Become A Blockchain Expert With These Online Courses (#GotBitcoin?)
It seems like the entire world has been told to stay inside their homes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc. As a result, the world has become almost entirely digital. Become A Blockchain Expert With These Online Courses (#GotBitcoin?)
A recent article from NPR showed that visits to news sites have increased by 60%, and that people are spending more time playing online video games. At the same time, online teaching platforms have started offering free, or heavily discounted, virtual courses. Below are a list of online blockchain and cryptocurrency courses worth exploring while spending time at home.
Coursera: “Blockchain Revolution Specialization”
Ranked by e-learning hub Digital Defynd as the best blockchain-certification course, Coursera’s “Blockchain Revolution” course series is designed to introduce learners to blockchain for business, government and society.
The courses are taught by Don Tapscott, a globally recognized speaker and the executive director of the Blockchain Research Institute, and Alex Tapscott, the author of the best-selling book “Blockchain Revolution” and a new book called “Financial Services Revolution.”
The BRI’s director of communications, Luke Bradley, told Cointelegraph that students from all different backgrounds have found the Blockchain Revolution course series valuable:
“There’s no coding experience required to take the course. All you need is about 8–12 hours a week, and we’ve had some learners finish the course by putting in 4–6 hours a week.”
Bradley also mentioned that the course is unique from others, noting that students eventually get to apply what they’ve learned through a “blockchain opportunity analysis.”
He described this as “a hands-on opportunity to come up with and analyze a blockchain application in a student’s profession or organization.” Upon completing the four-course series, students receive a certificate from INSEAD, a leading graduate business school.
Bradley further noted that the BRI recently launched an additional course series that specifically caters to financial-services professionals called “Blockchain Revolution in Financial Services.” This series is intended for students with a background in banking and finance who want to learn about the fundamentals of blockchain.
The BRI is currently offering 50% off of the first month of the Blockchain Revolution course series.
Udacity: “Become A Blockchain Developer”
As blockchain adoption continues to grow, the demand for developers in the space is also increasing significantly. Udacity’s “Become a Blockchain Developer” course allows students to create their own private blockchain, secure digital assets using blockchain identity, explore the Ethereum platform, and use Solidity and smart contracts to develop a decentralized application, known as a DApp.
Udacity’s CEO, Gabe Dalporto, Told Cointelegraph That The Overall Goal Of The Program Is To Bring Hands-On Projects To Students:
“During the course, students will build a decentralized app that allows them to create, sell, and transfer ownership of a unique star token (CryptoStar) on the Ethereum blockchain using smart contracts and the nonfungible (ERC-721) token standard.”
Another project the course offers is tracking items through the supply chain. Dalporto noted that this teaches students how to manage and audit blockchain product ownership as the product is transferred down the supply chain. “This can help improve your notarization service with a smart contract to support transferring of ownership, product auditing, and supply chain management,” he explained.
Other projects within the course focus on building DApps with multiple smart contracts and creating a decentralized property-listing application, where students will represent their ownership rights using zero-knowledge proofs.
Tokens will then be minted to represent the claim to the property. According to Dalporto, Udacity’s blockchain developer course is unique due to its interactive experience:
“This course offers an open opportunity for anyone seeking to enter the field. Plus, blockchain is still an emerging technology, so you have the chance to start making an impact right away. The critical differentiator in an emerging field is hands-on experience, and that is exactly what you’ll get in this program.”
Dalporto explained that the course takes four months on average to complete, which involves about 10 hours of work per week.
Upon completion, students will receive a nanodegree certification from Udacity, which Dalporto says can be added to a LinkedIn profile.
Udacity is currently running a site-wide promotion of 50% off until March 24, for all those interested in signing up.
Hyperledger And The Linux Foundation: Blockchain Training Courses
Hyperledger and the Linux Foundation offer an entire catalogue of blockchain training courses, including five that are completely free to take in partnership with EdX. The executive director of Hyperledger, Brian Behlendorf, told Cointelegraph that the most popular of the free introductory courses are:
LFS170 – Blockchain: Understanding Its Uses And Implications
LFS171 – Introduction To Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies
According to Behlendorf, these courses help students understand exactly what a blockchain is, and its potential to enable change around the world. “These courses allow students to analyze use cases in technology, business, and enterprise products and institutions,” Behelndorf explained. Students who complete both of the free courses are eligible to receive a professional certificate in blockchain for business from EdX.
