Blockchain is catching the imagination of all these days – technocrats to economists to the layman. The wave goes much beyond cryptocurrencies, though they stand as the finest examples of blockchain technology applied. This decentralized and secure technology comes with the promise of a safe transaction and a failsafe ledger and professionals are not complaining about it.
The blockchain developer
At its base, a blockchain developer is like a software developer, with a singular focus on blockchain. While most will be focused on cryptography, there will be many who skip the crypto economics of this technology. As we are jumping head first into the question “How to become a blockchain professional?” let us set understanding the cryptology and crypto economics of blockchain as the first milestone.
Cryptoeconomics deals with the economics of the technology and has its base in the blockchain decentralized blocks, where each of them is a transaction that is immutable, i.e. any new transaction does not override or alter the old one. The transaction thus made should be valid, downloadable and easily accessible to anyone who wishes to see it.
Coming to the cryptography of Blockchain, it is important to understand the salient components before diving to get blockchain developer certification from an accredited institution:
- Blockchain is decentralized and is basically a peer-to-peer networking indicating the very fact that it is neither controlled by a singular entity nor the data is stored at a single place.
- More than it being a peer-to-peer network with no third party interference, it is a public network, leaving the blocks accessible to anyone who wants to see the information.
- Consensus mechanism addresses the necessary safety of a public network that is this humungous. More than half nodes have to be in agreement before a new information is added to the blocks to avoid fraud.
- The information in each of the blocks is immutable and cannot be altered, removed or overwritten. The information is encrypted making it impossible to hack.
Blockchain is built on software and in this case they are called dApps an acronym for decentralized applications. Ethereum and NEO are two of the most used dApps for blockchain. NEO uses many programming languages like Java and C#. However, Ethereum encourages its users to create new blockchain so, the preference tilts towards this particular dApp.
As a second milestone learners looking to become certified blockchain professional is to get a thorough knowledge of Etheureum. It uses Solidity as its programming language and is used to write Smart Contracts for Ethereum.
To understand Smart Contracts let’s take up an example. Peter is selling succulents and Jane wants succulents for her home office. She sends the sum of 60 ETH required for the succulent. However, Peter does not receive the sum unless the succulents reach Jane. Once the succulents reach their intended place, Peter receives 60 ETH. In Ethereum this transaction will look like:
If Jane sends 60 ETH to Peter, then Peter sends a succulent to Jane
There are two Smart Contracts in this case and both of them needs to happen for the transaction to be completed.
The scope of Smart Contracts in Solidity is much beyond the monetary transactions. You have to look at the process as a transaction and formulate a Smart Contract around it.
Solidity is a high-level coding language indicating it can be read by humans and is designed to do so. A computer translates a high-level language to low-level one i.e. the binaries, 1 and 0. To write in low-level language requires an expertise of the next level, but Solidity does not necessarily need that expertise, being a high-level coding language.
Take a hold on the language and the best way to do it for an aspiring blockchain developer is to spend some time on Solidity creating Smart Contracts. The risk involved is that you may go wrong and disrupt other blocks and their functioning. The solution is in Ethereum Virtual Machine that allows you to go for a test drive on an empty road, with no chances of an untoward accident.
While you are coding and building your skills remembering the following pointers will guide you to go as error free as possible.
- Blockchain codes are for the public to see. The flip side, anyone can hack a public code. Take your time to address the bugs and vulnerabilities. Make sure your steps are slow and steady at least when you are starting new.
- Keep up the pace and know what is going on within the network. Understand the current network demands and do not fall way behind on addressing the requirements.
- Every Blockchain needs to perform at the highest efficiency levels and a versatile language helps the cause here. There will be certain tasks that can are “parallelizable” i.e. two or more tasks running in parallel. You will understand that this may not suit some other tasks where running parallel tasks can lead to dual transaction or spends. Understand the areas and know the basics on your fingertips.
- Aim for deterministic behavior of every smart contract. Take the example of “1+2=3” under every circumstance adding “1” and “2” will yield “3” and nothing else. This is deterministic behavior and ideally your codes need to behave the same every time on every occasion. Isolating non-deterministic behavior from your codes is important.
Knowing the tools of a Smart Contract is an important step you take towards blockchain developer certification. Before you embark on any course, jet-set-go on these basic terms.
- Variables: They are used to store information on blockchain. As you can gauge from its nature of information storage there are many types of Variables, let’s look into some of the most common ones:
- Boolean: They store information that is either “True” or “False”.
- Integers: Used to store numerals as information. Regular integers use the keyword int and can have positive or negative value. Unsigned integer going by keyword uint can only have positive values.
- Strings: Used to store text information
- Addresses: They will store Ethereum Addresses that are unique for each user.
- Functions: They are used to do a certain job and they can use information from variables to create new information. Let’s take the example of “1+2=3” here “1+2” is variable and the function is +3.
- Structs: They put variables aka information into groups.
This will give you a basic idea of blockchain and answer most of the queries before you aim to become a certified blockchain professional and move forward in a career that is exciting and challenging.
Author Bio: Sohel Ather is a Senior Software Engineer and a content writer by passion, He enjoys exploring the latest software development technologies and taking on new challenges.
More on this topic: Best Online Courses and Learning Practices for Blockchain Developer Training