How to become a smart contract developer | Technological goal

The smart contract portion of a blockchain shipment

A smart contract developer is a professional who specializes in the creation, deployment and maintenance of smart contracts and associated infrastructure. Smart contracts are self-executing agreements driven by predefined rules and conditions encoded on a blockchain platform. These contracts automatically execute the terms of the agreement when the specified conditions are met without requiring intermediaries or third parties.

In theory, actual smart contracts are fully decentralized, so developers need to understand the new infrastructure for data storage, transaction management, and identity enforcement. In practice, most smart contracts involve a combination of traditional infrastructure and decentralized infrastructure to strike the right balance between performance and ease of use. A smart contract developer has a deep understanding of blockchain platforms and protocols and can write code that interacts with these platforms to deploy and execute smart contracts.

Smart contract developers need to learn the fundamentals of blockchain, master smart contract programming languages ​​like Solidity or Clarity, and understand the security risks associated with smart contracts, said Sanjiv Maewall, CTO of Blockchain and Digital Assets at Deloitte Consulting . Additionally, gaining hands-on experience by practicing smart contract development, engaging in open source projects, and participating in the developer community that fosters continuous learning and collaboration greatly advances your career development path.

Reasons to pursue a career in smart contract development

There are several exciting benefits to pursuing a career in smart contract development:

  • emerging field. Blockchain technology, including smart contracts, is still relatively new and rapidly evolving, presenting an ideal opportunity to learn about decentralized technology.
  • High demand and competitive salaries. Smart contract development and blockchain development are lucrative jobs. The average smart contract developer salary is around $125,000.
  • Decentralized technological advances. Decentralized technology has the potential to revolutionize various industries, such as finance, supply chain, and healthcare.
  • Participation in the next big wave. Smart contracts allow for the automation and execution of deals without relying on intermediaries via a decentralized infrastructure, which many see as the next wave of computing.
  • New opportunities. Smart contract developers can acquire the skills to build their own decentralized applications (dApps) and blockchain-based projects.

Requirements to become a smart contract developer

Smart contract developers require a whole new skill set. It’s important to determine how new concepts and tools relate to what you already know. It can be like learning a new programming language and writing a program at the same time, said Nicko Guyer, maintainer of Hyperledger FireFly and senior full stack engineer at blockchain-based Web 3.0 application platform provider Kaleido.

“You may even be able to use a language you already know to write your own smart contract,” Guyer explained. “But, even if you can’t, developers of all skill levels will still find that existing experience will be invaluable as they learn to write their own smart contracts.”

The main requirements to become a smart contract developer include the following:

  • Fundamental programming knowledge in languages ​​such as JavaScript, Python or C++, which can lay the foundation for understanding programming logic.
  • Understand the fundamentals of blockchain, such as decentralized networks, consensus mechanisms, cryptographic algorithms, and the structure of blockchains.
  • Familiar with smart contract development tools and frameworks such as Truffle, Brownie, and Remix.
  • Experience working with the Solidity programming language and how it facilitates blockchain transactions.
  • Experimenting with blockchain platforms such as Ethereum to understand their workflows and development processes.
  • Smart contract security awareness to understand how smart contracts and dApps can be compromised and ways to mitigate these issues.
  • Decentralized testing and debugging experience to be able to write tests and troubleshoot.
The smart contract portion of a blockchain shipment
The role of a smart contract in a blockchain shipping transaction

Steps to become a smart contract developer

It’s important to start by understanding the principles of object-oriented development. Developers with good object-oriented development experience can potentially master the basics of smart contracts in four to six weeks, said Lata Varghese, managing director of digital assets and cryptocurrencies at IT consultancy Protoviti. She also recommended learning Solidity, the most popular blockchain programming language of the Ethereum Virtual Machine and widely used in various EVM-compatible blockchains. Other options include Vyper and Rust.

Learning to design, develop and test smart contracts is not radically different from learning any other type of programming, Guyer said. It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the execution environment in which your code will be executed. It’s also important to understand how serverless platforms differ from traditional long-lived server daemons, which vary greatly from mobile apps. Each of these different paradigms has constraints that inform the design of the application.

Also, it’s important to learn a programming language to write your own smart contract. Many blockchain platforms allow you to use languages ​​you already know, such as Go, JavaScript or Java. Guyer said even smart contract-specific languages, such as Solidity, aren’t hard to learn since the languages ​​themselves tend to be small.

It is also important to familiarize yourself with the new blockchain platform tools. Different types of blockchains have different toolsets and frameworks. Learning to use them effectively can help develop and test smart contracts. “Writing comprehensive tests for your contract,” Guyer said, “is an absolutely critical part of development, one that can save you from costly mistakes down the road.”

Future of smart contract development

Many of the core principles of smart contract development could also help exploit opportunities in privacy-enhanced computing, trusted AI, decentralized finance, and generative AI. Decentralized infrastructure is expected to play an increasing role in the finance, supply chain, real estate and healthcare industries by finding new ways to streamline processes, reduce costs and increase transparency.

Smart contracts tend to be developed for specific blockchain platforms. As the industry evolves, developers will build applications that work across multiple platforms. Expertise in the infrastructure complexity of smart contracts could also help developers find ways to mitigate transaction costs and speed up confirmation times for dApps.

The growth of generative AI is increasing scrutiny of the privacy aspects of the data used to train and run these new algorithms. Smart contract developers will be in a better position to exploit opportunities in healthcare and finance.

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