In addition to the free courses, there are more advanced programs that go into detail on how to administer and utilize specific Hyperledger projects, including Aries, Fabric, Indy, Sawtooth and Ursa. The Linux Foundation also offers certification exams for both Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth to help professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
Behlendorf noted that the Hyperledger blockchain courses are unique because they are designed to equip students with the knowledge necessary to prepare for Hyperledger certification exams, which is helpful for those interested in working professionally with Hyperledger.
“Blockchain: Understanding Its Uses and Implications” takes about 20 hours to complete, while “Introduction to Hyperledger Blockchain Technologies” requires about 40 hours. Students interested in receiving a verified certificate of completion can obtain one from EdX for a $199 fee.
Udemy: Lolli’s “Earn And Learn” Program
Udemy, a global marketplace for e-learning, offers over 2,000 courses related to Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain. The e-learning giant formed a partnership with Lolli, a Bitcoin-rewards platform, to provide its users with tools to learn about Bitcoin, finance and other crypto-related topics.
Alex Adelman, Lolli’s CEO and co-founder, told Cointelegraph that the partnership with Udemy was initially launched to offer Bitcoin back for purchasing online courses.
He noted that Lolli is now expanding its partnership with Udemy to launch “Earn and Learn,” which will start on March 24. According to Adelman, this program will include a dedicated landing page on Udemy’s site that will recommend online courses at discounted rates for Lolli users:
“We understand most people are staying in their homes during this time and we want to provide resources for them to learn more about Bitcoin, specifically those who are new to Bitcoin and crypto. We want to incentivize them to spend this time learning and earning free Bitcoin in the process.”
Lolli users have already streamed over 1,000 blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related courses from Udemy. Adelman expects this number to increase as more people are forced into quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In order to accommodate new users, Adelman said that many of the online courses selected on the Udemy/Lolli landing page will be discounted during quarantine periods. Lolli will also be increasing the rate of return so that users receive 16% back in Bitcoin, starting March 20 and lasting through April 30.
Ivan On Tech Academy
Well-known crypto YouTuber Ivan on Tech launched the “Ivan on Tech Academy” to empower individuals to learn about the opportunities in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. According to Ivan, the most successful people in the space are not traders but rather builders. He told Cointelegraph:
“All new industries are filled with opportunities. Imagine working with mobile apps 10 years ago or the Internet in the 90s, or computers in the 80s. However, most people miss out on the great opportunities to build a great career or a business.”
In order to bring blockchain education to the masses, Ivan created his courses for individuals who do not have any prior skills or knowledge of the blockchain space. He noted that 15,000 students are currently enrolled in his program and that each student earns a certificate upon course completion. He said:
“Our students gain results quickly and can build Dapps within days, as we offer a very hands-on approach. We also provide help with employment and for people interested in launching their own projects.”
Other In-Home Learning Options
In addition to the courses listed above, Class Central offers a database of 95 courses on blockchain and 66 courses on cryptocurrency. Additionally, a new app called Bitcoin Lessons is geared toward educating the younger generation on Bitcoin.
The first four lessons are free, and students can earn Bitcoin upon course completion. Cryptocurrency-investing app Abra also just launched a free 10-day course on crypto.
Finally, there are a number of cryptocurrency and blockchain influencers who offer free educational series on YouTube. For example, Crypto Wendy O’s YouTube channel consists of videos designed to break down complex indicators for individuals interested in learning more about trading.
Blockchain Jobs Continue To Rise Despite Global Recession
Trillions of dollars have been injected into the global markets in an attempt to revitalize the world economy. The U.S. alone recently hit its highest unemployment rate in history.
The Whole World Seems To Be Falling Apart Except For Blockchain
Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, is looking to increase its job force by 10%, despite the recent dips in crypto price, according to Forbes on March 26.
Kraken’s team, currently 800 members strong, is adding an additional 67 hires to the company over the coming weeks. Many of the company’s openings are for people who are hospitality professionals with skill sets focused around the liberal arts.
