Today, almost half of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on cryptocurrency or blockchain in their curricula.
A giant leap forward. But with the emerging technology on the cusp of mainstream adoption, is this enough?
An ever-increasing demand for blockchain job skills across industries continues to surge, where for every one blockchain developer, there are 14 new job openings.
As executives rally for blockchain-based solutions in their respective sectors, education initiatives are needed more than ever, not only to upskill tomorrow’s workforce, today but to inform decision makers themselves, as confusion among C-suite executives continues to be a major roadblock on the path to blockchain’s mass-adoption.
Teaching not only for today but tomorrow
The demand for blockchain developers has surged in recent years as the technology has gains credibility in the eyes of mainstream players. The initial supply of talent proved to be insufficient and with that scarcity came the challenge of attracting developers with lucrative pay packages and benefits, where experienced developers earn an annual salary of over US$200,000.
For those looking to implement blockchain-based solutions, the skyrocketing costs associated with hiring have been a hindrance.
However, in 2018, an Upwork report found that blockchain took the number one spot as the fastest growing skill in Q1, experiencing more than a 6,000% year-over-year growth.
Developers and budding talent entering the industry were enticed in part by the technology’s potential but also by the lucrative financial benefits. The rise of blockchain labs such as Blockchain at Berkeley or the National University of Singapore’s CRYSTAL (Cryptocurrency Strategy, Techniques, and Algorithms) Centre conveyed a willingness for academic communities to converge with the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry in order to foster much-needed conversations on the lack of blockchain initiatives and support in higher education.
By creating an open community of academics, thought leaders, and experts, coupled with the real-world expertise of existing projects, blockchain education can continue to position itself as a necessity.
Concurrently, course offerings have appeared throughout numerous higher education institutions, not only focusing on cryptography and cybersecurity, but on topics as esoteric as the “Anthropology of Money”.
By developing courses that focus on the financial, legal, and social implications of blockchain, institutions are able to cultivate a broader pool of talent, armed with interdisciplinary skills and insights.
With this in mind, tomorrow’s workforce is far better poised to tackle the industry’s challenges as it continues to develop over time, while meeting the ever-growing demand for blockchain-savvy professionals.
Beyond “innovation for innovation’s sake”
Issues in blockchain implementation span beyond a scarcity of talent. Executives may have ambitious aims to adopt an innovation-first approach towards technology but, as decision makers, they too need to understand blockchain.