soon enough.

Before learning any of that, first, try to understand:

  • What is a blockchain?
  • What are DLTs?
  • How do smart contracts work?

Having a clear answer to these questions is critical and will make learning the technical aspects much easier. Also, building this knowledge early on will help you to make a more educated decision as to what blockchain developer career path to pursue. After all, there are different paths to consider such as a core blockchain developer or private blockchain developer.

At this stage, I also recommend becoming familiar with blockchain communities such as the Ethereum subreddit and the BitCoinTalk forum. Within communities such as these, you’ll find a wealth of resources and people to follow who can help you get started on your blockchain development journey.

2. Choose a blockchain development platform.

As you likely already know, there’s no single blockchain network out there that governs the whole world. There is a wide range of options out there, and sooner or later, you’ll have to choose one of the blockchain networks as your preferred one. Better sooner than later because you don’t want to spend years mastering a particular blockchain network only to find out that it’s not the one you should’ve been focusing on all along.

According to a 2022 report by Electric Capital, these are the five most popular blockchain networks for developers:

  • Ethereum
  • Polkadot
  • Cosmos
  • Solana
  • Bitcoin

According to them, Ethereum is the leading Blockchain in terms of developer activity with over 4,000 monthly active full-time developers. These findings were matched by CoinDesk, but they also included Cardano and Tezos as additional interesting networks to watch.

Keep in mind that the blockchain network you choose will likely dictate the programming language you’ll learn, the tools you’ll need to succeed, and the types of decentralized applications you’ll be able to build. Treat the process of choosing a blockchain network with the time and care that it deserves. But, at the same time, be able and willing to switch between platforms during your career. The world of blockchain is a quickly evolving one, and while Bitcoin and Ethereum remain dominant today, they might not in the future.

3. Take an online blockchain developer course.

For someone without experience, the vast amount of technical skills a blockchain developer needs to have may seem daunting. But, luckily there are many resources available that can help you learn everything you need to get started.

An online blockchain course in particular often provides a good overview of all the necessary topics. Whether you want to take a deep dive into Ethereum or learn specific programming languages, taking an online course can be a great way to get started on the right track as a blockchain developer without a degree.

With the online course industry booming as it is, the choice of topics you can learn with online courses is also vast. They can help you learn anything from smart contracts, consensus protocols, and transaction fees, all the way to the nitty-gritty of how a blockchain network works on a technical level.

Here are some examples of blockchain developer courses that can help you fast-track your career without a degree:

4. Practice building real-world blockchain applications.

Before you can land your first full-time job as a blockchain developer, you’ll need to get some demonstrable experience under your belt.

Make sure to create a public portfolio of Blockchain projects where you showcase the technical skills you have acquired, together with any programming languages you have mastered and the applications you have designed and built. Keep in mind that these do not have to be complex projects. What’s important is that you showcase your knowledge of key blockchain concepts such as hash functions, smart protocols, consensus mechanisms, and cryptography.

As you keep learning Blockchain programming, your skillset will continue to evolve, and don’t forget to update your project portfolio with new and more sophisticated projects as you go along. After all, your portfolio will be your strongest asset when applying for jobs later on. If you’re stuck and can’t think of any ideas for your portfolio, consider going through this list of ideas for the Ethereum blockchain from Alex Roan, an Engineer at Chainlink Labs.

5. Connect with other blockchain developers.

For succeeding in any career, there’s nothing better than having a network of people you can rely on. This is also true in the world of blockchain development, even though it is still a relatively new and uncharted field. Start connecting with other blockchain developers as early on in your career as possible.

There are many ways to find and connect with other blockchain developers:

  • Attend blockchain events.
  • Join online forums and communities.
  • Follow and interact with influencers and thought leaders on social media.
  • Improve your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles and use them for networking.
  • Build a project with a group of fellow blockchain developers.

The more people you know and can learn from, the better your chances of becoming a blockchain developer – especially if you don’t have a degree to rely on.

6. Apply to entry-level blockchain developer positions.

Companies hiring blockchain developers often look for candidates with a few years of experience in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get your foot in the door without any experience.

Entry-level blockchain software developer positions are becoming more common as the industry grows and if you’re just starting out, focus on building up your skills and portfolio.

As for where and how to look for blockchain developer jobs, consider:

  • Job search portals such as LinkedIn or Indeed. Here, make sure to use Boolean searching capabilities whenever possible to exclude degree-requiring positions. As an example, here’s a Boolean search for no-degree blockchain developer jobs on LinkedIn. Simply change the location and you’ll find all the no-degree jobs available in your location.
  • Remote developer networks such as Toptal and Turing. These types of freelance networks can offer some excellent opportunities for developers, but keep in mind that they often demand a few years of experience. There are, of course, also platforms such as Fiverr that don’t have any strict requirements. But, the quality and consistency of finding work through these unvetted networks can be very hit or miss.

As a general rule of thumb, only apply to blockchain developer positions that are a good fit for your experience level. Write personalized applications that highlight your unique skills and experience for the job, and don’t be afraid to reach out to companies directly and express your interest in working for them.

7. Gain work experience and leverage that instead of a degree.

Once you reach this step, you have already passed the most difficult hurdle – getting your first job as a blockchain developer without a degree. It only gets easier and more rewarding from here on out.

From this point forward, try to gain as much work experience as you can within the field of blockchain development. Work hard and deliver great results, and most importantly: try to stay employed as a blockchain developer without long interruptions.

The more uninterrupted “years of experience” you gain, the more valuable you will look for companies hiring blockchain developers. It’s as simple as that. Whether you have a degree or not slowly becomes irrelevant as your real-world work experience starts to pile up.

The blockchain industry is still very young and dynamic, which means that no one has a massive head start in terms of experience. Now’s an excellent time to join the industry and start building your career. Within a few years, you’ll already start qualifying for senior-level positions, and those positions pay well.

I hope this guide on how to become a blockchain developer without a degree was helpful for you, and I wish you the best of luck in your career. Check out our other developer career guides to explore more degreeless careers as a developer.

Sander Tamm

Sander Tamm

Founder @ Degreeless. I write about online education, self-teaching, and the job market. Last year, my articles were read by over 1 million people and my writing has been featured by Neil Patel, AOL, HackerNoon, The Baltimore Sun, Independent Australia among others.