Blockchain has been on the radar for a few years now. Here, we take a look at the skills you need to be successful in the sector.
Blockchain is decentralised, distributed and public digital ledger. It can be used to record transactions and data across many different computers. The record can be shared, but it can’t be altered retroactively without altering all of the subsequent blocks and disrupting the consensus mechanism of the network – hence the reason it is called ‘blockchain’.
If you are coming to blockchain as a complete newbie, you need to understand the consensus mechanism. A consensus mechanism is a type of programme used in blockchain systems to achieve distributed agreement about the ledger’s state.
Different blockchains use different types of consensus algorithms, for example, proof of work, proof of stake, proof of capacity and proof of activity. The first two are the most common, however. Proof of work is used by some well-known crypto networks like Bitcoin.
That brings us to another key point: if you want to get a grounding in blockchain you should familiarise yourself with where and how it is used.
Why blockchain and for what?
Crypto and decentralised finance is perhaps the most well-known area that uses blockchain tech, but there are other uses too.
Last year, Trinity College Dublin researcher Dr Hitesh Tewari gave an in-depth interview to SiliconRepublic.com about how the technology’s make-up means it can be used for data privacy. Tewari’s research concerns decentralised privacy-preserving systems, from autonomous vehicle security to next-generation cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain offers a way for people to have control over their personal data even as they operate in a digital world. It’s an area a lot of people are interested in – and it has far-reaching uses in multiple sectors from health to recreation.
Core tech skills
Now let’s take a look at some of the tech skills you should improve to build a career in blockchain.
You should get a good grounding in distributed systems and peer-to-peer networks because blockchain is decentralised and not under the control of a singular system.
Programming skills such as C, Python, Ruby, Golanf and Java are all good bets to learn, too. They are all widely used in blockchain development. This article by Knowledge Hut gives a decent overview of blockchain developers’ work.
Cryptography, encryption and security concepts, in general, are a must-know, given blockchain’s focus on data security.
If you want to upskill in blockchain tech in your downtime, the following online courses can provide you with a pretty solid introduction to what is an exciting and growing technology.
Udemy’s guide to the blockchain ecosystem course is very short, clocking in at just over one hour. It’s easy enough to complete in an afternoon and it gives you a very basic, clear grounding in what blockchain is.
If you want something more advanced, Simplilearn offers a four-month online bootcamp for those harbouring professional ambitions. It is delivered in association with the Indian Institute of Technology of Kanpur, so it is accredited. The next cohort starts on 22 June.
Last but not least, anyone interested in blockchain should check out Blockchain Council’s website. It has lots of resources, as well as learning paths and links to online degrees and certifications.
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