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How Learning Blockchain Skills Can Help You Build Your Career Empowering yourself with the knowledge of blockchain can do wonders in every sense

By Ishan Gupta

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The world of technological innovation is one that inevitably follows the cycle of hype, implementation, consolidation, and maturity. Every technology progresses from unbridled excitement around its various potential use-cases and scope of disruption to on-ground deployment, before eventually moving onto becoming the new normal for businesses the world over.

In that sense, blockchain seems to be leading the trend. Ever since it first exploded onto the global stage with the rise of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has been one of the most talked-about new-age technologies. It is being hailed as the "new cloud' in terms of its long-term impact and disruption, even as it unleashes wide-spread transformations across the global business landscape. What's more interesting, however, is the unparalleled opportunity that the technology has unlocked for new-age professionals to significantly advance their career trajectories. According to TechCrunch, Demand for blockchain developers is growing at incredible rates, with current demand far outstripping available talent. This means wide-open opportunity for anyone seeking to enter this field. Plus, blockchain is still an emerging technology, so the blockchain developers have the chance to start making an impact right away.

The current and future scope: Blockchain adoption across multiple industries

The blockchain is actively being implemented across a host of applications across multiple industries to drive unparalleled efficiencies at present. Tech giant IBM recently partnered with leading transport and logistics company Maersk to develop an electronic shipping system leveraging blockchain's distributed ledger approach. Designed to completely digitise international cargo supply chains and ensure real-time tracking of shipments, the platform is expected to replace the current electronic data interchange (EDI) and paper-based systems with secure self-executing contracts.

This digitisation enabled by blockchain could end up saving billions of dollars for the global shipping industry by minimising shipping delays and ensuring smoother movement of cargo between destinations. It will also enable better trust and transparency within the sector by giving every stakeholder – be it government agencies and port authorities or manufacturers, logistics providers, and end-recipients – with a holistic view of all goods and shipping related information. The World Economic Forum estimates that such a development could potentially increase global trade by around 15% and give a much-needed boost to economic activity and job opportunities.

Something similar is being done by Samsung SDS, the IT solutions unit of the Samsung Group, with its enterprise-focused cloud computing platform Nexledger. The platform leverages blockchain technology to make it easier for organisations to manage digital finance and data exchange transactions. The company has also introduced blockchain-based digital identification and payments services to enable extremely secure, efficient, yet transparent tracking of large-scale movement of assets between multiple entities.

And all this is just the tip of the iceberg: potential blockchain use-cases are constantly being explored and developed across multiple industries. The technology is already finding widespread acceptance in banking and financial operations, while other sectors such as healthcare, data analytics, and law & regulatory compliance are also touted amongst the hottest destinations for prospective blockchain applications. The World Bank is also looking to leverage the technology in order to combat poverty, improve governance, and engineer positive socioeconomic outcomes in developing economies.

India to soon become a blockchain-driven economy?

With the country rapidly on its way to becoming a digital-first economy, the demand for blockchain experts is also quite high in India. According to a recent report by Indeed, job profiles such as blockchain developer, blockchain system architect, and blockchain software engineer are in great demand at the moment. India's IT capital Bengaluru leads the pack with 36% of all blockchain-related job opportunities, while other metropolitan markets such as Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Delhi/NCR, and Hyderabad are also emerging as lucrative destinations for blockchain professionals.

This growing demand is being driven by the government's focus on exploring and understanding how blockchain technology could be applied within the country. The NITI Aayog is currently in the process of developing blockchain-based IndiaChain. Linked to IndiaStack and other government digital identification databases, IndiaChain will be initially used for delivering proof of concepts pertaining to agriculture, real estate, and electricity. It will also be used to securely digitise the information about these and other domains in order to reduce frauds, ensure swifter enforcement of contracts, facilitate higher transactional transparency, and ensure higher efficiency.

The booming demand for blockchain-oriented skills in the job market

The growing global blockchain adoption and its rapidly-growing number of use-cases have fuelled an exponential demand for blockchain experts. A recent quarterly report by freelancing platform Upwork revealed that the demand for freelance professionals with blockchain skills registered over 6,000% year-on-year growth in Q1 2018. This, to the good people at Upwork, came as no surprise; the quarter-on-quarter growth for the same skill-set exceeded 2,000% for three consecutive quarters before that.

This growth in the demand for blockchain-related skills is not limited to freelance jobs alone. Burning Glass Technologies, which works in the field of job data analytics, has identified more than 5,700 job openings (mostly full time) for blockchain technologists in the previous year. This marks a growth of more than 300% in demand in the last 12 months alone.

As with any in-demand technology, professionals with skills in blockchain are being handsomely remunerated for their services. Market experts peg the average annual remuneration for full-time blockchain experts in India to be around INR 10-15 Lakhs for entry level. That is 30-50% higher than the average yearly salary of general software developers, and way more than the current median household income in India of around ~ INR 42,000.

Driving your career growth with blockchain-oriented skill

The arguments made above quite vividly illustrate the various short- and long-term career benefits that being skilled in blockchain technology can enable. But gaining proficiency in this nascent and rapidly-evolving field needs proper infrastructural and learning support, as well as a significant investment of time and effort. Very few traditional institutes currently offer blockchain-based learning as a part of their curriculum and those that do require full-time enrolment from prospective students.

This is what makes online learning a viable alternative for working professionals looking to capitalise on the rapidly-growing career opportunity in blockchain technology. Leading lifelong learning platforms offer a highly-conducive environment for self-paced learning, along with expert guidance and curated course materials. Armed with world-class faculty, industry-oriented programmes, and extensive resources, such platforms can help you in familiarising yourself with blockchain technology and reskilling yourself to be ready for the future job landscape.

The blockchain is rapidly emerging as the most in-demand technology at present. With its massive transformative potential and the wide range of applications, it will be integral to the establishment of a new, more efficient, and digital-first global order. With the world expected to be recreated in the wake of the blockchain, the time is opportune for you to prepare yourself for the imminent metamorphosis – by empowering yourself with the relevant knowledge and skills-set.

Ishan Gupta

MD-India, Udacity

Ishan Gupta is the MD-India of Udacity. He is the alumnus of Stanford University Graduate School of Business

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