With virtually every tech blog and media outlet talking about the blockchain, it seems inevitable that you will need to learn skills related to the field at some point. And it’s a good assumption to have.
However, the question for many of you is where and how does this training start, and what does it involve? After all, the increase in demand for skilled blockchain professionals has only hit its feverish pace over the last few years.
Well, the good news is that blockchain training isn’t an abstract, difficult-to-understand concept. We’re here to break down what it entails and how it can benefit you, the aspiring blockchain professional.
Understanding the Blockchain & Its Basic Concepts
Like any new subject, the beginning of a blockchain training course begins with the basics, what it is, how it works. This, of course, begins with some of the topics you’re already familiar with such as how blockchain technology supports cryptocurrencies, and some textbook examinations of concepts including decentralization and consensus.
It starts to pick up and breaks off into more detailed concepts around how specific blockchains – i.e., for specific cryptocurrencies or non-cryptocurrency based ones operate. In addition to this, there are discussions and lessons on how blockchain and ledgers intertwine with existing solutions and systems – i.e. financial, healthcare, supply chain, etc.
The course then gets more hands-on, and the theory behind the technology takes a back seat as you start examining case studies and strategic uses of blockchain and ledgers. This analytic work and review will help you see how companies (and even individuals) can use blockchain applications practically. At this point, blockchain will no longer seem like an abstract concept, but rather, a tangible asset that can address common technical and business issues.
A Fork In The Curriculum
The materials mentioned in the last section will be taught to people on either side of the technical or business management side of things. However, as things progress, the curriculum for blockchain architects and developers will take a separate path from the one that aspiring business managers will find themselves on.
And of course, there are separate courses dedicated to those on either side, some of which would require certain backgrounds (especially technical ones).
For those on the technical side, blockchain architecture-focused courses hammer down concepts such as process flows, blockchain platforms, programming languages/frameworks and interfaces with enterprise systems.
For those on the business side, a progression in the curriculum would focus more on how blockchain platforms apply to specific industries and how implementing them affects strategic business models (i.e. SWOT, journey mapping, etc.).
What Good Blockchain Training Involves
The best courses offer a distinct combination of content and a differentiated learning experience for the participants.
From a content perspective, all courses will introduce what blockchain is, how it works, several case studies of use, different types of blockchains, cryptocurrencies and tokens as well as application to enterprise and for consumer applications. Some will vary in the degree of technical vs. business focus.
So what makes a course distinct in terms of content – two words: “so what?” Good courses cover the “so what.” What is the impact of blockchain to my business, processes, partners, application, application interfaces and use, data and how it is managed, policies that need to be adhered to such as GDPR or HIPAA for instance in case of privacy or AML/KYC, regulatory compliance such as securities regulation, governance, business models, and of course the technology implementation.
The “so what” goes further than just laying out what blockchain is and how it works and marketing case studies. It addresses how you can implement a blockchain solution in light of real world constraints. As an example, ask if the course answer the following:
What is the impact of blockchian on my existing business practices, partners, processes, business models, governance models, product/solution offer, and customer engagement, etc?
Can the solution scale provide the privacy, security, transaction finality, etc. for the use case I am attempting to achieve?
As an example, if your industry is regulated such as healthcare, insurance, finance, the relevant questions may include - how do I implement a healthcare solution such as one for patient records - that deals with sensitive patient data - in light of HIPAA privacy policies?
How do I implement a blockchain application with client data in light of GDPR where someone has the “right to be forgotten?”
How do I design and architect a solution so that only that which needs to be on a blockchain is there and anything else is kept off-chain?
How do I implement a blockchain solution for data that is constantly changing in light of the fact blockchain is an immutable ledger? Do I implement this with blockchain? How do I determine if blockchain is even the right solution for what I am attempting to do?
What happens if I need to change the rules for governance of a blockchain solution once its deployed – who does what, how is this managed?
In terms of the learning experience, the right courses won’t feel like a traditional university lecture (remember those?), where a professor rambles on or waxes poetic about the meaning of life or quotes literature. Rather, you’ll get a mix of instruction, hands-on practice exercises, and opportunities to interact with your fellow classmates so that there is an interchange of knowledge and ideas. An excellent course is one where the participants feel like they can have their specific areas of focus addressed in a dynamic and interactive manner, while being structured enough to follow a complete learning experience.
Regardless of whether you prefer the technical side or business side, the right blockchain training courses will challenge yet engage you. You will build a solid foundation of knowledge without there being a dull moment.
Who teaches you makes a big difference in both how you understand things and how motivated you are to beneficially use this knowledge as you leave the course. We know this from high school courses. Great teachers not only inform you but also motivate and inspire you. Good teachers know their subject matter well from practicing it and learning through application. Bad teachers get the exact opposite results.
It is therefore important to understand who is teaching the course. Courses that are taught by several experts in respective areas often provide a unique degree of expertise to participants that they wouldn’t receive from a single “master of all trades” instructor.
Certification and Accreditation
Blockchain by definition displace a central authority and decentralizes this function across multiple parties. So, who determines what a “book of knowledge” may be for a blockchain professional? The better question in blockchain is how is this determined. How are standards set to certify professionals? Are these credentials accredited by an independent accrediting body? Is there a professional designation and is this designation accredited by a chartered professional designation authority, such as professional engineers, law society, technical association? Examples are bodies such as the CIO Association or Institute of Management Consultants, or Chartered Professionals associations of similar type for other professions.
Finding Your Bearings
Learning about blockchain will require you to absorb theoretical concepts, but also take on some hands-on tasks to give you a feel of what it’s like to work in the field. It’s important that you get a mix of both sides, because the blockchain industry is rapidly evolving and there’s a lot to learn but also a lot to do with the technology.
Here are at TransformationWorx, we offer courses that provide both blockchain business and technology professional development through highly engaging content and participant experience. Our courses give you the opportunity to network and interact with others so that you’re constantly exposed new opportunities and perspectives.
Additionally, our faculty has practicing experts and we are governed by a board that represents industry executives from multiple sectors. The TransfromationWorx program is the only program in the world that provides an accredited cert