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Europe’s first school of Blockchain just opened

It took a while

If you want to find a job and make mega-bucks, become a Blockchain engineer. Apparently, demand for people who understand what blockchain actually is is sky high, because funnily enough there aren’t that many of them.

The University of Edinburgh just launched Europe’s first dedicated course teaching people how to work on Blockchain. They're following in the footsteps of Stanford and MIT who are already teaching similar courses in the US, and Berkeley has one in the works too. Short courses that teach people already working in similar fields (like programming) how to move into working with Blockchain are already fairly common, but there's been a bit of a delay in mainstream education embracing the new technology until now.

Universities move a lot slower than the internet. And until now, only a few of them seem to have clocked just how much companies need students educated in this stuff, given how quickly it’s spreading. But that's probably got something to do with the fact lots of companies didn’t realize it either – a lot of the financial world was initially hesitant to embrace the technology, but they're now coming to terms with the fact that it looks like it's the future. 

The financial world is finally clocking on to Blockchain

Big firms had steered away from embracing Blockchain until pretty recently. They were worried about financial risks, and putting the security of their data online under threat.

But according to a report by the Financial Times, companies are starting to realize that having a specialist team working on the tech underpinning online currencies (Blockchain) could give them access to a whole load of useful information on, for example, how money is being spent online, and improve the way they can process that information. In other words, they've got over the fact that it's new and scary, and are starting to realize how useful it could be.

One expert told the 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.”

So Blockchain engineers are suddenly reeeeally in demand

Blockchain has been around for years. And now the business world has finally caught on, the amount of job openings for people who can work in it has exploded. Ads for blockchain engineers have tripled on LinkedIn in the past year – in just one week in June over 1,000 ads for Blockchain-related roles went out.

But there just isn’t the talent (or just people who know WTF they’re doing) to fill those jobs. In other words, demand is outstripping supply, and because businesses really want to show they’re on the ball with the whole blockchain thing, they’re willing to pay $$$ – according to the FT report, good blockchain engineers can earn up to $250,000 a year.

And it's part of a bigger digital 'skills gap'

The skills companies are going to need in the future are pretty much unrecognizable from those in demand, say, ten years ago – and the education system has been pretty slow to adapt. A US government report warned that by 2020 one million jobs in computing would go unfilled.

Currently two thirds of software developers are self-taught – the only reason they've got the skills to do the jobs that our pretty vital to the economy (just think of how much stuff is online now) is because they took the initiative to learn it themselves, and because of all that time sat in their bedrooms ignoring their parents nagging them to get off the computer.

Making sure the education system is producing people with the right skills to do the jobs that will be needed in the future is a big issue for governments. In both the UK and the US, things like coding are being introduced to some schools to try and get kids thinking about industries likely to grow in the future at a young age.

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