Indeed.com displayed approximately 114.5 per million blockchain-centric jobs last December, right before the first new coronavirus case was reported. By February 2020 that number had increased 3% to 118.4 per million.
Optimism In Blockchain Industry Booms Despite Global Recession
Blockchain industry experts are bullish towards the crypto market. Jihan Wu, Founder of Bitcoin mining giant Bitman, gave his first interview of 2020 at a Chinese blockchain media event, revealing his continued optimism for a crypto market bull run over the coming year. He explained that:
“There are two reasons: first, from China and its neighboring countries experiences, coronavirus can be obtained and taken under control in about 2 months. Secondly, countries around the world are adopting great quantitative easing monetary policies.”
Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, also stated on Twitter yesterday that Bitcoin is the “only vaccine in the world that can give you immunity to the money printing disease.”
Cointelegraph reported previously that blockchain will be the most in-demand hard skill in 2020, along with cloud computing, analytical reasoning, and artificial intelligence.
Canadian University Adds Two Blockchain Programs To Meet Job Demands
Canada-based York University will start two new blockchain education programs in September 2020 in order to meet rising demand for professionals in the field.
Canada’s York University School of Continuing Studies today announced two new university-level continuing blockchain programs — the part-time Certificate in Blockchain Development and the full-time Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development.
The university said their new courses aim to meet the rising demand for blockchain developer roles in Canada, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, where it has risen by 374% in the last two years.
Helping People Upskill And Reenter The Workforce
The two courses, which are scheduled to start this September, will help students upskill and build a portfolio in the blockchain field so they can secure roles as blockchain professionals.
The university will be offering the part-time blockchain development course completely online. However, the post-graduate certification course will start online, and then depending on public health guidelines, will continue on-campus.
While the enrollment for the course is open, the university has not specified the duration of the courses or the number of students it will be taking on.
COVID-19 Has Revealed Our Inefficient System
The coronavirus pandemic has shown a multitude of flaws in existing information-sharing systems and supply chains. An advisory council member of the post-graduate program said that technologies like blockchain are crucial in building a more transparent and high-performance data governance system that can mitigate crises like the current one.
In their announcement, the university highlighted that the ongoing pandemic has only added to the demand for blockchain use cases and blockchain jobs. The assistant vice-president of continuing studies Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly stated that blockchain is a revolutionary technology that can help in “solving problems created by the pandemic.”
Specialized Workforce Needed As Crypto And Blockchain Courses Enter Colleges
Some universities and colleges are offering blockchain and crypto courses as the job market heats up, but will students be enticed to take them?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the need for candidates specializing in cryptocurrency and blockchain has become more apparent than ever before. This could be attributed to the fact that major companies are announcing job positions for candidates who are knowledgeable in alternative payments and emerging technologies.
For example, global software giant Apple has recently announced plans to recruit a new business development manager with alternative payment experience.
Other leading companies, such as PayPal, Venmo and Tesla, have also been seeking out talent with blockchain and cryptocurrency expertise.
Colleges Ramp Up Blockchain And Crypto Courses
Several colleges and universities are offering specialized courses to help students better understand the blockchain ecosystem. For example, director of X-Labs and Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator Jocelyn Weber told Cointelegraph that there is an increasing demand for talent in this field, noting that the University of California, Berkeley is seeking to support the workforce of the future. As such, UC Berkeley will likely continue to expand course offerings in blockchain technology:
“UC Berkeley has been offering blockchain courses for over five years now on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats and lengths. The most recent one offered by Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship was ‘Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0,’ in which Parity Technologies provided support for, along with other protocols.”
Weber explained that UC Berkeley’s Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0 course allowed students to learn the entrepreneurial and technical skills needed to launch their own blockchain startup and pitch it to judges on a demo day. Parity Technologies — the company behind Polkadot — helped design the course curriculum and has even advised students hoping to launch their own startup.
According to Weber, courses that include initiatives such as startup building are one of the ways UC Berkeley strives to bring the latest technologies and developments into its coursework. “This provides our students with the tools they need to enter the workforce with the most relevant knowledge,” she said.
