Update March 19, 2018
A new way to get started: Kick-start your blockchain network with the free beta release of the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan.

Developers who are well versed in Blockchain are a rare breed, and it’s a well-known fact that there is an industry shortage of developers with this skillset. That means if you’re a developer with Blockchain experience, you can expect to see an abundance of opportunities coming your way.

For those of you without any formal Blockchain knowledge, there has never been a better time to get started, and you don’t have to wait to become proficient. Here are five “how to” tips to follow to become well versed in one of the most lucrative, and in-demand areas of technology today:

Chris Ferris, IBM CTO Open Technology and an IBM Distinguished Engineer, talks with Scott Laningham of developerWorks TV about the release of the IBM Blockchain Platform, including full enterprise level support for Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer. The IBM Blockchain Platform is the only integrated business-ready platform addressing the full life-cycle of a multi-organization blockchain network. Chris talks about what it means for developers and how to get started using the platform.

1. Getting started with Blockchain.
The best way to get started with Blockchain is to make sure you are well versed in how it works and how it applies to business.

It works by recording the history of transactions, or asset transfers, in a hash-linked chain. The blockchain fosters trust, transparency, and accountability throughout the network.

Businesses in every industry are looking at new ways to incorporate Blockchain into their business transactions for efficiency, security, and accuracy.

Take, for example, the food industry. Issues impacting food safety such as contamination, food-borne illness, and waste are largely due to a lack of access to information and traceability. It can take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination, causing further illness, lost revenue and wasted product.

Blockchain is well suited to these types of challenges because it creates a trusted means of sharing information. In the case of food supply chain, all participants – growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers – can gain access to the trusted information they need regarding the chain of custody from origin to retailer.

As a developer looking for a deeper understanding of how Blockchain applies to business, you can start by exploring some tutorials such as: Introduction to distributed ledgers, Blockchain use cases, and Blockchain quick-start guide for developers.

2. Taking advantage of Blockchain open source.

One of the reasons why it’s so easy to start working with Blockchain today, even with minimal experience, is because of open source.

Using open source from start to finish, you can easily get started with using Blockchain.

Developers who need to get up to speed fast on Blockchain development, can access a variety of IBM code patterns. These patterns include open source code, documentation, APIs and more to help developers build better, faster, and smarter. Here are a few projects to get you started:

IBM also maintains a number of open source sample apps and blockchain-related capabilities such as our IBM Container Service sandbox.

The IBM Blockchain developer center is another very useful resource for learning about Blockchain technology. There are free tools, tons of tutorials, blogs, and samples there, and new content is added almost daily.

Collaboration is key when it comes to open source. You can meet and collaborate with other Blockchain developers in the Hyperledger community and begin to solve complex, real world problems that will propel your success as a Blockchain developer.

3. Using Hyperledger Composer.

To succeed as a Blockchain developer, you will want to familiarize yourself with Hyperledger Composer.

Hyperledger Composer is an application development framework that simplifies and expedites the creation of Hyperledger Fabric applications.

Hyperledger Fabric applications interact with a shared, immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions, fostering a new generation of transactional applications.

Hyperledger Composer is a set of APIs, a modeling language, and a programming model you can use to quickly define and deploy business networks and applications that allow participants to send transactions that exchange assets.

The Composer programming model is based on defining and deploying a business network definition, which contains a data model that defines the name and structure of assets, participants, and transactions in the business network. The business network also specifies transaction processor functions (written in ES5 JavaScript) that are automatically run on a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain when transactions are submitted by clients.

Composer defines JavaScript APIs to submit transactions and to create, retrieve, update, and delete assets within asset registries. Composer helps you realize a business solution and deploy to a Fabric blockchain in no time. You should definitely make sure you add it to your skill set.

4. How to get support to build the next disruptive Blockchain application.

If you’re interested in building the next disruptive Blockchain application, you can expect to see a lot of support from both enterprise and startup communities.

IBM offers a fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform on the IBM Cloud, as well as consulting services, that will allow more organizations to quickly activate their businesses. The IBM Blockchain Platform is available via the IBM Cloud, and has released a Starter Plan (currently free in beta) to help you kick-start your blockchain network.

Another great way to tap into help from industry experts is to determine whether or not they have an ecosystem startup program that supports Blockchain application development.

You can also apply for accelerators, consider working in technology co-working spaces, and participate in pitch competitions.

If Blockchain is your choice for disruption, there will be no shortage of support in the technology community for you.

Develop your idea, put together a good business plan, and get started on building your solution.

5. How to maintain relevancy.

To maintain relevancy in the digital age as a Blockchain developer, you will want to make sure you are constantly upskilling yourself.

New technologies are born quickly and evolve just as fast. Be sure you are quick to the game in making sure you are familiar with what changes may come for Blockchain.

On top of education, you need to also participate in the digital conversation. What social media profiles do you have? Are you adding value to conversations online? Are you participating in panel discussions about the future of Blockchain?

Technical eminence and education are how you will maintain relevance with this new technology. If you’re not joining conversations online now, you will want to get started as soon as you can.

Here are some good ways for you to interact with Blockchain on on social media:

Join the conversation

Stay up to date on all things blockchain on both Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Blockchain.

You can also stay in the loop on @Hyperledger, and engage with me @Chris Ferris on Twitter, and some of our other IBM professionals including: @Jerry Cuomo and @mrsimonstone.

I wish you the best of luck in your Blockchain journey and can’t wait to hear about your success in the future.

10 comments on"Five ways developers can get started with Blockchain today"

  1. Thanks for the detailed explanation, Now I understood about blockchain concept. I appreciate your time and efforts to write and explain.

  2. I am totally new to this field and the explanation given have been simple and easy to understand. I will b doing hands on and will seek your guidance.. If stuck. Thabks

  3. Arkadip Basu November 12, 2017

    A very clear and informative article. Since I have a Microsoft background with C# skills, will it be helpful in writing codes with IBM blockchains and HyperLedger. They are mostly C++ or Java based. Is language any barrier?

  4. Anchal Maheshwari December 25, 2017

    Really a helpful blog for for beginners .May I know what language development knowledge will be useful ?

  5. Thanks, nice post.

  6. Thanks for writing the blog for us. It is very helpful to develop the blockchain development.

  7. I’ve read an article on this topic: https://applikeysolutions.com/blog/use-of-blockchain-for-mobile-app-developers and started to find as more information as I can, because it’s really interesting.
    The industry is still developing and there’s no way of telling how it will end. Many keep their hopes high. Developers think that even if the cryptocurrency age doesn’t last, there’s bigger potential for Blockchain than just finance. We’ll probably see the further development soon, including mobile apps using Blockchain. This would mark an era of stronger security, smarter solutions and, hopefully, more trust.

  8. Thanks for the clear explanation of the IBM Blockchain Platform. I am excited to work with it. 🙂

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