With growing adoption of blockchain technology and decentralised applications, the demand for people who have knowledge and skills in them is on the rise. According to a report compiled and published by the leading online freelancing site Upwork, the demand for Bitcoin and blockchain-related skills surged in the last quarter of 2017.
Bitcoin and blockchain rose to take the second and third positions in Upwork’s list of skills with fast growing demand in the job marketplace. The only skill that exceeded their level of growth was robotics.
Players within the industry have also cited a lack of blockchain talent as a concern. Nearly every industry is working on adopting the technology to solve a host of problems. Startups and companies are struggling to hire people with the right skills for related projects.
Getting an Education in Blockchain
All this means that acquiring cryptocurrency knowledge and skills may be a profitable step to take, whether you’d do it to improve your talent stack for employment, or for the benefit of your own enterprise.
Most early cryptocurrency experts were self-trained. They went to primary sources, talked to people on forums, and learned by getting involved and going through a lot of trial and error. You could choose this path. But the self-educated approach may take more time than you have or want to invest. And there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
There are now places you can go to gain skills related to decentralised applications. It will take you less time and effort because you can benefit from the knowledge and experience others have gathered on the topic over time.
These sources of knowledge and skill can be found both online and offline. Some are designed for newcomers, while others are for those who want to drill down to a more technical level. With a long list to choose from, it would be helpful to consider several factors before you pick a class or method that fits your knowledge and skill need.
Factors to Consider
Your goals, your current level of topic knowledge, your experience with software development and previous exposure to computer architectures and security will all come into play when choosing which course will be best for you.
For example, if you’ve had little exposure to the topic, it might help to take a course that requires less technical understanding and more foundational knowledge of the technology. But if your plan is to take an active role in building decentralised applications, you need technical training and foundational knowledge.
Learning how to build applications may also require that you already know how to write software code. If you don’t, then a cryptocurrency course heavy in technical content might be difficult to follow.
While the list of platforms and institutions that offer cryptocurrency-related courses grows longer all the time, you may still need to look a bit to find one. It’s not yet possible to easily identify universities with courses on the subject.
The following is a list of institutions and online platforms that offer cryptocurrency-related courses.
University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first university in the world to offer a cryptocurrency course – the MSc in Digital Currency.
In Australia, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) introduced a blockchain course in February 2018.
In the UK, University of Cumbria offers a part-time course, Sustainable Exchange, which focuses on exploring digital currencies and sharing economy. Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, offers a programme on blockchain integration and regulation, the Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme.
In the US, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was among the first universities to offer courses on cryptocurrency. The institution is home to the Digital Currency Initiative, a research community focused on supporting the development of decentralised applications and cryptocurrencies.
Colleges and universities are a better option for people who have the time to commit and possibly the ability to travel. For those who don’t have the time or freedom to relocate, especially those who want to add decentralised applications as another skill in their talent stack, online courses are more convenient.
Most mainstream online learning platforms—including Skillshare, Udemy, Lynda, Class Central, and Coursera—offer courses on decentralised applications and cryptocurrencies. The courses are created by third parties, mostly individuals. Therefore, you’ll want to guide your selection according to the reviews previous students have given the creators and their courses.
If you prefer more formal or traditional lessons, Coursera hosts courses offered by learning institutions. For example, you can access courses on Bitcoin and decentralised applications offered by Princeton University.
To cover the gap in the market, several entrepreneurs have designed and developed exclusive learning platforms online. The major strengths of these platforms are that they have been built by enthusiasts of decentralised application technology and cover nearly every unique aspect of the field.
Blockchain-exclusive learning platforms include Blockgeeks and Diginomics. Podcast and YouTube channels, such as the one by author and speaker Andreas Antonopoulos and another by the World Crypto Network, can also be considered learning platforms, as they share lessons about different aspects of the technology.
While not a reliable way to learn, you can collect a lot of knowledge and skill by attending any Bitcoin and blockchain events taking place in or around your city or town. You get to take part in discussions on different aspects of the technology, and you can pose questions to those who know more than you.
Find out about upcoming local events on Meetup.com. For larger gatherings, the event page on Bitcoin.org keeps track of them.
An excellent way to pick the brains of knowledgeable people is to read any books they have written. The list of books you can read on blockchain and cryptocurrencies grows longer every day.