For a decade, there has been a lot of churn in technology due to innovation. A lot is talked about Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Robotic Automation, and BlockChain. These technologies have shown tremendous potential in various applications, and blockchain has certainly fulfilled the promise of evolving as a mainstay technology. This provides a tremendous opportunity for young technologists to consider and further their careers in blockchain.
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History of Blockchain
The initial concept of blockchain was first conceived in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. The objective was to achieve the tamper-proof document time stamp using cryptography. Many experts and organizations started working on this concept to build the practical design of the solutions which were implementable and improved efficiency to deal with the large data.
The first such design was built in 2008 by an unidentified entity popularly known as Satoshi Nakamoto. His design was based on a secure, scalable, and trust model and was first used by Bitcoin, a popular cryptocurrency.
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Industries are focussing now to adopt blockchain as the main technology. However, being a new field, there is a huge shortage of skill gaps, which is hindering the complex solution development and speed of implementation.
This has brought the focus on training a large number of professionals at entry and mid-career level for blockchain career opportunists, especially those who have some basic understanding of computer networking and application development and build their competency to meet the demand.
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Read more: Why Blockchain is important?
Simplifying the Blockchain
The name blockchain draws many inferences, and it makes it confusing and complex for blockchain career opportunists. However, once you split the words ‘Block’ and ‘Chain,’ it is simple to understand that it’s the block of data stacked up or stored in a chain of computer networks.
The block contains information related to the transaction details, date, timestamp, user information, amount, etc. To identify and store the specific transaction, the unique ID in terms of hash is provided to each transaction in peer-to-peer communication protocol built with the trust. This makes it visible only to the transaction owners and makes it more secure.
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This chain of data blocks is automatically scalable, and with more users joining the chain, the digital information stored in the blocks becomes more secure.
The incremental chain of blocks makes the blockchain secure and the cybersecurity aspects are met automatically, as it becomes difficult for the hackers to hack into the growing trusted network. The database of blocks or in simple words the digital information bonded together is publicly available on the blockchain network and every computer on the network receives a copy of the block.
This decentralization of the digital information popularly called as “Distributed Public Ledger” makes it difficult for the hacker to manipulate at all places. Everyone on the network can see all the transactions, but only the parties involved in the transaction would be able to identify their transactions because of the unique addition of hash, governed by private/public keys. This makes cryptography an inherent component of blockchain technology.
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Industries Providing Blockchain Career Opportunities
Presently, the blockchain is heavily used in Bitcoin and due to its success, other industries like banking and insurance have started looking at blockchain technology for its unique advantage of securing digital transactions and low possibility of any manipulation. This has also resulted in empty opportunities to make a career in blockchain.
Blockchain has tremendous potential to be used in various industries. However, for that, more development and customization is needed. As more and more industries are adopting blockchain technology, numerous blockchain career opportunities await plausible candidates.
Some of the common industries providing better chances to make a career in blockchain are–
- Banking & Finance – Perhaps, this industry segment is the biggest beneficiary of the blockchain.
- Cryptocurrency – Bitcoin has proved usability with success.
- Supply chain – Blockchain is useful in tracking, tracing, and recording of material transactions.
- Healthcare – Personal Health Information is regulated in many countries and blockchain can bring the benefits of digital use and secure storage.
- Real Estate – Today, many transactions in the retail industry are being recorded manually. This is one industry sector in which there is huge potential for the use of blockchain for record-keeping and online transactions.
In a recent survey on global blockchain conducted by Deloitte covering about 1500 senior executives working in organizations across the sectors, the finding that came up was that more sectors are adopting blockchain as an integral part of their strategies. Out of all, 41% of respondents said that they introduced blockchain to their operations in 2020. That is a huge jump from 21% in the year 2019. Almost 88% of respondents see blockchain as mainstream adoption, a huge change from experimental use. It clearly portrays how much value blockchain career opportunities would hold in the future.
In-Demand Software Development Skills
The simple way to approach the blockchain is to understand its basic concept and main aspects while designing and implementing.
The thought process for the design of blockchain should cover a systematic approach to the main aspects listed below –
Understanding the principles of blockchain architecture is the key to designing. All design activities revolve around these principles. These principles form the concept on which blockchain is dependent on. One should always keep these principles as the center of design and operations.
These principles are –
Decentralization of the database offers the power distribution, taking away the authority of the central power, which is normally the case in the current solutions. This makes the blockchain system less vulnerable to the single point of failure due to malfunction or any other reason, and the system is available for the rest.
Distribution of the blocks also refers to the distributed ledger technology (DLT) used in the blockchain. The use of DLT makes the database available to multiple users at multiple locations. DLT helps to achieve decentralization in the blockchain. DLT is quite helpful for banking and finance institutions, and fortunately, this sector is seriously looking at implementing blockchain with DLT. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency organizations who have already implemented blockchain was the just start.
Cryptography in the blockchain is achieved through writing a protocol for encryption, decryption, and hashing of the data to be transmitted from one user to another and validated by using the public/private keys. This is the basis for consensus protocol, which are inherent characteristics of the blockchain network. Here, validation is done in a way that the message is transmitted to the intended use and can be read by that user only. The hashing provides more security to the data to be transmitted.