In addition to UC Berkeley, the University of Wyoming is also becoming 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 introduced a blockchain minor into its curriculum:
“This is an interdisciplinary minor available to students in our College of Business, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Ag and Natural Resources, and School of Energy Resources. The University has also stood up the Center of Blockchain and Digital Innovation to assist the academic units with faculty training, course design and to work with the university’s outside stakeholders.”
Lupien is aware of the impact that digital assets are having on businesses. He noted that it’s the responsibility of educational leaders to prepare students to become productive members of the work community. “It’s important for them to understand this technology and its applied use cases and how it will impact their futures,” Lupien said.
It’s also noteworthy to point out that courses focused on financial literacy around cryptocurrency are being offered to students as well. 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 cryptocurrency in the real world.
Andre Serrano, strategic partnerships at Electric Coin Company, told Cointelegraph that some of the most successful products in the industry 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 can learn from and build alongside the communities who have been most impacted by the failures of today’s status quo:
“Financial literacy is the knowledge that enables people to make responsible financial decisions — choices that affect our everyday lives. Our goal for this pilot program was to open the door for increased engagement in the Bronx and empower bi-directional learning in context. If we are not elevating their voices and compensating them for their feedback, we are failing.”
Serrano shared that “Crypto in Context” was open to all students and faculty at Bronx Community College, noting that 25 students have registered for the free virtual course. He also remarked that 70% of the program participants were female, coming from a range of academic backgrounds. This is notable, especially as the number of female crypto investors continues to grow.
In addition, Serrano mentioned that 80% of the students enrolled in the course downloaded a digital currency wallet. “Over the course of six weeks, students earned a total of 2.3 ZEC for completing tasks and optional assignments,” he said.
How Important Are These Courses?
While blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are important for industry growth and adoption, it may be too soon to understand how these learnings will impact students looking for jobs in the field. For instance, candidates applying for positions at Apple or PayPal may come from traditional finance backgrounds yet have little knowledge of crypto simply because it’s so new.
Although this may be the case today, some industry innovators are hopeful that cryptocurrency and blockchain courses will help bring in better talent moving forward. Nilesh Khaitan, crypto lead at Venmo, told Cointelegraph that a lack of awareness and overall knowledge about crypto is the number one problem when it comes to the adoption of digital assets:
“People generally have no idea where to begin their research or knowledge. A course sculpts a curriculum and a journey towards becoming knowledgeable in the space.”
Khaitan further pointed out that there are a number of non-engineering role job opportunities in the crypto space, such as business development, community marketing and more. “Having a non-tech curriculum is equally important to drive the knowledge of crypto without diving into the deep technical aspects of it,” he commented.
Moreover, blockchain and cryptocurrency courses can be beneficial for those already familiar with the space. Guy Malone, a certified Bitcoin professional, told Cointelegraph that he recently completed the University of Nicosia’s Introduction to Digital Currencies course. According to Malone, although he understood the importance of Bitcoin (BTC), he wanted to take a deeper dive into crypto by taking courses:
“I know that by taking some of the courses, or obtaining one or more of the verifiable credentials that do exist to date, that I could perhaps provide a greater sense of confidence for interested parties.”
Will Blockchain And Crypto Courses Go Mainstream?
Although useful, it may take some time for all major universities and colleges to start offering blockchain and cryptocurrency courses. For example, Lupien noted that limited resources are a challenge for universities looking to expand their curriculum.
“As a nascent technology, there are few faculty that have both the academic credentials as well as the experience to effectively teach this technology — but that is changing rapidly,” Lupien said.
Moreover, students might question the relevance of these courses due to the fact that crypto and blockchain aren’t entirely mainstream. Piergiacomo Palmisani, vice president of the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation — a nonprofit organization helping universities incorporate blockchain curriculum — told Cointelegraph that for students, the challenge is to get them interested enough to choose a career in blockchain over a safe and well-paid job in tech, finance or any other field. “I believe that, as more success stories come out of the crypto industry, students will be more attracted to it,” he said.
As for the universities and colleges already offering blockchain and crypto courses, advancements seem to be underway. Weber shared that while UC Berkeley doesn’t have plans to offer students a degree in blockchain technology currently, there is a possibility moving forward: “I would never rule it out as a future possibility, especially as a minor offering.”
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