How long does it take to become a blockchain developer

In Software Development

How beginning developers with zero to one years of experience can even earn six-figure salaries?
Gregory McCubbin
Blockchain enthusiast

After I published an article on salaries in blockchain development, I got a question in my email inbox. Kyle says: "I loved your video really appreciated it. These salaries are so sexy and enticing! I need to know what kind of buy-in there is for a developer to be hired as a brand-new developer to blockchain. Are people hiring these folks? Is there a year or two long journey to practicing blockchain developing unpaid before you can get paid for this? I want to take my salary and double it or triple it by becoming a blockchain dev.

It's a great question, Kyle! Do I think it's possible to double or triple your income by becoming a Bloch and developer? I definitely think it's possible, depending on what your income was before.

Well, let's dig into this and get an in-depth explanation, so that can set some realistic expectations and benefit from this, and try to set a plan together for themselves.

We'll get off the hype train for a minute and be brutally honest, because it's important! If people are trying to change their careers, they don't want to just go down a dead-end, they want to have realistic expectations.

First and foremost, I'll clarify I think all this salary data is legit. I know there's some haters and skeptics out there, but I think it's totally possible for relatively new developers to earn six-figure salaries. But there's one catch: you actually have to get hired, and in order to do that you have to have the skills to pay the bills in order for anyone to hire you. That's one of the main reasons I created DAP University in the first place.

So, how long does it take to get those skills? Well, let me give you a range. I don't want to give you an exact number, because there's so many factors involved - like what's your experience level, how much free time do you have to learn in practice, how much money can you spend on learning resources, etc, etc.

Let me give you some ranges that are based on what I've actually seen happen in the real world. I'll include some examples of people who became regular developers - not necessarily just blockchain - because I don't think blockchain is significantly different from other types of software development in terms of the amount of time it takes to get viable skills.

It might be a little bit harder than some things, but not significantly so. Let's start with the upper end of the range, and I'll actually use myself as an example here.

My story

I'm a self-taught programmer. I didn't get a computer science degree, I didn't go to a coding bootcamp. I taught myself software development the hard way from scratch all on my own, and it took me about six months to land my first paid freelancing job after teaching myself programming from square one.

And that's about as fast as anybody that I've ever met, and I've heard of other people doing it in less time - maybe three months - but I have a feeling that they started in really beginner developer roles. Let me clarify: I'm not saying any of this to brag, I just want to use myself as an example to show you what's possible. And also I'm not a genius or anything like that. I worked really hard during that six-month period to really make sure that I was going to get good enough to earn a job.

I did have a few key mentors along the way who were instrumental and me getting some of those early development jobs. This was not a casual affair.

But I do want to show you what's possible, and I think a similar type of thing is possible for someone who wants to learn blockchain programming from scratch with zero coding experience, and actually get a blockchain developer job.

3 months seem ok

I think a total beginner could do this realistically in six months if they worked really hard, and the right doors open, and maybe even less time, but it's probably a stretch, honestly. That's what I would consider the upper limit.

Conservative estimation

Your mileage may vary, and it probably will: not everybody has a ton of free time to learn on their own, and not everybody just wants to learn as fast as they possibly can. What if you wanted to take longer? Or what if you just wanted a really conservative estimate?

Okay, then I would say: double it! But if you set a year timeline for yourself, don't think you can just take your sweet time! No, I would say - still learn as much as you can, as fast you can, just adjust your timeline for what your expectations are on when you might get hired. Think about it.

Here's what has to happen. You need to learn the skills, and then you need to find the work. If you take a year timeline,it might take you five to six months just acquiring the skills to be able to build your own projects. Then you have to spend the next three, four or five months looking for work and actually landing the deal.

Two years?

Another thing I'll say is that this year timeline seems to be a lot more realistic for people. I remember a quote from somewhere that says: "basically people overestimate what they think they can accomplish in a day, but they underestimate what they think they can accomplish in a year". If your goal is to become a blockchain developer in 2021, it's actually more time than you think it is probably. And yes, I think this timeline seems to fit the bell curve of more closer to the average for people to learn the skills and actually get hired.

What you may not know is that I've helped a lot of people become software developers before I started DAP University, and even outside of it. I've coached a lot of people to help them learn coding and also get developer jobs, and a lot of their lives have completely changed by going down this path. I get a lot of messages. and texts. and emails from people just saying "hey, you know, my life is completely changed since I've done this, thank you so much!"."

A lot of them have fit a lot closer to this one-year timeline, but a lot of these people were still like working really hard. They were super diligent, they didn't slack off.

Deferring the target

Honestly,I wouldn't set a goal for yourself that's much more than a year. There's another quote from somewhere that says "work takes up the amount of time that you give it".

I wouldn't arbitrarily just set a quota for yourself of two years, because you don't think a year is long enough. Don't just give yourself permission to take up more time, because if you do, it's just gonna take longer, and you might not even meet the two year goal. If you want my advice, and you're thinking about taking longer than a year, just don't do it! Shoot for one year, and if it takes longer than that - do you really care as long as you get there eventually?

I can't really think of anything that's great, that's also easy. Will it be hard? Yes, it will be hard. But will be worth it? Absolutely!

What if you could earn a six-figure income, would that be a life-changing amount of money for you? Do you really care how long it would take you to get there, as long as you actually got it and sustain that for a long time?

How long does it take to become a developer

Some people ask this question "how long does it take to become a developer", or a blockchain developer, because they're doing some kind of cost-benefit analysis in their head. They're saying "do I really want to spend all this time just to get this result?". And some of them start thinking about a year or two, and they just say "no, not worth it".

But think about the long term. What if you actually got a six-figure job just paying $100,000 per year, and you kept it for ten years without getting a raise, that would be a million dollars. Now ask yourself, do you really have an alternative that's gonna provide you with that? I think there's a ton of opportunity to do that right now as a developer, especially in blockchain, and it's so early there's a developer shortage that you're way more likely to earn this six-figure income as a beginner in blockchain, probably than you would somewhere else.

At least that's what all the data shows. If you start now and you get really good and you stay in blockchain for the long term, you're gonna have all this upper mobility. It might take a few years for you to get to that $150,000 plus salary range, but again - who cares how long it takes you, as long as you actually got there?

That's how long I think it takes to become a blockchain developer. I hope you found that helpful.