If you want to get one of the burgeoning jobs as a developer at a crypto trading firm or exchange, there are two languages you need to know.
One is Solidity. The other is Rust. Developers in either are in short supply.
Rob Lycett, a London-based recruiter who places software engineers in crypto firms, said the shortage of Solidity developers in particular is "frustrating." An object oriented language used to program contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, Solidity has taken off as use of Ethereum grows. Lycett says demand has been huge in the second half of 2021, but that Solidity developers are "very hard to find," and that clients are "desperate."
Unlike Solidity, Rust is not crypto specific. It's relatively under-used in major banks but is hyper-popular in crypto trading firms. "Rust was just in the right place at the time," says Richard Hickling, the former trading floor technologist who now runs crypto analytics provider ProfitView. "It's a high-performance compiled language designed to avoid some of the pitfalls of C (and thus C++), while being new and cool just as crypto was taking off."
Rust is used by Compound and by Bolt Labs among others. It's also being specified as a desirable language by Jump Trading as it builds out its crypto team. "You need to be disciplined to program in Rust," says the CTO of one crypto payments firm. "It won't work properly if you don't do a good job, but it's modern and fast and compiles into a smaller executable."
Like Solidity, Rust can be used to write smart contracts (and is used on the Solana blockchain), but reflecting Ethereum's popularity, Solidity is the better used of the two: "Solidity is the Ethereum language so anyone in DeFi needs to get in top of it. It's the language for writing most smart contracts," says Hickling.
How hard is it to learn Solidity? Not at all, says the CTO: "If you know how to code already, it's not that difficult."
Lycett says the demand for Solidity coders is such that even-self taught people are being recruited in London on salaries of £65k ($86k), while experienced developers can command up to £150k. The CTO says most seasoned Solidity developers are juggling multiple job offers. "It's necessary to offer more money or more interesting projects," he says. "- These are the key things."
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