Blockchain has been one of the most talked-about tech trends of the last few years. While you're probably aware that blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrency, what you might not be aware of is its many other real-world applications in everything from agriculture to real estate. And while there are certainly roles that require technical skills in the industry, there's also a growing demand for blockchain-literate professionals in non-technical roles such as operations and project management. Find out how you can get the cutting-edge training needed to secure a job in one of Australia’s fastest-growing industries.
What is blockchain?
If your eyes start to glaze over at the mere mention of blockchain technology, you're not alone. But the good news is you don't have to be a developer to understand the principles behind blockchain and what it can be used for.
So what exactly is blockchain? A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, immutable, digital ledger consisting of records (called blocks) that's used to record transactions across many computers on a peer-to-peer network. If that all sounds a bit confusing, all you really need to know is that a blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult to change, hack, or cheat the system.
The way the blockchain system is set up means the data is incredibly reliable, transparent, traceable, and virtually unhackable. The importance of these qualities becomes apparent when you see some real-world examples of where blockchain technology is already being applied.
The first real-world application of Blockchain technology was cryptocurrency but its applications are being expanded every day. In fact, the adoption of blockchain technology is growing at an exponential rate with the technology already being used in areas including patient health data, wills and inheritances, digital voting, and copyright just to name a few.
Supply chain management
Blockchain can enable more transparent and accurate end-to-end tracking in the supply chain. For example, the ability to trace food products from paddock to plate to increase food safety and give a quick and accurate avenue for any contaminant or disease tracing.
Another real-world example is in the real estate industry where blockchain technology can be used to create smart contracts to facilitate the exchange of money, shares or property. By automating the process and removing the need for middle men this approach can increase efficiency and remove the possibility of human error or miscommunication.
Career options in blockchain
Unlike other IT careers, the blockchain field requires more than just people with IT, software or technical skills. While software engineers and developers with expertise in various programming languages are required to implement and support blockchain applications, non-tech people are also needed to handle other business operations that are vital to deriving value from blockchain investments.
In fact, there's a growing need for a range of non-technical roles in the industry. For example, there's currently high demand for blockchain project managers who can liaise between stakeholders and blockchain developers to translate business requirements. Essentially, these professionals are in charge of the entire lifecycle of a blockchain project — from planning and supervision to execution and deployment. Applicants for these roles must be blockchain-literate and possess at least a high-level understanding of the blockchain framework and the various ways it can be applied to solve business problems.
How can you get your start in blockchain?
Just like any other industry, having the right training is essential to helping you land your first role working with blockchain. While it's still a new and rapidly-developing field, there are courses available that have been specifically designed to meet current and future training needs for the industry.
TAFE Queensland, in partnership with leading blockchain education body the Blockchain Collective, offers blockchain qualifications targeted towards non-tech roles in the industry. The Diploma of Applied Blockchain (10849NAT) has been designed to prepare graduates to enter blockchain management and operational roles within a range of organisations. While the Advanced Diploma of Applied Blockchain (10747NAT) is designed for experienced managers with an understanding of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies who want to apply blockchain frameworks to new and legacy business structures.
These courses will give you an understanding of how to implement disruptive business systems that enable the application of blockchain technologies, and implement new business models that incorporate blockchain technologies to create value, efficiencies and new opportunities. Graduates will have the skills required to successfully develop and oversee blockchain teams in a number of different industries and applications.