Trust between the nodes is an important factor in a collaborative network environment like blockchain, much like in human interactions. It is built by using a consensus model in which users or a node, i.e., the computer which is likely to get connected on a blockchain network needs to prove their authenticity by exchanging the cryptographic proofs.
The uniqueness of a block is important in the blockchain by giving a unique identity to each transaction or record. The system adds the hash to every record created in the blockchain using cryptography and creates a unique identity. Moreover, each record has a relationship with the previous record. In case someone tries to change anyone’s digit of the hash, then it changes the hash records of all subsequent records alerting everyone of some malicious attempt.
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Advantages of Blockchain Technology
The security of digital information: It is achieved in the blockchain by using a distributed ledger, cryptography, and trust. Records once created in blockchain can’t be deleted or altered as DLT distributes the copy of each record or block to all the users, and it’s simply not possible for a hacker to change the record at all the places.
At the same time, assuming the hacker changes the record in one place, the effect of cryptographic hash changes the identity of all the subsequent records, which can immediately be noticed by the users. The most important factor for security is building trust on the blockchain network; if it’s not achieved, you simply can’t connect to the blockchain network and access it by achieving multilayer security.
The integrity of data: Distributed ledger makes the records available at any given point of time as it eliminates single point failure normally seen in a centralized ledger. The trust achieved through consensus models and cryptographic controls ensures the integrity of the data.
Transparency: Transparency in transactions is the fundamental of the blockchain. The distribution of ledger makes the records available to all users in the blockchain network. However, the personal information involved in the transaction remains private. Another advantage of creating a transparent network is that the alteration of data is nearly impossible due to a distributed database that needs alteration at all the places.
Blockchain Architecture and Design
Depending on the business requirement, organizations need to decide on what type of blockchain architecture should be adopted.
Three popular architecture types can be selected, depending on the requirement:
- Public architecture
- Private architecture
- Consortium architecture
Consideration of the core components of the blockchain design provides the approach to building the blocks. Here, it’s important to understand the difference between client-server architecture in which central control is established and managed by multiple administrators. In distributed blockchain architecture every user in the network can manage the network and data.
The core components in the blockchain design should cover –
- Node or user computer
- Blockchain network and its components
- The data structure of the block
- Transaction type
- A consensus protocol for building trust & performing operations
- Block sequencing
- The transaction verification process also called as mining to be carried out by specific nodes
- Blockchain codes
Most of the aspects above help to understand and build the blockchain with specific customization needs of the organization.
Blockchain technology brings decentralization, transparency, accuracy, privacy, security, and efficiency; it also involves huge technological costs and possible use in illegal activities.
Making a Career in Blockchain
Blockchain is an advanced technology and is here to stay. This is one of the few areas which are being looked at by industry experts. It is difficult for professionals to entrench into blockchain career opportunities straight away with minimum knowledge and qualification in IT technologies like network design, communication protocol design, cybersecurity, cryptography, database management, etc. They need to have sufficient knowledge and skills to make a successful career in blockchain.
A certain preparedness and systematic approach are required to take the steps towards making a career in blockchain. Many industry verticals are looking to adopt the blockchain, and as per the latest skill index, it is one of the hot areas for the next decade or so. This increasing demand is not being met currently due to the scarcity of the required skill set for blockchain.
The maximum demand for blockchain professionals comes from the industries in banking, oil and gas, retail, real estate, and insurance sectors. Not just these, but the demand is also there in startups, technology firms, and government-owned organizations. Thus, making a career in blockchain indeed requires systematic skill development.
Courses Offered by upGrad
upGrad has developed comprehensive online training programs on blockchain in line with industry expectations. The training modules and education approach of upGrad help individuals quickly get ready for immediate assignment—The main educational programs which upGrad offers are suitable for entry and mid-career level.
- Advanced certificate program in blockchain technology: It is suitable for the students who would like to learn the blockchain right from scratch and become a blockchain developer.
- Executive Certification in Blockchain from IIITB: It is a comprehensive 11-month program that helps to specialize in developing chain codes and smart contracts.
upGrad has developed the curriculum of these programs for blockchain technology with the consideration of the blockchain principles, aspects, and major components of blockchain so that skills are developed right from scratch. After completing the program from upGrad, tremendous blockchain career opportunities await you in diverse industries and various roles.
Some of the prominent roles that students can aspire for are –
- Blockchain solution architect
- Blockchain UI/UX designer
- Blockchain developer
- Blockchain specialist
- Blockchain project/quality manager
- Cryptography consultant
The Bottom Line
The students can take any of the paths mentioned above to further their career in blockchain. upGrad’s placement support helps students to enhance their job prospects through exciting blockchain career opportunities on the job portal, career fairs, and hackathon.
The future of blockchain is brighter with increasing demand and growth prospects, and so of individuals wanting to make a career in blockchain. Take up any of these courses and much more offered by upGrad to dive into deep learning and amazing blockchain career opportunities awaiting you.