Bitcoin Script Engineer? Now there’s a career for the future

Do you want a software development career that’s rewarding in many ways, in an industry that makes you a pioneer simply by joining it? Whether you’re an experienced coder looking for new opportunities, or a beginner trying to decide the best programming language to learn, becoming a Bitcoin Script Engineer could be the answer.

“The biggest problem I have is finding engineers with Bitcoin skills,” said nChain CTO Steve Shadders. “We spend a lot of time and resources internally to help build Bitcoin developer skills and we are not alone in having to solve this problem. The demand is far, far higher than the available pool of Bitcoin-skilled developers can satisfy.”

Learning Bitcoin Script doesn’t just let you explore a new world—it means you can play a part in building that world. How large that part is, is up to you.

There are plenty of resources available for those looking to jump in, and a growing support network of experts and events to help along the way. Read on to find out what’s available.

Bitcoin Script isn’t just about learning to construct transactions. The blockchain can process any kind of data for any size project, so the possibilities are almost limitless. Bitcoin’s protocol was restored, “set in stone” and released to the public only in February 2020. With that restoration came several improvements in its native scripting language, vastly extending its capabilities.

The language itself is based on Forth, a stack-based language common in embedded systems that has been around for many years. It’s possible to learn the basics in a day, but beyond that it gets more complex. But even that one day could put you ahead of most other developers. Rare in the software development industry these days, there is actually a shortage of capable devs.

Where to start

The best place to start looking for online resources on Bitcoin Script would be the Bitcoin Association, or the official Bitcoin Wiki page. It has everything for beginners and the experienced, including lectures and webinars on the topic.

There’s also plenty of information from partners and third-parties on other projects.

In addition to information resources and guides, the Bitcoin Association also supports a series of events like the Bitcoin SV DevCon and Hackathon. The Hackathon takes place multiple times per year, as an in-person event in normal times, and an online one in 2020. Bitcoin BSV social media and online forums also provide a chance to network with others. The Bitcoin Association, development companies like nChain, local representatives, and members of the wider industry are as keen to spread the word on Bitcoin as they are to help, so it’s easy to find what you need.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the 2018 median pay for a software developer was around US$50 per hour or $105,500 a year. Systems software developers earned slightly more than app developers. Projected growth was 21% between 2018 and 2028, much higher than other professions.

The world situation might have changed since those projections were made, but Bitcoin is also a unique industry. It’s one that could even benefit from times where people are looking for new solutions.

In Bitcoin, newcomer status is less of a disadvantage than it is in other development positions. By their own confession, even the most experienced Bitcoin developers are still learning Bitcoin’s full potential. There’s every possibility to discover something new that no-one has thought of before, or become the authority on a topic few understand yet.

Quality not quantity

One dilemma coders often face when choosing a new language is: Do you choose one that’s popular, and appears in the most job listings? Or do you choose something more specialist, even niche perhaps, with fewer but better jobs available? Bitcoin Script could offer the best of both worlds.

The problem with the first option is competition—not only in your local area, but from all over the world. That means competition with salaries, too, and in the wrong direction. Current statistics are one guide, but you need to consider the future as well.

It’s also important to consider how interesting the projects you work on will be. The larger the project, the smaller the part you’ll be playing in it.

Also, Bitcoin Script is only “niche” in the relative, and temporary, sense. Sure there are fewer people working in the field of Bitcoin development, compared to those working with Python, JavaScript, or C++. But Bitcoin isn’t a fading industry, or an obscure one. It’s fast-growing, meaning more investment and opportunities in the space every month. It might become one of the world’s most popular languages in the future, but if you start learning now you’ll be the expert—or the leader—when that time comes.

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.