Blockchain development

A software engineer’s guide to becoming a blockchain developer

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As a software engineer, what do I need to learn to become a blockchain developer? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by IBM Blockchain, providing blockchain solutions, services and expertise, on Quora:

Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow and Vice President Blockchain Technologies

As a software engineer, what do I need to learn to become a blockchain developer?

office collaborationIn the world of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger, and specifically Hyperledger Fabric, the answer is simple: you’ve already learned the basics of what you need to know to be a blockchain developer! We’ve taken a stance that Hyperledger should support a variety of programming languages, ones that developers are very familiar with such as Java, Javascript, and Go Lang, so writing chaincode and smart contracts really could be done with things you’ve already learned.

We’ve applied that same philosophy to the VS Code extension, which is the most popular integrated development environment developers use. I think it’s fundamental and it helps everybody to bring the blockchain to the developer and not have the developer go and overly bend or change to get to blockchain.

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I think that fidelity in “this is what I’ve learned” versus, for example, other blockchains that use lesser known languages and environments. I would say these tend to be more error-prone for a developer who is not familiar with such a language because bugs are more likely to occur in environments that you’re less familiar with. So we want to ensure a robustness of what developers develop, to leverage what they already know, and bring blockchain to them in a form of tools and languages that they’ve already studied.

So as I said our goal is to bring blockchain to the developer. With that said, if you’re a new developer here’s some tips:

  • Learn basic database technology — it plays quite well in terms of understanding blockchain and especially data structures.
  • Understand how to create digital assets, how to store those assets, how to retrieve those assets. That is a skill set that will serve you well for blockchain and beyond.
  • Learn about distributed computing, how a network is formed and how you communicate and send data from point A to Point B. These skills are basic skills but they will serve you very well
  • Remember that every blockchain application is an application! Meaning, I would say 20% of the actual code you write is blockchain specific code, but guess what, 80% is all the code you had to write before already! Pick your favorite mobile platform and get started!

Start developing with the open source Hyperledger Fabric and IBM Blockchain

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