The blockchain skills-gap

In October 2015 the UK charity Go.On UK announced that the UK was below average when it came to digital skills and that over 12 million people and 1 million businesses would not prosper in the digital era. This was earlier echoed by 70% of chief executives in the financial services sector who named technology as the ‘most significant challenge for banking, insurance and asset management executives.’

 

 

This is a situation that will become ever more real in one area that we would least expect it - the developer and computer programmer space, and those who support it.

In 2012, the New York Times award-winning economist Adam Davidson wrote “the skills gap isn't a narrow problem facing the manufacturing industry. The so-called skills gap is really a gap in education, and that affects all of us.” Despite his focus being on the manufacturing industry, his argument is relevant to all industries facing skills shortages and no more so than those that are new and fast moving.

To appreciate the impact that blockchain technology is expected to have just consider the following statement from the World Economic Forum; ‘10% of global GDP may be stored with blockchain technology by 2027’. That is only eleven years away!

In the last year or so, those driving the blockchain buzz have begun to look beyond the cryptocurrency applications and towards the ancillary services that can benefit from blockchain solutions.

Many companies (Coinsilium included) have groundbreaking projects in the pipeline, that will not only demonstrate what blockchain is truly capable of, but how innovative it can be. But in order to drive these forward, we need the right people to help us.

According to Capgemini, there is a major bitcoin/blockchain developer shortage; ‘This skills shortage is creating a ‘war for talent’, where companies have to compete for the best talent with new categories of players.’

This is why we hosted our Blockchain Tech Lab earlier this year. We thought it was time the leaders in blockchain technology education (i.e. us) got involved and gave coders and software developers access to (and teaching from) the blockchain experts. Through both theory and practical, attendees were guided towards building their very own proof-of-concept.

The Lab was followed by a two-day blockathon that gave Lab attendees the chance to show off their newly-learnt skills. We had a number of innovations come out of the week, which you can read about here. 

During the Lab, we were lucky enough to play host to several experts in the blockchain application arena (see here for more details). Topics covered ranged from the building sidechains through to delivering better governance using blockchain technology.

Included in our range of expert speakers we were pleased to invite three of our very own investee companies; Factom, Rootstock and Rivetz.

The response to the Blockchain Tech Lab was great, with some good coverage, and we’re looking forward to hosting more, with partners, in the coming months.

Blockchain’s right-hand (wo)man

Those looking at the bitcoin and blockchain ecosystem are not only examining those companies building and offering blockchain related products but also able to support those businesses. In a study carried out a year ago, William Mougayar recorded the existence of 425 blockchain and bitcoin related companies. 9.5% of these were ancillary services such as marketing and media.

Like in any major industry, specialist ancillary services are required. For example, in shipping there is the International Maritime Law Institute. I suspect it won’t be long before we have major law firms popping up supporting businesses working with blockchain technology. There has never been more of a demand for it as start-ups navigate the choppy waters of incorporation, regulation and banking rules.

The demand for ancillary services is precisely why we launched our Bitcoin, Blockchain and Beyond CPD course, last year. For many in the City ‘CPD’ will be a much dreaded term that gets darker towards the end of each year and the scramble to meet the points criteria begins. However our course has been met with positivity given how refreshing the material and teaching style is.

'This course shone a light on the range of use cases for Blockchain technology, enhancing the scope for creative legal thinking to help deliver them’ is just one quote from a lawyer who attended. We’ve also had accountants, fund managers and even a cameraman attend, so broad is the scope of blockchain.

The course covers the basics of both bitcoin and blockchain. Many ask why you need the bitcoin basics, but believe us - they’re important! Check out the course schedule here.

We’re hosting a special edition of our CPD course as part of London Technology Week. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch!