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  • Writer's pictureEko Lance

Blockchain Careers: How To Become A Smart Contract Auditor


Image depicting a smart contract auditor auditing a smart contract in a virtual environment.

If you follow crypto news, you're likely aware of the frequent occurrences of smart contract hacks. This has resulted in high demand for smart contract auditors.


According to Cipher Trace Cryptocurrency Crime Report, In 2020 alone, it was estimated that $100 million was stolen in DeFi hacks. In this article, we will help you know;

  • The Roles of a smart contract auditor in the Blockchain Industry

  • Reasons why Smart contract Auditors are in a high demand

  • Key steps to take to become a smart contract auditor.

  • Opportunities in this promising blockchain career path.


Understanding Smart Contracts


Smart contracts are computer programs that run on blockchain networks. They contain predefined rules and conditions, which, when met, trigger the execution of specific actions.


These contracts eliminate the need for intermediaries, as they are automatically enforced by the underlying blockchain technology. By leveraging cryptography and consensus mechanisms, smart contracts provide transparency, immutability, and trust in transactions.



Who Is A Smart Contract Auditor?


A smart contract auditor is a specialized professional who assesses the security and reliability of smart contracts deployed on blockchain networks.

Their primary role is to thoroughly examine the code and logic of smart contracts to identify potential vulnerabilities, bugs, or loopholes that could be exploited by attackers.



How Does Smart Contract Auditing Work?


Smart contract auditing is a collaborative process between security experts and projects or protocols running on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).


Projects send their contracts to the auditors for evaluation. The auditors' objective is to analyze and attempt to identify any vulnerabilities or potential ways to exploit the contracts. Once the auditing is complete, the auditors provide a detailed report of the projects, outlining any potential security issues or weaknesses discovered during the evaluation.



Reasons Smart Contract Auditors are In High Demand


According to Coins Desk in 2022, hackers stole $500,000 worth of dai stablecoin from DAOMaker, a DeFi platform that allows users to invest in early-stage crypto projects.


The Cable reported that hackers stole $600 million from Poly Network, a cross-chain DeFi platform that allows users to swap tokens between different blockchains.


The reason behind this is that developers, no matter how skilled, can still make mistakes when writing code. While bugs in traditional software can be fixed with updates and patches, smart contracts on the blockchain have immutability as a key feature. Once a smart contract is deployed, its code cannot be changed directly.

This poses a significant challenge as mistakes in smart contracts can lead to potential financial losses, making it crucial to ensure that smart contracts are thoroughly audited before deployment.


This is why companies employ smart contract auditors to;


  • Implement and deploy smart contracts: Smart contract auditors assist in the implementation and deployment process, ensuring that the contracts are coded correctly and function as intended.


  • Detect smart contract errors: Auditors meticulously analyze the codebase of smart contracts, identifying any errors or flaws that may compromise their functionality or security.


  • Perform automated security checks: Smart contract auditors employ cutting-edge tools to conduct automated security checks. These checks scan for vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and potential attack vectors in smart contracts, ensuring robust security measures.


  • Utilize recent blockchain tools for development and safety audits: Auditors leverage the latest tools for development, auditing, and safety assessments, enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of their auditing processes.


  • Track blockchain transactions: By keeping a close eye on the flow of transactions, smart contract auditors can promptly detect and address potential security breaches, ensuring the integrity of the blockchain.


  • Curb crypto-jacking malware: Smart contract auditors actively combat crypto-jacking malware that aims to hijack computing resources for unauthorized mining. Their expertise helps in implementing measures to detect and safeguard the blockchain ecosystem.


  • Safeguard blockchain against privacy attacks: Auditors play a vital role in protecting the privacy and confidentiality of blockchain users. They evaluate the privacy measures implemented in smart contracts and identify any potential vulnerabilities that could compromise user data.



Skills Required to be a Smart Contract Auditor


Becoming a proficient smart contract auditor requires a combination of technical skills, industry knowledge, and attention to detail. Some essential skills include:


  • Solid Understanding of Blockchain Technology

A comprehensive understanding of blockchain fundamentals, consensus mechanisms, and decentralized networks is essential. This knowledge helps auditors identify potential security risks and design flaws in smart contracts.


  • Proficiency in Programming Languages

Proficiency in programming languages such as Solidity (used in Ethereum) and Vyper (used in VeChain) is crucial for auditing smart contracts. Auditors need to analyze and review the codebase, identify vulnerabilities, and suggest improvements.


  • Security and Cryptography Knowledge

A strong grasp of security principles and cryptographic algorithms is necessary. Auditors must be able to identify vulnerabilities related to authentication, data encryption, and secure key management.


  • Attention to Detail

Smart contract auditing requires meticulous attention to detail. Auditors need to analyze every line of code, identify potential loopholes, and ensure that the contract functions as intended.



Salary of a Smart Contract Auditor


Smart contract auditors have the potential to earn a substantial income, with some professionals making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in their various Web3 jobs. This field offers lucrative opportunities for blockchain developers.



However, here are some of the factors that can affect the salary of a smart contract auditor:


  • Experience: The more experience a smart contract auditor has, the higher their salary will be.

  • Location: The average salary for smart contract auditors varies depending on where they live. For example, auditors in the United States typically earn more than auditors in other countries.

  • Company size: Larger companies typically pay their smart contract auditors more than smaller companies.

  • Project complexity: The complexity of the projects that a smart contract auditor works on can also affect their salary. For example, auditors who work on high-value contracts, such as those used in finance or supply chains, can earn more than those who work on smaller contracts.

  • Skills: Smart contract auditors who have specialized skills, such as knowledge of a particular programming language or blockchain platform, can command higher salaries.



Steps to Become a Smart Contract Auditor


To become a smart contract auditor, there are several steps to follow. However, it's important to note that if you're a beginner, you should not take shortcuts and directly pursue smart contract auditing. Instead, start from the beginning and gradually build your knowledge and skills.


Here are the four steps to becoming a smart contract auditor:


Step 1: Learn web development - Begin by mastering the basics of web development, including HTML, CSS, and React. Focus primarily on front-end development, with some understanding of using Node.js for dependency management.


Step 2: Learn blockchain development - Learning Solidity, a programming language that compiles into EVM bytecode, is essential for writing smart contracts. As blockchain is built on top of the web, the knowledge you gained in web development will be valuable. Focus on Ethereum, the most prominent and widely used blockchain.


Step 3: Gain practical experience - learn how to build, deploy and audit smart contracts on test networks. Explore existing contracts, analyze their code, and understand how they function. Participate in blockchain development projects to enhance your skills and gain hands-on experience.


Step 4: Expand your knowledge through audits - Once you have a solid foundation in web and blockchain development, start exploring smart contract audits. Learn about security vulnerabilities, best practices for auditing, and tools commonly used in the process. Engage in code reviews, join developers' teams in hackathons, and collaborate with experienced auditors to enhance your auditing skills.



How to Get Your First Smart Contract Auditing Job


Once you have acquired the skills and have started to take the necessary steps, you are now ready to secure your first job as a smart contract auditor. There are two types of companies that specialize in security audits.


  • The first category comprises companies solely dedicated to smart contract audits, such as CoinStamp.

  • The second category includes companies that offer a range of services, including smart contract audits, such as Open Zeppelin and ConsenSys. These companies typically charge significant fees, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a single audit.


However, it's important to note that competition for positions at these companies is high, and the number of available jobs may be limited compared to standard smart contract development roles. If you are just starting as a smart contract auditor, it is advisable to;


  • Explore freelancing opportunities. While prominent auditing companies may be expensive for some projects, they are often open to hiring freelancers to reduce costs. To find freelancing opportunities, you can visit crypto job boards like Crypto Job List.

  • Reaching out directly to projects, offering your services, or engaging with builders in the crypto space on platforms like Twitter can also yield potential clients. In the beginning, you might even consider volunteering for free smart contract audits, as many early-stage projects would greatly appreciate the assistance.

  • Lastly, creating a blog or newsletter where you share highly valuable content around smart contract audit, hacks and other related topics people will be interested in reading. Also, sharing it on Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn can help you gain visibility and attract attention that can land you your first smart contract auditing job.



The Challenges of Smart Contract Auditors and How to Overcome Them


As a smart contract auditor, you will face various real-life challenges during your work. Here are a few examples along with their potential solutions:


The complexity of Smart Contracts: Smart contracts can be complex, involving intricate logic and multiple interacting components. This complexity increases the chances of errors or vulnerabilities in the contract's code. Auditors may struggle to identify all potential issues within such intricate contracts.

Solution: To overcome this challenge, auditors should adopt a systematic approach. They can break down the contract into smaller modules and analyze each component individually. Additionally, using automated testing tools and static analysis techniques can help in identifying potential vulnerabilities and reducing the likelihood of errors.


Security and Confidentiality Concerns: Smart contract auditors may face security and confidentiality concerns when accessing sensitive contact information. They need to ensure the privacy of contract details while performing thorough audits.

Solution: Auditors can implement robust security measures, such as encryption and access controls, to protect sensitive contact information. They should adhere to ethical guidelines and maintain confidentiality when handling contract details. Employing secure audit processes and leveraging trusted auditing platforms can also help mitigate security risks.


Emerging Attack Vectors: As blockchain technology evolves, new attack vectors and vulnerabilities may emerge. Auditors must be proactive in identifying and addressing these emerging threats to maintain the security and integrity of smart contracts.

Solution: Auditors should continually update their knowledge and skills related to cybersecurity and emerging attack vectors. They can participate in security-focused training programs and collaborate with cybersecurity professionals to stay informed about the latest threats and mitigation techniques. Regularly monitoring industry news and research papers can also help in identifying potential vulnerabilities.



Conclusion


Remember, being a smart contract auditor offers significant financial rewards, but it requires building a strong foundation in web and blockchain development before diving into auditing. With the right knowledge, skills, and experience, you can play a vital role in ensuring the security and integrity of smart contracts.


To help you become a professional and advance your web3 career, EkoLance is launching a 10-week course for people seeking a career in the blockchain ecosystem as a smart contract auditor. Starting on the 5th of September, 2023.

So, If you find this career path interesting then this is your chance to check our training program page and apply now as an earlybird!


Additionally, as an aspiring smart contract auditor, you should make the most of techFiesta; the world’s first blockchain-powered hackathon platform that harnessed the power of blockchain technology.


Whether you're a seasoned programmer or just a developer with a few years of experience, techFiesta is designed to provide a supportive environment where you can develop your skills, collaborate with other participants, showcase your ideas, build innovative projects and get hired by top tech companies. Join the waitlist today!


If you like this article and want to know more about blockchain jobs and career opportunities in the web3 job market, check these;







About EkoLance


EkoLance is a Web3 skill-training and recruitment company that equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the specific requirements of your preferred career in the blockchain industry. In addition to providing skill training, we partner with global tech companies in finding and hiring qualified candidates from our talent pool.


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