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Move Developer Salary and Career Outlook (2022)

September 15, 2022 - 8 min read

Move, a Quickly Growing Blockchain Development Language, Presents Opportunities for Developers

Despite the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency market, blockchain developers are in incredibly high demand. With relatively few developers currently trained in blockchain development, and a wide variety of both startup and established companies looking to expand their presence in the blockchain, crypto, DeFi, and NFT sectors, the career outlook for blockchain developers is bright. From 2021 to 2022, there was an estimated 400% increase in crypto-related job postings, with many of these open postings looking for developers. 

In addition to companies directly looking for crypto, DeFi, and NFT-focused blockchain developers, many traditional companies are also looking to implement enterprise blockchain infrastructure. Enterprise blockchains can improve the efficiency and security of a company’s operations, better organize data, and improve a company’s cybersecurity posture to defend against rapidly evolving threats. This has only increased the growing demand for blockchain developers across a wide spectrum of industries. 

This demand for blockchain developers is clearly evidenced by the large number of job postings for blockchain developers on hiring websites. For instance, as of September 2022, job posting website Dice.com reported over 36,000 open blockchain developer postings, with LinkedIn reporting over 5,000 and Indeed listing over 3,600

While many blockchain developer jobs are looking for developers that understand the popular blockchain programming language Solidity, as well as traditional languages like JavaScript, C#, C++, and Rust, an increasing number of projects are utilizing Move, a newer blockchain programming language first developed by Facebook’s (now Meta’s) Diem cryptocurrency project. While that project was shelved, several promising blockchain projects are now using Move as a core programming language, including the Aptos, Sui, and Starcoin blockchains. 

What is the Move Programming Language? 

As previously mentioned, the Move language was first developed by the Diem project team at Meta. However, Move is an open-source language, so it can be freely adopted, used, and adjusted by anyone. Move is a stack-based programming language based on the popular programming language Rust. Move reportedly has several major benefits over popular blockchain languages like Solidity, as it emphasizes scarcity and reduces data storage centralization, leading to the creation of highly-secure smart contracts. 

Move does not store global storage on-chain, further increasing security and preventing many of the bandwidth and data storage limitations of blockchains primarily developed in other programming languages. Move can also enable high throughput and a large number of transactions per second (TPS). 

In addition, Move only allows private keys or other assets to be stored on local devices, rendering many traditional crypto wallet hacking methods nearly impossible. 

What Salaries and Career Options Can Move Developers Expect? 

Blockchain developer salary info, courtesy of Talent.com. 

According to Dapp University, the average salary for a blockchain developer is between $150,000 and $175,000 per year. Talent.com reports similar numbers, reporting that the average salary for a blockchain developer is $143,000 per year. According to Cryptocurrency Jobs, the average blockchain developer base salary is $136,000 per year, with most base salaries ranging between $70,000 and $200,000 per year. Looking at these numbers, we can safely estimate that the average blockchain developer salary is over $100,000 per year, with significant room for higher salaries for more experienced developers or developers who take on leadership roles, such as project managers and other similar positions. 

While it’s difficult to find job and salary listings specifically for Move developers, we can take an educated guess that they may be similar to other blockchain developer salaries. However, it should be noted that it could be more difficult to find a job as a Move developer, considering that only three well-known projects are currently using the language for core development. 

For example, the Aptos blockchain project currently lists ten job openings for engineers and four openings for project managers. It’s unclear if each opening represents only one hire or multiple hires, which could increase the amount of available jobs. Mysten Labs, the company behind the Sui blockchain, currently lists eleven engineering job openings, though it’s also unclear if each opening represents only one hire or multiple hires. Starcoin does not directly list any job openings on their website, however, the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) that governs the Starcoin project ecosystem is offering grants for independent developers, though these grants currently appear to be quite small. 

This lack of demand could reduce Move developer salaries lower than the industry average. At the same time, the lack of developers experienced in Move could increase Move developer salaries beyond the industry average. The amount of funding a project has will also likely influence Move developer salaries, as better-funded projects (like Aptos) may be able to spend more money on hiring than other projects. In addition, if more projects begin to use Move in the near future, this could increase demand, and unless more developers quickly learn Move, this would likely increase the average salary a Move developer can command. 

What Projects Are Currently Using Move? 

As previously discussed, only three well-known projects are currently using Move, including the Aptos, Sui, and Starcoin blockchain projects. 

