Supplying Blockchain Startups with the Right Talent

May of 2017 is a month that, more than any period before, signalized the ascendance of the cryptocurrency assets to the global financial arena. With bitcoin breaking the $2700 barrier and apparently well on its way to becoming the first digital currency to reach $3000 per unit in the near future, more individuals but also companies are taking blockchain seriously.

Because of this and some way from the limelight of the media coverage, the development inside of the blockchain domain is gearing up for a new level of growth. While the digital currency value will drop with the ebb and the flow of the markets, this expansion of development ecosystem will continue.

A cryptocurrency like BTC can be used for online gambling and many other things in the domain of payments and transfers, but the blockchain tech really does have the potential to completely change how corporations and even entire governments function and do it for the better.

This revolution will come from the dedicated development teams working on a range of solutions right now. Most of these teams are present in startup companies that are cropping up all the time with an increased frequency. However, the issue of talent is fast becoming a bigger and bigger problem because of the equally growing need of finding employees who can understand the systems well enough to build add-ons or completely new ones on the blockchain principle.

Even though the industry is well known in the broader IT field, it still has major difficulties filling its ranks with relevant people. Here are the key sides of the problem and also some potential mechanisms that could alleviate the issue in the coming years.

The University Dilemma

The modern universities, regardless of where they are located in the developed world, have more or less recognized blockchain as a technology that has to be both explored and taught. This is the only way how the new generations of professionals, who are now only being taught in the educational system, could emerge as being able to at least join a company in this field.

But, the problem is that universities have to find people who have experience in the blockchain field and are able to provide others with their knowledge that is specific to a certain framework. This can come through industry partnership, but at the same time, this partnership could be a way in for company’s recruiters who would then be free to try to steal away the same people for their ventures.

In this regard, the companies would always be able to outdo any university in terms of salaries and perks, including a potential cryptocurrency stake in a new digital currency network. This could end up as a huge sum after just a few years of successful growth of the same network. In this slugging match, the universities which are regularly strapped for cash could not compete against the same companies.

Constant Need for Teacher Improvement

A general principle for all IT teaching of being in a continuous state of education is put into a higher gear when it comes to the blockchain. In this domain, a pause of only a year or two from engagement inside of the blockchain industry can place a former expert into a position where he or she cannot follow the rapid succession of changes that took place since then.

Here, the practice of most professors of creating their curriculum material and then sticking to it for years if not decades would not be applicable. With the topic of the blockchain, nothing like this would be remotely possible, aside from the most basic introduction-type lessons.

After that, any teacher or professor would have to be actively engaged in the blockchain development community and adapt the curriculum relevant to actual applicable coding skills. But, this is additionally complicated by the fact that the academia has to stay somewhat disconnected from the day-to-day changes in the development space.

Otherwise, the university would equate itself to the level of quick courses – small and inflexible knowledge base designed to help its owner get into a specific workplace in the quickest possible time. While there is nothing wrong with this as a potential strategy for some people, it is not the role of the higher educational institutions to provide these paths.

Instead, these institutions have to provide their students with a mix of applicable knowledge and a theoretic background that would allow them to be able to master new advancements in the decades to come. Or, even more importantly, allow them to work inside of the R&D aspects of blockchain and be a part of those groups which create the same advancements.

Hybrid Courses

Because of the complicated process that leads to an all-around young professional in the blockchain space, some are calling for a creation of curriculums that are best described as hybrid alternatives. These would cover the practical and direct aspects of designing software inside of the blockchain, but also go into the domains like cryptography, mechanism design, and finance.

These would, in theory, combine and enforce each other so that they end up giving the students a robust framework that would be their main professional support. With them, they could start working in current bitcoin investment enterprises as easy as any other blockchain development process.

With the same flexible knowledge, they would be able to come to their own conclusions on issues like block size. With these, the community itself is split without any definite answers, so all students need to be prepared for similar things in their own professional future.

Hybrid courses sound really good but they also come with a major issue – the students would have to continue their learning once they got a real job inside of the blockchain tech field. During the starting months, they would be mostly useless for any meaningful tasks.

The Need for Talent

One thing certain about the entire discussion is the fact that this need for talent is not going away anytime soon. Now, there are nowhere near enough people to fulfill all of the demand for the jobs in this field and it is wishful thinking believing this will change in the next five years.

While there is no definite principle universities will use to accommodate for this need, they will do something because they cannot miss on this educational opportunity. But, for the potential employees looking to work or find a job once they finish their IT education, blockchain is a very promising field, if not the dominant one when it comes to the potential it offers.

Ivica Milarić

Ivica Milarić

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