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What does it take to bridge the skill gap?

The rise of blockchain: Are we falling short of competence to unleash the technology?

Mukund Krishna

© Shutterstock /Aiemsinsuk

With what is touted as the next ‘war for talent’, the skill shortage in the area of blockchain technology does not seem to tally with the burgeoning number of startups and established businesses offering solutions in bitcoin and blockchain. Mukund Krishna, CEO and founder of Suyati Technologies explains how this technology finds itself useful in removing corruption and providing transparency and accountability.

The demand for Blockchain technology is experiencing a meteoric rise in the recent times. A recent study held by Juniper Research found that the venture capital investments in Blockchain and Bitcoin technology hit a whopping $300 million in the first half of 2016. Within a span of one year, over $1 billion has been diverted towards innovation and development of several blockchain startups. Some of the key industry players such as IBM, American Express and Goldman Sachs are investing heavily in blockchain related projects.

‘10% of global GDP may be stored with blockchain technology by 2027’, remarks the World Economic Forum. That means, in a decade’s time, we are heading for a revolution driven by Blockchain. This statement resonates the impact that blockchain technology is expected to have on the world economy.

Underscoring the fact that this technology is becoming mainstream quite quickly, LinkedIn demonstrated that there has been over 1,000 blockchain-related job advertisements posted until the first half of June 2017, which is three times more than that of the previous year.

All the above stats indicate one thing- Blockchain application development is definitely hogging the limelight. With it becoming a technological mainstay, organizations find themselves ill-equipped to handle the supply-demand gap that they are experiencing with this technology. There is a significant talent drought in terms of core Blockchain expertise. Let us first try to understand how the technology functions like.

SEE ALSO: Blockchain sells. Here’s the proof.

Decoding the technology that is Blockchain

Typically, blockchains are considered as digital entities of information or digital records of data, where each record is called a block. These blocks come with a timestamp and a link to the previous block. Blockchains comprise all transfers of data on a distributed network, updated chronologically, and then sealed cryptographically. Ideally, blockchain functions as a digital platform facilitating the recording and verification of transactions in an open, “tamper and revision-proof” manner.

In his book, The Business Blockchain, thought leader and author, William Mougayar, explores how the emerging trend has quickly picked up the pace so much so that it is almost coming as a close second to Java. This is good news since Blockchain is known to augur well with languages and scripts that include the likes of Java, JavaScript, C++, Node.js, Python, Golang, and Haskell.

Consequently, there is a void in terms of skilled developers who are well-versed with the nuances of Blockchain development. The job market is facing a constant struggle to keep up with the sudden demand for blockchain developers. According to Jeremy Drane (former PwC FinTech director), the most pertinent issue facing the blockchain industry today is the lack of talent. And quite understandably, organizations are finding it a herculean task to hire suitable talent and retain them with competitive and sustainable pay packages.

The Wall Street Journal reported that exceptional talent in Blockchain development fetches salaries up to $250,000 at large financial institutions. According to Bitcoin pioneer Jered Kenna, experienced Blockchain professionals are valued at drawing over $200,000 USD as an annual package.

SEE ALSO: It’s up to the developers how soon blockchain goes mainstream [Interview with Brian Behlendorf]

What does it take to bridge the skill gap?

Although blockchain technology is still in its nascent stage, it is a fast-growing field with obvious signs indicating that the academic world is starting to take note of its immense potential. With what is touted as the next ‘war for talent’, the skill shortage in the area of blockchain technology does not seem to tally with the burgeoning number of startups and established businesses offering solutions in Bitcoin and blockchain. This technically means that the demand for talented developers in this field is at an all-time high.

Identifying the huge demand for blockchain professionals in the immediate future, several universities all over the world have collaborated with private companies to devise blockchain related courses in a bid to match the supply demand equation.

Courses on Blockchain and related technologies range from massive open online courses (MOOCs), to conventional university lectures, in addition to independently run boot camps that teach aspiring technology evangelists to rapidly scale up to speed. For instance, one of the basic hands-on courses offered by Stanford University for developers includes a three-unit classroom session combined with an optional lab session dealing with Bitcoin applications. Yet another instance is how technological bigwig IBM offers specific courses on creating private blockchain networks on Bluemix as well as Smart Contracts.

As a result of the wide ranging potential of the less-explored blockchain technology, several cryptocurrency-focused recruitment agencies are looking to establish their presence and lay the groundwork for future development. A positive change in this direction is how the multi-national conglomerate Dell is endorsing Bitcoin as a measure to help raise awareness and legitimacy for the digital currency. Adopting such measures in technology-driven crowds complete with potential job seekers could be a welcome move in enabling the use of blockchain technology widely.

What does the future hold for Blockchain technology?

With blockchain promising to lead us towards the next big disruptive technology, blockchain enthusiasts are of the belief that it has all the robustness to provide a sustainable, transparent, instantaneous and indisputable record of transactions. As a result of this, blockchain tech finds itself useful in removing corruption and providing transparency and accountability. The key nevertheless lies in how the technology is being applied to serve this primary purpose.

Blockchain technologies are still in their embryonic stage, but the good news is that the industry looks set to boom.

 

If you’d like to know more about the blockchain and meet the top movers and shakers in the global blockchain scene, join us in London in October.

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Author

Mukund Krishna

Mukund Krishna is the CEO and founder of Suyati Technologies. His 20-year career has seen him move across continents, and rise from systems engineer to CEO and founder of Suyati Technologies. He has gained hands-on experience in delivering global IT solutions for various businesses, including B2B & B2C Software, Engineering Services, Automotive, Consulting and Utility industries.

At Suyati, Mukund has created unique solutions and products in the IT, social advocacy, digital marketing and content creation spheres. He’s the prime driver of Suyati’s leap towards excellence, and is the true inspiration behind its much admired corporate culture.

He holds an MS from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Mukund is also on NASSCOM’s committee for their 10,000 Startups initiatives in Kerala, India and on Swinburne University of Technology’s CSSE Course Advisory Committee.

Find him on Twitter @kmukund7 and LinkedIn.


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