How do I start studying blockchain and crypto?

How do I start studying blockchain and crypto?

With ever-increasing interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, more and more people are exploring the possibilities of a career in this intriguing field. While a formal qualification isn’t necessary for securing some great opportunities by any means, if you’re starting from scratch you’ll need to know your way around the tech and its implications, and there are some great online courses to help you do just that.

How to find entry-level blockchain jobs

If you’re looking to start out in blockchain, there are a number of ways you can go about finding a job. A conventional search on LinkedIn or other recruitment portals will yield lots of blockchain jobs, including opportunities for interns, junior developers and other entry-level positions.

Another way is to look for opportunities directly with crypto companies, cutting out the middleman in true blockchain style. Platforms like LaborX put freelancers directly in touch with employers in the blockchain space – though the jobs they offer don’t always require blockchain knowledge, and include a broad spectrum of opportunities. (Various other sites provide a similar service, though LaborX offers payment in crypto as well as smart contract protections for both parties, including payment escrow.)

If you want to apply for a job that requires more expertise and understanding of blockchain, it’s a good idea to upskill by learning more.

How to learn about blockchain

If you’re a self-starter with a keen interest in blockchain, you can learn a lot simply by jumping in, checking out different forums and communities, and searching for the different resources you need – whether you’re looking to gain a broad background in blockchain, or learn the intricacies of smart contract programming.

For a more structured learning experience – and one that ends in that all-important certificate or qualification – you can opt for one of the top online courses for blockchain. These are offered on various different online education platforms, and sometimes the same course is provided on more than one (which may make a difference if you’re already signed up for another and see a course you like).

1. Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases (Coursera)

Offered by Consensys Academy, the educational arm of the well-known blockchain company, this is a very popular and well-reviewed course, with a 4.7/5 rating. The course is described as ‘the definitive introduction to blockchain for both the developer and non-developer audience’. It’s also free to enroll, though you’ll need to pay for graded assignments and a Certificate (financial aid is available).

Foundations and Use Cases encompasses both blockchain technology and its ethos/philosophy, giving some context for decentralised technologies and the interest in them. The course starts with an overview of the tech, including the Bitcoin blockchain, before moving on to look at Ethereum and some of the more advanced functionality blockchains can offer. It finishes up exploring some of the use cases for blockchain, taken specifically from Consensys’s own portfolio of startups.

Overall, this 10-hour course should provide a strong foundation in blockchain to build upon with more advanced courses.

2. Professional Certificate in Blockchain for Business (edX)

Run by the Linux Foundation, an organisation with an outstanding track record in the field of decentralised software, this course offers an extensive introduction to blockchain’s business use cases, as well as diving into Hyperledger and its technologies. It comes with a price tag of around $300, and you’ll be expected to put in between 2-4 hours a week of study for six months.

It’s a much more thorough introduction to blockchain than the briefer Consensys course, but it’s still suitable for beginners as well as an intermediate audience. The Hyperledger modules also help to ground it in real use cases and make this a good course for those seeking to use their new-found knowledge in industry and enterprise.

3. Blockchain Specialization (Coursera)

The third one on the list is run by New York’s Buffalo University, one of the foremost universities in the US. The course focuses on Ethereum and how to code decentralised applications (dApps). As with Consensys’s course, it’s free to enroll but you’ll need to pay for additional elements. However, the nature of the content means it’s far more in-depth. Intermediate level knowledge of at least one high-level programming language is required, and you’ll need to commit to around four hours a week for four months.

This is a very popular course, and comes with a 4.6 star rating. You’ll be learning about smart contracts, of course, and how to build decentralised applications, but it goes beyond that by looking at the benefits of smart contracts, the basics of blockchain, and how to devise use cases and application models that leverage blockchain.

4. Blockchain A-Z™: Learn How To Build Your First Blockchain (Udemy)

This top course (4.6 stars) from Udemy actually teaches you how to build a blockchain – as well as delving into smart contracts and other key blockchain concepts. It’s a paid course, costing somewhere around $95, though discounts are sometimes available and the way courses are priced in local currencies means it can vary significantly from country to country.

The course requirements are low, so it’s suitable for beginners, though you’ll need some basic maths and Python for the practical component.

5. Blockchain Revolution Specialization (Coursera)

Offered by INSEAD and featuring Don Tapscott, a world-famous tech and business expert, this is a course for beginners that will give you a thorough grounding in blockchain, its industry use cases, and use cases and feasibility within your own area of interest. It will take you through the basics and terminology of blockchain and cryptocurrencies and, over the course of five months (at four hours per week), prepare you to identify real-world use cases in industry. Enrollment is again free, but you’ll need to pay for Certification.

If you’re uncertain where to begin, try out one of the free beginner courses. As you learn more, you’ll start to figure out what you’re interested in, where you might like to focus your studies, and the kind of career you plan to go for. Enjoy!