It should come as no surprise that the need for candidates for cryptocurrency and blockchain has become more apparent than ever. This could be due to large companies posting positions for candidates who are familiar with alternative payments and new technologies.
For example, the global software giant Apple recently announced that it would be hiring a new business development manager with an alternative payment experience. Other leading companies like PayPal, Venmo and Tesla have also been looking for talent with blockchain and cryptocurrency expertise.
Colleges are building blockchain and crypto courses
Several colleges and universities offer specialized courses to help students better understand the blockchain ecosystem. Jocelyn Weber, director of X-Labs and Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, told Cointelegraph that there is an increasing demand for talent in this area. Therefore, UC Berkeley will likely continue to expand the range of courses in blockchain technology:
“UC Berkeley has been offering blockchain courses on different topics and in different formats and lengths for over five years. The latest offer from the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship was ‘Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0’, for which Parity Technologies provided support along with other protocols. ”
Weber explained that UC Berkeley’s Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0 course enabled students to learn the business and technical skills they need to start their own blockchain startup and show it off to the jury on a demo day. Parity Technologies – the company behind Polkadot – helped design the curriculum and even advised students looking to start their own startup.
Weber said courses that include initiatives like startup building are one of the ways UC Berkeley strives to incorporate the latest technology and developments into its undergraduate work. “This gives our students the tools they need to get into the world of work with the most relevant knowledge,” she said.
In addition to UC Berkeley, the University of Wyoming is also developing into a blockchain hotspot for education. Steven Lupien, director of the Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation at the University of Wyoming, told Cointelegraph that UW has added a blockchain minor to its curriculum:
“This is an interdisciplinary minor available to students at our School of Economics, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Ag and Natural Resources and the School of Energy Resources. The university has also set up the Center of Blockchain and Digital Innovation to assist the academic units with faculty training, course design and collaboration with external university stakeholders. “
Lupien is aware of the impact digital assets have on businesses. He noted that it is the responsibility of educational leaders to prepare students to become productive members of the study group. “It’s important for them to understand this technology and its use cases, and how it will affect their future,” said Lupien.
It’s also worth noting that courses are also offered for students that focus on financial literacy related to cryptocurrency. Most recently, Electric Coin Company – the company behind the cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) – partnered with the Bronx Community College on a pilot program called “Crypto in Context,” which specializes in understanding cryptocurrencies in the real world.
Andre Serrano, Strategic Partnerships at Electric Coin Company, told Cointelegraph that some of the industry’s most successful products are built and used by people who have already benefited from the current financial system. However, Serrano mentioned that “Crypto in Context” was created on the premise that others could learn from and build with the communities most affected by the flaws of today’s status quo:
“Financial literacy is the knowledge that enables people to make responsible financial decisions – decisions that affect our daily lives. Our goal for this pilot program was to open the door to increased engagement in the Bronx and enable two-way learning in context. If we don’t raise their voices and compensate them for their feedback, we’ll fail. “
Serrano announced that “Crypto in Context” is open to all students and faculty at the Bronx Community College, and noted that 25 students have signed up for the free virtual course. He also noted that 70% of program participants are female and have various academic backgrounds. This is remarkable, especially as the number of female crypto investors continues to grow.
Additionally, Serrano mentioned that 80% of students who enrolled for the course downloaded a digital wallet. “Within six weeks, students received a total of 2.3 ZEC for completing assignments and optional assignments,” he said.
How important are these courses?
While blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are important to the industry’s growth and adoption, it may be too early to understand how these insights will affect students looking for jobs in the field. Candidates applying for positions at Apple or PayPal, for example, may come from traditional financial backgrounds but have little knowledge of crypto simply because it’s so new.
While that may be the case today, some industry innovators are hoping that cryptocurrency and blockchain courses will help nurture better talent. Nilesh Khaitan, head of crypto at Venmo, told Cointelegraph that a lack of awareness and general knowledge about crypto is the biggest problem with adopting digital assets:
“People generally have no idea where to start their research or knowledge. A course shapes a curriculum and a journey to become knowledgeable about space. “
Khaitan went on to point out that there are a number of jobs outside of engineering in the crypto space, such as business development, community marketing, and more. “Having a non-technical curriculum is equally important for advancing knowledge of crypto without delving into the deep technical aspects,” he commented.
Additionally, blockchain and cryptocurrency courses can be beneficial for those who are already familiar with the space. Guy Malone, a certified bitcoin expert, told Cointelegraph that he recently completed the Introduction to Digital Currencies course from the University of Nicosia. According to Malone, although he understood the importance of Bitcoin (BTC), he wanted to delve deeper into crypto by taking courses:
“I know that by participating in some courses or by acquiring one or more of the previously available verifiable certificates, I may be able to instill more self-confidence in interested parties.”
Are blockchain and crypto courses going mainstream?
While useful, it may take some time for all major universities and colleges to start offering blockchain and cryptocurrency courses. For example, Lupien found that limited resources pose a challenge for universities looking to expand their curriculum. “As an emerging technology, there are few faculties that have both the academic qualifications and the experience to teach this technology effectively – but that is changing rapidly,” said Lupien.
Additionally, students might question the relevance of these courses as crypto and blockchain aren’t quite mainstream. Piergiacomo Palmisani, vice president of the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation – a nonprofit that helps universities adopt the blockchain curriculum – told Cointelegraph that the challenge for students is to pique their interest in making a career in the blockchain a safe and secure one Preferable well paying job in technology, finance or any other field. “I believe that the more success stories that come out of the crypto industry, the more students will be drawn to it,” he said.
There seems to be progress in the universities and colleges that already offer blockchain and crypto courses. Weber said that while UC Berkeley has no current plans to offer students a degree in blockchain technology, there is an opportunity for the future: “I would never rule this out as a future opportunity, especially as a smaller offering.”