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Specialized workforce is needed as cryptography and blockchain courses enter universities

It should come as no surprise that the need for candidates specializing in digital currency and blockchain has become more evident than ever. This could be attributed to the fact that major companies are advertising jobs for candidates with expertise in alternative payments and emerging technologies.

For example, global software giant Apple recently announced plans to hire a new business development manager with alternative payment experience. Other leading companies, such as PayPal, Venmo and Tesla, have also been looking for talent with experience in blockchain and digital currency.

Universities are increasing blockchain and crypto courses

Several colleges and universities offer specialized courses to help students better understand the blockchain ecosystem. For example, the director of X-Labs and Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, Jocelyn Weber, told Cointelegraph that there is a growing demand for talent in this field, and noted that the University of California at Berkeley seeks to support the workforce. of the future. As such, UC Berkeley will likely continue to expand its offerings in blockchain technology courses:

“UC Berkeley has been offering blockchain courses for over five years on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats and lengths. The most recent offering by Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship was ‘Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0,’ in which Parity Technologies provided support, along with other protocols. ”

Weber explained that UC Berkeley’s Building with Blockchain for Web 3.0 course allowed students to learn the business skills and techniques needed to launch their own startup blockchain and present it to the judges on a demonstration 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 start-up creation are one of the ways UC Berkeley strives to incorporate the latest technologies and developments into its courses. “This gives our students the tools they need to enter the workforce with the most relevant knowledge,” he said.

In addition to UC Berkeley, the University of Wyoming is also becoming a blockchain access point for education. Steven Lupien, director of the Blockchain and Digital Innovation Center at the University of Wyoming, told Cointelegraph that UW has introduced a minor blockchain into its curriculum:

“This is an interdisciplinary minor available to students at our Faculty of Business, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Agricultural and Natural Resources and School of Energy Resources. The University has also launched the Blockchain and Digital Innovation Center to help students academic units with teacher training, course design and to work with external stakeholders of the university «.

Lupien is aware of the impact that digital assets are having on companies. He noted that it is the responsibility of educational leaders to prepare students to become productive members of the working community. “It’s important for them to understand this technology and its applied use cases and how it will affect their future,” Lupien said.

It is also worth noting that students are also offered courses focused on financial education around digital currency. More recently, Electric Coin Company, the company behind digital currency Zcash (ZEC), partnered with Bronx Community College on a pilot program called “Crypto in Context,” which specializes in understanding digital currency in the world. real.

Andre Serrano, strategic alliance 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 with the premise that others can learn and build alongside the communities that have been most affected by the failures of the current status quo:

“Financial education is the knowledge that enables people to make responsible financial decisions, choices that affect our daily lives. Our goal for this pilot program was to open the door for greater participation in the Bronx and empower the “Two-way learning in context. If we are not raising their voices and compensating for their comments, we are failing.”

Serrano shared that “Crypto in Context” was open to all Bronx Community College students and faculty, noting that 25 students have signed up for the free virtual course. She also commented that 70% of the program participants were women, coming from a variety of academic backgrounds. This is remarkable, especially as the number of women investors in digital currency continues to grow.

In addition, Serrano mentioned that 80% of students enrolled in the course downloaded a digital currency wallet. “Over the course of six weeks, students earned a total of 2.3 ZEC to complete optional assignments and assignments,” he said.

How important are these courses?

While blockchain and digital currency courses are important for the growth and adoption of the industry, it may be too early to understand how these learnings will affect students seeking employment in the field. For example, candidates applying for sites on Apple or PayPal may come from traditional financial backgrounds, but have little knowledge of digital currencies simply because they are very new.

While this may be the case today, some industry innovators hope that digital currency and blockchain courses will help attract better talent in the future. Nilesh Khaitan, leader in encryption at Venmo, told Cointelegraph that the lack of awareness and general knowledge about encryption is the number one problem when it comes to adopting digital assets:

“People generally have no idea where to start their research or knowledge. A course sculpts a curriculum and a journey into knowledge of space.”

Khaitan has further pointed out that there are a number of non-engineering job opportunities in the cryptographic space such as business development, community marketing and more. “Having a non-technological curriculum is equally important to boost knowledge of cryptography without delving into the deep technical aspects of it,” he commented.

In addition, blockchain and digital currency courses can be beneficial for those who are already familiar with the space. Guy Malone, a certified Bitcoin professional, told Cointelegraph that he recently completed the Introduction to Digital Coins course at the University of Nicosia. According to Malone, while he understood the importance of Bitcoin (BTC), he wanted to delve deeper into digital currency by taking courses:

“I know that by taking some of the courses or getting one or more of the verifiable credentials that exist so far, it might offer a greater sense of confidence to stakeholders.”

Will blockchain and cryptography courses become widespread?

While useful, major universities and colleges may take some time to start offering blockchain and digital currency courses. For example, Lupien noted that limited resources are a challenge for universities looking to expand their curriculum. “As an incipient technology, there are few teachers who have both the academic credentials and the experience to teach this technology effectively, but that is changing rapidly,” Lupien said.

In addition, students may question the relevance of these courses due to the fact that cryptography and the blockchain are not entirely conventional. Piergiacomo Palmisani, vice president of the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps universities incorporate the blockchain curriculum, told Cointelegraph that for students, the challenge is to get them interested enough to choose a blockchain career rather than a secure, well-paid job in technology. , Finance or any other field. “I think as more success stories emerge from the cryptography industry, students will be more attracted to it,” he said.

As for universities and schools that already offer blockchain and crypto courses, it looks like progress is being made. Weber shared that while UC Berkeley has no plans to offer students a degree in blockchain technology today, there is the possibility of moving forward: “I would never rule it out as a future possibility, especially as a minor offering.”

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