‘It's Hard to Find Experienced Blockchain Developers’ – Daria Barkova, co-Founder of UnicornSearch.pro IT Recruiting Center

‘It's Hard to Find Experienced Blockchain Developers’ – Daria Barkova, co-Founder of UnicornSearch.pro IT Recruiting Center

How popular are blockchain developers today? What soft skills should such specialists have and what salary can they expect? Coming closer to Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Moscow 2021, Daria Barkova, an expert at Opora Rossii federal public organization and co-founder of UnicornSearch.pro center answered these and other questions.

Daria is an experienced HR expert who has been recruiting in the cryptocurrency industry for over four years. She is the co-founder of UnicornSearch.pro IT recruiting center, where all employees work remotely. She also created Remote HR Profession online school.

In an exclusive interview, the expert told the event team about how difficult it is to find experienced blockchain developers in Russia today, and analyzed the main features of IT recruiting in the field of decentralized services. Daria also explained by what criteria candidates are selected for the implementation of blockchain projects.

More details about what skills blockchain developers should have and what an employer should do to retain qualified specialists are available further in the interview.

The interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Moscow (BBCM)

The respondent: Daria Barkova (D.B.)

BBCM: How high is the demand for specialists in the field of blockchain development now? Are there enough of them in Russia?

D.B.: Several years ago, blockchain development was in the top of most demanded IT specialties. The excitement around cryptocurrencies led to the emergence of a large number of investors who were ready to invest, as it seemed then, in a "gold mine".

Today, the demand for cryptocurrencies is not so high, at least among ordinary people, and transaction technology has come to the forefront. Blockchain development remains relevant.

In 2020, blockchain skills were at their best, which may indicate how quickly this technology penetrates into business ... Such skills have become the most popular in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany and Australia.

We now have two open positions in the center with a salary of $4500 +.

As for the Russian market, there are definitely not enough blockchain developers here. In the face of a shortage of personnel, companies are hiring software development specialists who have not yet worked with blockchain, but at the same time have skills that will help them master a new direction in the future.

BBCM: Is there a trend towards the outflow of highly qualified blockchain specialists abroad?

D.B.: In 2020, the outflow of specialists abroad stopped altogether, since IT specialists were able to work from home, not change their usual way of life, working for a foreign company and receiving a salary in a more stable currency. The COVID-19 pandemic almost wiped out the revocation, and only now the first requests have appeared again.

If we say whether the candidates are more willing to agree to work for foreign companies, it is difficult to say unequivocally, since there are promising and interesting tasks in the Russian Federation. One thing for sure is that many had a dream of going abroad in the past. Again, we can judge from our experience, I admit that colleagues may have a different opinion.

BBCM: What are the features of IT recruiting in the blockchain, fintech and decentralized financial services sector?

D.B.: In my opinion, there is no fundamental difference. Rather, we look more at the responsibility of the candidate, we thoroughly check soft-skills, we check for honesty, stress resistance, since they will have to work with numbers and with heavy loads. We thoroughly study past experience.

The labor market in the IT sphere is candidate-based. This means that there are more jobs in this industry than applicants ... The market is arranged in such a way that the company needs a specialist more than a specialist needs the company. Consequently, a recruiter engaged in the selection of personnel in the IT industry must actively seek candidates through all channels, build competent communication with applicants and stay in touch with them.

BBCM: By what criteria do you select candidates for blockchain and fintech projects?

D.B.: It’s passing technology stack, experience in previous companies and soft-skills.

BBCM: How important are soft skills for blockchain developers?

D.B.: There are Hard Skills – systematic knowledge in a certain area. This is the most important thing, you can't go anywhere without them.

Soft Skills is an advantage, value and uniqueness on the market. They can be acquired with experience and in the learning process by attending courses, reading books or participating in trainings.

For example, a programmer's hard skills are the ability to write code in Java, and a soft skill is an ability to correctly prioritize work tasks, which, in turn, helps to complete them quickly and efficiently.

IT specialists start their careers with hard skills and a small amount of soft skills that are inherent to their character or were acquired in the process of upbringing. They then gradually acquire the skills needed for a particular profession, project, and life situation.

In the IT field, flexible skills are useful not only for the manager, but also for any other specialist. Thanks to them, a person will be able to convey thoughts to colleagues, competently explain their actions and logic. An employee with good soft skills is entrusted with interesting complex projects, communication with customers and many additional tasks that will diversify your working day and make your work more fun.

BBCM: Highlight the most important soft skills that blockchain developers should have.

D.B.: Good specialists should have such soft skills as the ability to communicate and organize their time correctly. They need to be creative and emotionally intelligent. In addition, the ability to speak in public and the ability to present yourself correctly would be helpful.

BBCM: How much income can blockchain developers expect?

D.B.: We believe that it is impossible to estimate the cost of a developer separately from a specific project, as it will look like a biased estimate. Each candidate is assessed on a custom basis, from the point of view of how their skills and background suit the needs of a particular company. Therefore, there is one rule to keep in mind: the more your experience and background matches a critical business need, the more expensive you will be for that particular business.

It's no secret that the demand for blockchain developers is growing rapidly, and all thanks to the popularization of the technology. However, blockchain is a broad area where a wide range of skills are needed.

Russian employers are ready to pay blockchain specialists from 200,000 to 400,000 rubles per month.

The demand for specialists engaged in blockchain development is growing: employers are willing to pay them $150,000- $175,000. A software developer at the same time earns an average of $135,000. Blockchain experts earn the same as specialists in the field of artificial intelligence, and significantly more than all other highly specialized IT engineers.

BBCM: Is it currently easy to enter the blockchain development market?

D.B.: As we can see, blockchain developer is a very prestigious profession that makes you forget about poverty. Due to the fact that the market for specialists in the field of blockchain development is not fully formed, it is still easy to get started in this industry. But every year it will be more difficult to enter this sector, since the market will constantly be saturated with new specialists ...

Blockchain is now a technology that helps solve many business problems. It is used by world-famous companies, including IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon and others. Blockchain is now used in various industries, such as healthcare, agriculture, shipping, etc.

IT specialists from Russia are directly involved in the development of almost all leading blockchain projects, both commercial and private.

BBCM: What recommendations would you give to business owners to retain talented blockchain specialists in their companies?

D.B.: Your salary and benefits must be competitive. Hire the right people from the start, conduct the right employee onboarding. Work on the corporate culture, improve it. Listen to your employees – they are not cogs in the system.

Don't expect employees to work like robots. If the balance between work and personal life is not observed and a person will spend most of the time performing professional duties, then in this case, work may become theit enemy.

Motivate employees. To retain good specialists, there are agreements that allow them, upon reaching certain performance indicators, to buy a stake in the company.

Another way of motivating is paying for education. At the same time, it is important to conclude an agreement that if, within the agreed period, specialists leaves without good reason, they will have to reimburse the employer's expenses for training in proportion to the time they didn’t work after the end of training.

In addition, I recommend taking measures to protect customers’ personal data. To do this, you can conclude an agreement stipulating conditions for data protection and sanctions that may be applicable to employees if they use the customer base after leaving for another place of work.


On April 6, Daria will speak at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Moscow 2021 where she will talk about the issues of finding personnel for blockchain development, analyze the main mistakes during the interview and give recommendations on the formation of qualified teams.

Read more about the program and speakers of the event here >>>

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