In recent months, there has been a surge in the demand for blockchain professionals. Data from the professional networking site LinkedIn has shown that blockchain related job postings have tripled in the last 12 months. This shows that there is a high demand for blockchain experts as the potential and applicability of blockchain technology becomes more apparent to corporations. Recognizing this opportunity, several universities have added blockchain studies to their fields of study to tailor their educational offerings to these new developments in the job market.
The University of Edinburgh, for example, has recently announced the launch of a blockchain technology laboratory within its School of Informatics through a collaboration with technology startup Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK). The new lab will focus primarily on blockchain studies. However, related interdisciplinary research will be also encouraged.
Speaking at the launch of the blockchain technology lab, IOHK Co-Founder, Jeremy Wood stated: “IOHK’s partnership with the University of Edinburgh provides unique opportunities for current students to become the next generation of blockchain and cryptography leaders. As a headquarters for IOHK’s international academic research community, we expect to see the university facilitate innovative projects that drive how businesses and governments approach blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”
The University of Edinburgh now joins a small but growing list of educational institutions that are including courses on blockchain technology in their curricula.
Though the University of Edinburgh is the first to offer a blockchain course of this kind in the United Kingdom, universities in the U.S. have already been doing so for a while. Stanford University began offering a course on cryptocurrencies, blockchains and smart contracts two years ago, while the University of California, Berkeley also offers a blockchain course.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in the process of developing a course on the subject matter, while the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is offering the world’s first MSc in Digital Currency. The master’s degree covers all key areas of digital currencies such as regulation, cryptography and blockchain technology applications. Students can even pay the tuition fees for the degree in bitcoin.
There are also a number of online courses created to cater to the rising demand for blockchain expertise. Princeton University has partnered with online learning platform Coursera to provide an intensive 11-week course on bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology.
The Blockchain University and the B9lab also offer blockchain and cryptocurrency courses designed to cater to professionals who are seeking to improve their knowledge and have a competitive edge in the industry.
The CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4) includes Andreas Antonopoulos, Vitalik Buterin, Pamela Morgan, Josh McDougall and Michael Perklin on its board of directors. It offers cryptocurrency courses and provides participants with professional certificates upon completion. Certified Bitcoin Professional (CBP), Certified Bitcoin Expert (CBE), and Certified Ethereum Developer (CED) are the three professional certifications available.
The rise in blockchain related courses both online and in leading educational institutions is a testament to growing confidence in the technology’s ability to disrupt industry in the future. Blockchain technology is now being recognized as an applicable solution to real world business challenges and that is reflected in both the job market as well as in educational courses on offer.
Alex Lielacher is a location independent entrepreneur who travels the world while working remotely on various start-up ventures. He has been following bitcoin since 2011 and regularly writes about personal finance, fintech and digital currencies.