A Message to the Class of 2018: Consider Cryptocurrency

By April 15, which was a few short days ago, most high school seniors had already submitted their statement of intent to register (SIR) to the college of their choice. Since then, they have turned their eyes toward the fall semester and what they will elect to study there.

This decision, of course, is not easy. A person’s major has an influence far beyond the four years of college. Your major gives you a particular body of knowledge, expertise, and skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, and perhaps more importantly, determines how employers view that package.

Thus, students want to select a major that is viewed favorably by employers, so that they may lead into a long, prosperous, and financially rewarding career. If this is what students are after, I would urge this incoming class of 2018 to closely consider the field of cryptocurrency.

Timing is Everything

This industry is still in its infancy, and that’s a good thing for incoming college freshmen. Many people have widely proclaimed 2014 as the year that the very best engineers, executives, designers, and developers will turn their attention to cryptocurrency, and by the way the year has gone so far, I would agree with them.

Exciting things are happening in this space every day, all of which points to an even brighter future ahead. Cryptocurrency is poised to stand alongside other new areas in tech – artificial intelligence, adaptive learning, commercial aeronautics, wearable tech, 3-d printing – as the next big thing.

So by the time these incoming freshmen graduate in 2018, the industry will have surely grown to a level that would thrill any enthusiast. There will be many companies out there hiring fresh graduates who had the foresight to get education or experience in cryptocurrency (or the humility to heed the advice in this article =] ).

Imperative is Everything Else

How does one exactly specialize in cryptocurrency at the college level? After all, no university that I know of offers a pure major in the field. An interested student would be well served to major in any discipline that naturally intersects with cryptocurrency. These would include computer science, engineering, mathematics, business, or economics.

Yet cryptocurrency is such a complex field that a student need not feel pressured to major in any one of those. A student could even major in something totally unrelated to cryptocurrency – for the sake of tradition, let’s say underwater basket weaving – and get the necessary education and experience through other parts of the college journey.

In fact, this approach may even be better because rather than passively accepting a body of knowledge wholesale through a major, a student will be forced to actively think about what will best prepare them to go from point A (college) to point B (gainful employment in the cryptocurrency field).

These students will have many opportunities to gain what they need to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. A student could take electives or even graduate-level courses of special interest to cryptocurrency. A student could propose a one-on-one tutorial with a professor with relevant expertise. A student could attend local and national conferences on cryptocurrency. In other words, a student with the right drive will only really be limited by his imagination.

One particularly fruitful avenue for such students to explore would be internships. For our part, my firm, LSM Labs would welcome interns in the future with open arms provided there is a mutual fit. As eager as students are to learn about the cryptocurrency industry, so are we eager to pass on what expertise we can about the field as a whole and our specialty in particular (we manufacture Bitcoin and Litecoin mining products).

Some students might fear that a piecemeal approach to gaining experience would not serve their cause as well as having say “Computer Science” or “Engineering” near the top of their resume. To them, I would assure otherwise. I routinely recruit and vet candidates through the hiring process, and we are much more concerned with how aggressively you pursued cryptocurrency experience in the context of what was available to you. For as big as cryptocurrency is bound to be, to take it there we will need people who think even bigger.