The first mention of Web3 in popular culture was in 2006 in an article published in The New York Times by John Markoff. Although most people would agree we're not fully immersed in Web3 yet, we're much closer to it than 16 years ago. In this growing decentralized web, Ethereum is considered the leading blockchain platform. However, there's a new player in the space, Solana. The platform has been growing so fast it's been dubbed the "Ethereum Killer."
The hype over Web3 and its applications, from wallets as containers of identity to NFTs, is spreading far and wide. As big tech companies continue to perpetuate a data surveillance state, more people are clamoring for an alternative that puts data back in the hands of those who create it. This hype has created an intense demand for blockchain dApps without the drawbacks of Ethereum.
Solana is becoming increasingly popular as crypto users seek an alternative to the fee-heavy and sluggish Ethereum. Developed in 2017 and released in 2019, Solana is a virtual infant in the blockchain arena. Its developers, Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal, wanted to create a blockchain capable of scaling globally via faster transaction speeds. Solana's speed and cheap transaction rates quickly made it one of the most widely used blockchains.
If you're interested in tapping into the field, you'll first need to hire Solana developers to help you do so. We composed a guide to aid you in finding and hiring the best tech talent possible for the role.
Benefits of Solana for Blockchain Development
Solana, like Ethereum, is an open-source blockchain, but it has some significant advantages over other platforms. In a little over two years of existence, Solana stands as the fourth largest crypto by market share. It's particularly widespread in NFT development and NFT marketplaces. Some of the reasons of Solana's high popularity include:
Fast Transaction Speeds
The slow transaction speed of Ethereum was the motivating force behind the development of Solana. At the time of Solana's creation, blockchain transactions were limited to about 15 per second, painfully slow compared to the major credit card companies' ability to process 65,000 transactions per second.
Solana now has a peak capacity of 65,000 transactions per second, at least in theory. Its present capacity has maxed out at around 50,000 transactions per second, which isn't too shoddy.
Proof of History (PoH)
The primary reason why Solana is so fast is because of its Proof of History (PoH) mechanism to record time. Standard blockchain infrastructure relies on the sequential production of blocks that have to wait for confirmation across the network before they can move forward. On the other hand, PoH works via a data structure that chains messages together.
The PoH process provides time and order proof of individual messages relative to each other. Networks can ignore local clocks and accommodate delays because the data structure gets reassembled in order once delivered. The network can provide an experience as effective as a centralized system without giving up security or decentralization.
PoH isn't needed for a permissionless blockchain. PoS, which Solana also uses, accomplishes that quite nicely. Unlike PoS, PoH allows validators to compute the state of the network based on the ledger itself. Messages don't have to arrive at a validator in any specific order. All validators will eventually get them, and the PoH proves the messages got created when they claim they were.
Solana is also free of the mempool issue that plagues Ethereum. Transactions are accepted nearly instantly, while Ethereum transactions may have to wait in a mempool for four minutes before being processed.
Every blockchain transaction includes a fee. This fee, called "gas," is paid to the computers that process the transactions. Solana's average gas fee of $0.00025 is much cheaper than Ethereum's, which varies tremendously, from a few cents to as much as $100 on simple transactions. The fees for processing more complicated transactions have no upper limit on Ethereum. Though Avalanche fees aren't as high as Ethereum's, they're on the rise and have gone as high as $10.
Environmentally Friendly Option
Solana's Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism is much more efficient than the traditional — if anything in crypto can be called traditional — mining method of Proof of Work (PoW). Ethereum alone consumes more energy than Israel and Belgium combined, while Bitcoin consumes more than Finland, making them horrible choices for the environment.
Blockchain technologies, which are by nature decentralized, need a consensus mechanism. They have to have some method for agreeing that the entries in a ledger are correct. This consensus is the reason you can trust what's on the ledger. It also makes it harder to manipulate or attack the chain. The PoW consensus method relies on computers "mining" or performing extensive computing tasks to find blocks to add to the chain. This process is extremely energy-intensive.
PoS doesn't require the same energy use since it needs no validators to compete to solve complex puzzles. The PoS consensus mechanism allows users to create their validator nodes by staking their coins. When you stake your coins, you use them for validating transactions. Although you can't use them while being staked, you can unstake them when you want.
When a transaction needs to be processed, the protocol will choose a validator node to review the block. The validator checks to see if the transactions are accurate. If yes, the validator adds the block to the blockchain. Accurate validators receive crypto rewards, while validators who try to add inaccurate information to the blockchain lose some of their holdings, so there's a tremendous incentive to record accurate information.
PoS results in a process that's 99.9% more efficient than PoW. The PoS algorithm also uses less bandwidth, requires minimal processing time, and creates a more resilient network that's less prone to breakdowns.
Easy to Program
Solana runs on Rust, the most beloved programming language among developers. Rust is easier to use for most developers than some of the other software created specifically for their blockchains.
As it can be used to build a range of applications, Rust makes Solana a more accessible platform than many others for launching apps. This versatility has created an explosion in the Solana ecosystem. Considering the current expansion rate, Solana will overtake Ethereum quickly in both variety and volume.