Aptos: Aptos is a high-throughput, proof-of-stake Layer-1 blockchain that can reportedly process 130,000 transactions per second (TPS). Aptos has garnered significant venture capital funding, having raised $350 million from mega-VCs including a16z, Multicoin Capital, and FTX Ventures. The project is currently in development, so has not yet published a whitepaper or issued a token. 

Aptos says that it uses Move for its high scalability and security, as well as the fact that Move helps the Aptos blockchain store data within the account that owns it, not the account which publishes it, improving overall security. Aptos’s implementation of Move also allows for smart-contract-free NFTs and highly effective timestamping. Aptos was developed by a team that formerly worked on the Diem project, including Aptos CEO Mo Shaikh and Aptos CTO Avery Ching. 

Sui: Sui is another proof-of-stake Layer-1 blockchain project that reports a high level of scalability and security. In contrast to Aptos, Sui has raised significantly less funding, having raised a total of $36 million from several prominent VCs, including a few of the same firms that funded Aptos, including a167 and FTX Ventures. Other well-known VC firms, like Coinbase Ventures and Samsung Next, have also contributed to funding the project. 

Sui intends to increase throughput via unlimited horizontal scaling, reportedly allowing it to handle a high level of transactions per second while limiting transaction costs. Sui also utilizes parallel processing via simultaneous transaction validation via organizing data into independent objects, in contrast to the sequential transaction blocks utilized by most traditional blockchains. Sui uses its own, custom implementation of the Move language (instead of the Move core), which it refers to as Sui Move. Sui Move ensures that the MoveVM does not have global storage, meaning that data storage only occurs within Sui, reducing data and storage constraints of the blockchain. 

Sui will reportedly release a native token ($SUI) in the coming months or years, however, no specific launch date has been announced. Sui was also developed by a team of former Diem developers who previously worked at Meta, including Evan Cheng, Kostas Chalkias. Adeniyi Abiodun, Sam Blackshear, and George Danezis. 

Starcoin: Starcoin is yet another Layer-1 blockchain, which, according to the project, emphasizes the utilization of a highly secure proof-of-stake consensus method, extremely secure smart contracts, and a high level of scalability. Starcoin is the only Move-based project with a released cryptocurrency, Starcoin ($STC), which, as of September 2022, had a market cap exceeding $20 million. 

Starcoin says that it uses Move due to its innovative resource-oriented programming model, which disallows the copying or dropping of objects, increasing scarcity and preventing issues like double spending and memory copying, which presents significant security risks. 

In Conclusion: Move Represents an Exciting Opportunity for Blockchain Developers 

While the Move language’s use is still in its infancy in the blockchain industry, it may represent a strong opportunity for blockchain developers. Very few blockchain developers currently understand Move, which could give Move-trained developers a strong leg up in the hiring process. The main downside to learning Move is the fact that only a few projects currently use the language, so unless a developer can land a position with these projects, they may not be able to monetize their Move developing skills. 

However, it’s likely that an increasing number of blockchain projects are beginning to use Move, which could significantly increase the number of jobs available for Move developers. Smart blockchain programmers would do well to reach out to their network and speak with a variety of blockchain companies and projects to determine if they are using, or plan to use Move in the near future, so they can better judge the future job demand, and hence utility, of learning Move as a core career skill. 

References:

  1. Nahar, P. (May 2022) Despite rising learning platforms, crypto industry facing shortage of right talent. The Economic Times. 
  2. Blockchain Developer jobs. Dice. 
  3. Blockchain Developer Jobs. LinkedIn. 
  4. Blockchain Developer Jobs, Employers. Indeed. 
  5. The Move Programming Language. The Move Book. 
  6. McCubbin, G. (Aug. 2022) Blockchain Developer Salary: What Do They Really Earn? Dapp University. 
  7. Blockchain Developer average salary in USA 2022. Talent.com
  8. Blockchain salaries. Cryptocurrency Jobs. 
  9. Careers. Aptos. 
  10. Mysten Labs: Open Positions. Mysten Labs. 
  11. Starcoin Grants. Starcoin. 
  12. Thapa, R. (Aug. 2022) Aptos Blockchain Guide: the Next Big Innovation in Blockchain Scaling (Layer 1)?. Boxmining. 
  13. Wang, A. (Aug. 2022) Sui Blockchain Guide: Revolutionary Scalability Solution?. Boxmining. 
  14. Starcoin Discovery: What is Starcoin. Starcoin. 
  15. (Sept. 2022) Starcoin price today, STC to USD. CoinMarketCap. 

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