Jul 17, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The higher education sector is constantly maneuvering to keep up with preparing students with the skills they need to enter the workforce upon graduation. The latest field being added to college curricula? Blockchain. Recent articles in both Financial Times and Nasdaq.com highlight a movement by universities to train more students in this area in order to meet skyrocketing demand. Here’s a closer look.

All Data Points to Demand

Blockchain-related jobs have tripled over the past year, according to LinkedIn data as reported by Nasdaq. Experts say that demand for workers with expertise in this technology -- which facilitates the anonymous exchange of digital assets, such as bitcoin -- is originating from all sectors. As Michael Mainelli, co-founder of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm Z/Yen, told FT, “It is a hot market at the moment because most of the large corporates want to be able to say they have a blockchain team.”

Of course, with this demand comes shortages -- along with the promise of high salaries aimed at wooing talent. IBM’s VP of blockchain technologies Jerry Cuomo added, “Demand is exceeding supply, so we are seeing shortages. It is up there with the cloud and artificial intelligence as a really hot area.”

Universities Catching Up

But the opportunities aren’t just limited to blockchain experts. LinkedIn’s Josh Graff told FT, “Professionals in related areas such as cryptography and machine learning may want to look at the roles available and the skills they need to develop, as there is certainly a growing demand within the technology, finance and insurance industries for blockchain expertise.”

It follows that universities are responding by introducing more cryptocurrency technologies coursework. Concludes Nasdaq, “The rise in blockchain related courses both online and in leading educational institutions is a testament to growing confidence in the technology's ability to disrupt industry in the future.”

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the blockchain boom: It’s not the exclusive domain of geniuses. Continued Mainelli, “This technology is not that complicated. If you are a coder who knows about cryptography then it is pretty simple.”

Read more about technology studies.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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