Solana is the most scalable blockchain ecosystem on the market right now. That comes as no surprise, given that Solana's developers created it with that very purpose. Solana is projected to reach 1 million TPS and 150ms block times shortly.
Technical Skills to Look For in Solana Developers
Solana hosts a variety of projects, including NFTs, DeFi, and Web3, so it's useful for almost any blockchain purpose. Before you hire Solana developers, therefore, you'll want to make sure they have the following skills:
Building Programs (Smart Contracts) in Rust
Rust is a general-purpose, secure language built for enhanced performance and safety. It allows developers to create applications and libraries on top of it. As developers can use Rust for building smart contracts in Solana, your future hire must know this programming language.
Building Programs in C and C++
Solana also supports writing on-chain programs with C and C++, so an experienced Solana developer will need to know both. C and C++ are both compiled programming languages and share many similarities, so finding a developer who knows both shouldn't be too challenging. Still, keep in mind that most Solana smart contracts use Rust, although C and C++ can be used for writing smart contracts.
Experience in Solana Frameworks Like Anchor
Anchor is a framework used with Solana for creating smart contracts. It has several developer tools to make creating smart contracts simpler and more efficient, including:
- Rust crates and eDSL
- IDL specification
- TypeScript package to generate clients from IDL
- CLI and workspace management
Experience Using Solana Developer Tools Like Sealevel
Before you hire Solana developers, make sure they are well-versed in Sealevel. We're talking about Solana's parallel smart contracts runtime. Unlike single-threaded runtimes, Sealevel can run thousands of parallel contracts, which is one of the innovations that make Solana so popular.
Experience in Front-End Frameworks Like React
Front-end frameworks like React aid in creating dApps in Solana. To handle full-stack development, a Solana developer will need experience in front-end frameworks as well as blockchain languages.
Solana Developer Salaries
These days, the average salaries for all blockchain developers tend to surpass ones from other tech roles. Blockchain developers are highly sought after since demand continues to surge and the available talent continues to fall short.
Average Yearly Salaries for Related Roles
Solana is a new technology, and the data on developer salaries is limited. You can get a better idea of the salary range for Solana developers by looking at the salaries for professionals in similar roles.
The average salary for a Solana developer is $148,000 per year. A minimum wage is somewhere at $92,000 and a maximum around $198,000 per year.
Smart Contract Developer
On average, a smart contract developer earns $120,000 per year, with a minimum reported salary being around $70,000 and a maximum being $400,000 per year.
Blockchain developers typically earn $145,000 per year. The lowest reported wage is $121,875, and the highest is $185,250.
The average salary for a Rust developer is $120,000 per year, with a minimum reported salary of $70,000 and a maximum of $275,000 per year.
Differences in Tech Experience Needed vs. Other Blockchains
Solana developers need a unique set of skills compared to developers in other blockchain platforms. Though some skills are transferable within blockchain development, each blockchain requires a specific tech stack that varies according to how it functions.
Solana vs. Ethereum (ETH)
Solana and Ethereum use different languages for writing smart contracts and dApps. They also use diverse methods for validating transactions. Ethereum developers have to be skilled in Solidity, a programming language specifically designed for use on the blockchain to create smart contracts. Solana developers can use their knowledge of Rust, C, or C++ to create smart contracts in Ethereum.
Solana vs. Avalanche (AVAX)
Like Ethereum, Avalanche also uses Solidity for smart contracts, so it also requires specialized knowledge compared to Solana. Both Avalanche and Solana use PoS as a foundation for validation, although Avalanche uses a novel consensus mechanism while Solana includes PoH.
Solana vs. Cardano (ADA)
Cardano uses the Plutus smart contract platform built on Haskell, so Cardano developers will need to know Haskell. Marlowe is another language used on Cardano specifically for financial contracts. Cardano and Solana use PoS protocol, but Cardano doesn't use PoH.
Solana vs. Algorand (ALGO)
Like Solana, Algorand is built on more general-purpose languages such as Python, Teal, PyTeal, Reach, and Go. Algorand also uses a form of PoS protocol. However, Algorand's version, called Pure Proof of Stake (PPoS), attempts to improve decentralization by randomly choosing validators regardless of the amount of their stake.
Solana vs. Polkadot (DOT)
Polkadot has the most crossover with Solana since it also uses Rust. Solana and Polkadot also both use PoS protocol. However, they have different purposes. Polkadot was created to help different blockchains communicate and exchange information. Solana was created for rapid transactions and minimal transaction fees.
Where to Find Solana Engineers
Now that you know the skills your candidates need to master the new technology, the question is, how do you find and hire Solana engineers? Here are some crypto-specific resources you can use to start your candidate search:
Solana Job Boards
Like in any other industry, job boards make an excellent place for finding crypto developers. You get a chance to log into these platforms, post a job opening, and wait for the candidates to pour in. It's even better if you use crypto-focused boards such as:
Hosted by The Solana Foundation, this job board is a trusted resource for Solana developers searching for jobs. It's also a community forum for crypto enthusiasts.
