Blockchain is the buzzword de jour right now. Everyone’s talking about it, even if half of those people are hazy on the details. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said Blockchain will be the biggest technological revolution in decades, “Anything that you can conceive of as a supply chain, Blockchain can vastly improve its efficiency. It doesn’t matter if it’s people, numbers, data or money.”
So Blockchain’s important – big whoop. What is it exactly? And if you want to get involved, what’s the next step?
The Blockchain basics
There’s some excellent resources out there if you want to go in-depth, but here’s the abbreviated version. Blockchain is the skeleton for a different type of internet. At its heart, it’s a digital ledger that records transactions. But that’s a bit like saying the internet is a way for computers to talk to one another – the scale and scope are what excite the experts. Blockchain makes any sort of transaction secure, un-hackable, transparent and easily verifiable.
The potential applications are huge. And so is the demand for Blockchain-related jobs. According to Upwork, a global freelance network, Blockchain-related skills were the most in-demand skillset for the first quarter of 2018.
How can I get involved?
Being a new technology, there are few formal pathways for Blockchain education (so far). RMIT’s new online Blockchain short course is one of them.
But everyone can start familiarising themselves with the basics. If you want to get into the Blockchain industry, there are a few things you need to know.
Talk the talk
Understanding why Blockchain is such a big deal is the first step. As an entry point, you need to be able to talk about decentralisation, smart contracts, Dapps and other Blockchain fundamentals. Understand the pressure points facing financial services and other online businesses: reliability, security, transparency, efficiency. Then you can move on to more technical skills.
Think like a business
In the same way no-one could predict how big the internet would become, we’re still learning the potential applications of Blockchain technology. It could become anything, in almost any industry. CEOs will be looking for employees who don’t just understand how Blockchain works – they use it to solve real world business problems. Problems like: How can we improve transaction efficiency? How do we pin-point redundancies in our supply chain? How do we make this system more secure?
Network like a boss
There are dozens of Blockchain start-ups in Australia alone. Reach out to them, volunteer your time, intern where you can, listen to what they have to say. Attend industry conferences like APAC and Blockchain & Bitcoin. Network and meet the people doing cutting edge research. Understand cryptocurrencies and keep and eye on key tech trends.