The gradual technological evolution has in many ways shaped the kinds of lives people live and by extension, the professions they choose. Large shifts in technology have resulted in large shifts in social structures and how individuals both contribute to society and make a living. The Industrial Revolution, for example, brought large-scale changes in our socio-economic structures and the kinds of work people did.
Today these technologies are far more advanced and as a result, impact significantly more percentage of the human population. Many technologies like robotics, automation, and machine learning have often been cited as the main driving forces of technological change in the coming years. But behind such heavyweights, there also seems to be a certain technology that is slowly changing the way we look at recording and legitimizing transactions and holds great promise for the future; blockchain. Given an unassuming and descriptive name, the blockchain technology is a way of breaking down data and distributing those blocks across a network of connected devices.
Blockchain as the BBC explains is a method of recording data – a digital ledger of transactions, agreements, contracts – anything that needs to be independently recorded and verified as having happened. The big difference is that this ledger isn’t stored in one place; it’s distributed across several, hundreds or even thousands of computers around the world. And everyone in the network can have access to an up-to-date version of the ledger, so it’s very transparent.
For the first time in human history, two or more parties, be they businesses or individuals who may not even know each other, can forge agreements, make transactions and build value without relying on intermediaries (such as banks, rating agencies and government bodies) to verify their identities, establish trust, or perform the critical business activities — contracting, clearing, balance settling, and record-keeping tasks that are foundational to all forms of commerce.
The blockchain technology has often been touted as a ‘game changer’ within many sectors. Due to its ability to combine the security of cryptography, storage, and transmission of data in coded form, with peer-to-peer networks to create a shared database of transactions that is trusted, yet controlled by no one person, blockchain is slowly finding its footing in various sectors.
One of the first successful utilization of blockchain’s ability to provide encrypted, peer-to-peer model of decentralized transaction recording was within the financial sector. Bitcoins, the now famous type of crypto-currency, was developed based on the blockchain technology back in 2008. But soon the technology’s potential to better the backend data storing services of financial institution, most of which are bulky and outdated, was realized.
This has garnered a strong interest from the best of financial institutions. Blockchain may enable companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Credit Suisse, all of which are currently investing in the technology, to do more with less, streamline their businesses and reduce risk in the process.
Now, the impact of using blockchain is slowly but surely, being felt across the board. The implication of using codes to establish a secure, trustworthy and decentralized way of interacting and encrypting data has many applications. It enables businesses directly reach and interact with the customers. This makes it applicable to a host of services beyond just the financial sector.
By performing the functions of record keepers and managers it would enhance decentralization, reduce the number of intermediaries involved and provide an alternative to how value can be stored. Physical as well as digital assets could be uniquely verified online to prove ownership. Sectors like advertising, healthcare, retail and insurance, all have projected benefits when it comes to usage of blockchain technology.
This potential to significantly alter how many sectors operate is what has been pushing the slow, but steady increase in demand for talented blockchain developers. As technologies evolve, so does the demand for professionals skilled at creating pioneering software. Bitcoins and the various other forms of cryptocurrencies have been just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring the possibilities of the blockchain.
Focusing on India, Niti Ayog, the government think tank that replaced the planning commission, has been a great proponent of the blockchain. It announced recently that it aims to introduce the technology in legal areas like education, health, and even agriculture. Although the RBI is still against the usage of crypto-currencies, the identification of blockchain as a way to improve the functioning of various sectors has been a positive step. It is also coming out with a policy paper on identifying new areas within the economy that can be improved by using blockchain technology. Even with private parties, both start-ups and corporations have, amidst regulatory uncertainties, increased their demand of talented blockchain developers.
A recent report from the jobs site Indeed stated an increase in the blockchain developer queries. According to the job site, there has been a material increase in not only the number of searches related to cryptocurrency but also in the number of blockchain related job postings on the portal.
"In the six months to November 2017, the number of cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs posted on the Indeed website rose by 290 percent. In the same period, job searches with keywords related to cryptocurrency/blockchain also rose by 52 percent."- Indeed, quoted in Economic Times
To successfully leverage the opportunities provided by this technology, skilled talent is an imperative, a reality to which that India is slowly waking up. The talent gap still remains quite significant and more impetuous to cultivating and creating a skilled talent pool will be vital.
Humans have forever been devising tools and technologies that have enabled them to achieve their goals faster and in a more efficient way. This constant pursuit developing and refining the existing technology to better serve human needs has been the thread that links many present-day endeavors to the work of men and women of past year; many of whose contributions have led us to be where we are.
This increase in demand is only going to grow as the market slowly adjusts to the possibilities of the blockchain. But whether India is a driver or a back seat passenger in the story ahead will largely depend on its ability to locate, develop and employ good quality talent within the field.