The board in question has a section specifically designed for Solana developers. If you're looking to hire SOL developers, this may be the perfect place for a field-focused search.
The Web3/crypto community is very active on Twitter. You can follow the Solana Cryptocurrency topic to get an idea of what's going on in the space and interact with developers. For hiring candidates, you can post a job listing on Twitter or search through the profiles of developers and reach out to them directly.
Crypto Talent Marketplaces
Unlike the other options listed above, talent marketplaces offer you customizable support through your hiring process. You don't have to waste time composing a job post or scanning through social media profiles and lengthy portfolios. Talent marketplaces handle the vetting and recruiting process, so you get qualified candidates quickly and effortlessly.
Revelo is a talent solution that connects US companies with skilled and experienced Latin American tech talent. We help you hire SOL developers and many other professionals quickly and cost-efficiently.
Revelo handles talent sourcing, performs rigorous vetting, and takes care of hiring and onboarding. Once you've hired your Solana developers, we deal with the paperwork, including payroll, benefits, and local compliance. Reach out today to start building your remote engineering team.
How to Hire a Solana Developer
Once you establish what you need from your candidate as a company, how do you hire a Solana developer? First and foremost, you need a good job post to attract the best candidates. Secondly, you'll need a well-established interview process and maybe some coding challenges to test your candidates' skills.
Solana Engineer Job Post Example
A well-written job post will lay out your expectations and ensure that only applicants with the necessary skills send their resumes. For a comprehensive job post, include the following information:
- Company Information: Start by giving an overview of your company, including what you do and your core values. Talk about what it's like to work at your company and why you need a Solana developer.
- Job Description. Be as detailed as possible in your job description. Explain what will be the duties of your employees. Also include information about your start date, working hours, location (on-site or remote), and similar.
- Salary. Many companies don't include salary information in their job posting. However, candidates often decide whether to apply for a job based on the salary, so including at least an approximate pay may be a good choice.
- Requirements. Include a bullet list of the things you require from your candidates, such as specific educational levels and skills. You'll want to include technical skills such as Rust, C, C++, and other relevant programming skills. However, soft skills such as good verbal and written communication are also essential. If you want specific certifications, list them here.
- Next Steps. You may also want to guide candidates on how to submit resumes and cover letters and tell them when you're most likely to respond.
Solana Development Interview Questions
Once you gather a list of the top applicants, it's time to assess their skills and decide on the best person for the job. Here are some interview questions to help you:
- How does Solana's validation process differ from other blockchains? Validators form the backbone of Solana's network. They are the reason behind the super quick transactions. A solid understanding of this process is essential for any developer who wants to work on Solana.
- Do you work on any Solana projects currently? This question will help you gauge how much experience your applicants possess.
- What applications of Solana do you use in your personal life? If possible, you should hire Solana engineers who use the apps in their personal life because they will probably be the most knowledgeable and experienced.
- What is dApp, and how does it differ from a regular app? This question is pretty basic, but if your candidates can explain the backend process of both, you'll get a good idea of their general development knowledge.
- What steps are involved in implementing a Solana project? The answer to this question will give you an idea of how candidates approach problems and deal with challenges.
- Do you think Solana will eventually develop the problems Ethereum is currently experiencing? There are no right or wrong answers to this question, but the way your candidates respond will give you a sense of their familiarity with the field.
- What are the most significant challenges Solana faces? With this question, you can test candidates in Solana and see how their minds work and fit with your company.
SOL coding challenges
Before you hire SOL developers, consider organizing a coding challenge for your candidates. These challenges can help you narrow down your choices further and even make a final decision. You can draw inspiration from several websites that are already successful in the matter, such as Edabit and Codewars. However, don't go overboard. If your coding challenge is extensive or will take a while, offer compensation to your candidates.
Find, Hire, and Pay Latin American Solana Talent Through Revelo
If you're interested in simplifying the hiring process, Revelo can help you quickly hire Solana developers with top expertise. All you need to do is fill out a form to express your requirements. We'll match you with pre-vetted and qualified candidates within three days. After that, you'll be able to meet and interview your candidates to determine which one is the best fit for your company.
With Revelo, hiring is fast, effortless, and cost-efficient. You even get a no-risk 14-day trial to evaluate your new developer. If a new hire isn't a good fit for your company, you pay nothing. How convenient is that? Get in touch today to learn more about Revelo and hire Solana engineers.
Only time will tell if Solana can live up to its budding potential. Currently, Solana is a promising blockchain ecosystem as it proves to be faster, more efficient, and less energy-consuming than other blockchain platforms.
If you're interested in expanding into the Solana space, hiring the right developer is crucial to your success. Still, it may be challenging to find and hire Solana developers in today's highly competitive tech marketplace.
You can ease the process by clearly outlining what you need and targeting your search in areas that are more likely to gather Solana developers. Having an organized interviewing and vetting process in place will also help you boost your chances of achieving your goals.
Revelo is also here to help and provide you access to a vast tech talent pool. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have more questions about hiring Solana developers or our services.