Blockchain Jobs 6 items
Suggested: From upskilling to outsourcing: How CTOs can introduce blockchain to the enterprise (
Information Age's guide on how to introduce blockchain to your enterprise in the face of the digital skills crisis. Looking at everything, from upskilling schemes and outsourcing to how CTOs can impact change in relation to how universities shape their degrees

With the proliferation of blockchain initiatives comes a unique need for a diverse range of skills, including engineering, app development, cyber security, and decentralised governance, to name just a few. All this makes for a criterion that is hard to meet.

Beyond all the marketing and sales hype, blockchain has managed to establish itself as a realistic disrupter in the tech space, particularly for its potential ability to transform traditional business channels, supply chains and communications.Industry titans like Mastercard, IBM, British Airways and Samsung are just some of the organisations currently spearheading blockchain initiatives, and at the same time, blockchain-based start-ups are increasing at an agile rate.

Between them, what they each hope to get out of their blockchain projects differs significantly. However, whatever their end-goal may be, they will all face similar roadblocks along the way.In this guide, I’m going to talk about some of the ways CTOs can overcome some of these hurdles.

However, instead of focusing on the limitations of the technology itself, I want to focus on one of the less talked about challenges facing CTOs and their utilisation of blockchain: finding the talent to use it.

The talent shortage in blockchain

The skills shortage relating to blockchain has become a real pain for IT leaders who desperately want to experiment with it.Of course, the lack of talent is not exclusive to blockchain, CTOs looking to incorporate things like; AI, machine learning or big data, I’m sure, know this only too well.

>See also: Closing the skills gap: Developing the next generation of STEM talent

However, with the proliferation of blockchain initiatives comes a unique need for a diverse range of skills, including engineering, app development, cyber security and decentralised governance, to name just a few. All this makes for a criterion that is hard to meet.

Overall, the estimated global revenue for enterprise blockchain applications is expected to rise to $19.9 billion by 2025 from $2.5 billion last year.

>See also: Key employer challenges for 2018 amid the digital skills crisis

According to a study by Burning Glass Technologies, blockchain-related job postings increased more than 100% between 2016 and 2017.
However, the harsh reality is that organisations can’t find the talent they need, this is why CTOs need to think outside the box to make their blockchain projects succeed. 


Figure 1 – Blockchain Adoption, Worldwide. Source: Gartner (May 2018)


If something is hard to obtain in-house, one logical option is to look for external help.In the last few years, a number of blockchain based consultancies and outsourcing services have popped up.

>See also: Business process as a service can deliver improved performance too

It looks like a booming market, and it’s an option that a lot of organisations are vying for. As such, there is a lot to choose from, with major organisations like Amazon, Oracle and Baidu all offering blockchain services.

For CTOs trying to weigh the pros and cons of each of these providers – and if the wisdom of the crowd means anything – a recent study by the consultancy firm, Juniper Research, may be worth looking at. They surveyed close to 400 company founders, executives, managers and IT leaders, and identified IBM, Microsoft and Accenture as clear leaders in blockchain solutions.

In 2017, the consultancy also found that 60% of tech executives and leaders named IBM as the market leader.

>See also: SaaS, Paas, XaaS, and more: looking behind the acronyms

Of course, these consultancies are all different and depending on your organisation; some may be better suited to your needs.Here is a list of some popular blockchain-as-service (BaaS) providers to have a look at:

Blockchain-related freelance network

Another option is to tap into the freelance market. Although, in this market, there is a lot of demand.Upwork, the freelance jobs site, recently stated that they had more than 1,200 blockchain openings, half of which were technical positions.

>See also: Why we will soon be paying our freelancers in cryptocurrencies

According to their report, the second most desired skill among employers in the third quarter of 2017 was blockchain development. 
With such demand, it can also be an expensive choice as, naturally, their salaries will be inflated.

>See also: Rise of the IT freelancer
According to CNBC, the hourly pay rate ranges from $50 to more than $200 in the US. However, high hourly pay rates may be worth it, especially when you take into account how quickly the technology is becoming a valuable part of tech.If you are interested in learning more about how to access the freelance market, I’ve put together a list of some of some popular blockchain-related freelance hiring platforms.

  • Dream – This is a marketplace for high-end blockchain talent and has already handled thousands of projects collectively worth over $8m.

New-collar workers

Given how blockchain is an emerging technology, it is somewhat self-evident why relevant skills are hard to source. However, despite the complexity of blockchain, depending on what an organisation wants from this type of technology, you may not necessarily need people with degrees from the top universities.

Sometimes all that is required is a little bit of training.

>See also: Prioritising skills in the digital age

Jobs of this sort of often referred to as “new-collar careers”. A new-collar worker is an employee who develops the core soft skills required to fulfil a role through means outside of traditional education.

The term was coined by IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, in relation to “middle-skill” occupations in technology, such as cyber security analysts, application developers and cloud computing specialists.

According to Rometty, speaking on CNBC: “For the future, there are many jobs that can be done without a four-year degree. In some of our centres in the United States around a third of our folks don’t have four-year degrees.”

>See also: Should IT recruit attitude rather than skills?

I think this sounds like an interesting option for very evident reasons, in that as the IT industry continues to evolve, it is critical to bring in young and diverse talent.

However, if you are going to open your company to “new-collar workers”, it is vital that you put in place a structure that will help them upskill and give them opportunities to contribute in fields like blockchain.

In-house training schemes

Some companies, like IBM, have taken this into account with their blockchain projects, and perhaps their strategies can be an example for all CTOs.IBM, who is recognised as a leading blockchain vendor, have used an in-house training scheme to attract and retain talent.

The company also has an internal blockchain community boasting more than 5,000 active members.

>See also: Breaking down training barriers with technology

An interesting part of this initiative is how it offers certificates, so employees can then display their skills on their resumes or LinkedIn profiles.
I think this is an important feature which not only encourages participation by way of offering recognition; it also helps IBM understand the type of skills they have.

>See also: 5 benefits of using webinars to train new employees

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK employers are spending less on training than other major EU economies.

Although this statistic doesn’t relate solely to blockchain, it does point to a basic attitude problem when we think about the skills gap.CTOs should look into how they can upskill their existing staff. This means they should consider educational platforms that can help, and they should remember that education doesn’t end in the classroom.

Make blockchain open

While universities across the world create thousands of courses, fustratingly, graduates still struggle to link their degrees to careers. For example, in the UK 11.7% of computer science graduates spend six months unemployed after completing their degrees, despite the huge demand for them. I think this points to a good reason for why CTOs and recruiters need to rethink how they currently engage with educational institutes.

Hope may be on the horizon with the recent launch of the Institute of Coding. With funding from the UK Government’s Higher Education Funding Council for England and elsewhere, the IoC, led by the University of Bath, aims to bring together a consortium of more than 60 universities, national and international corporations, SMEs, industry groups and experts in non-traditional learning professional bodies to bridge the divide.
Information Age recently spoke with their director, Dr Rachid Hourizi, who explained how CTO’s can work with them to develop the type of teams they need

He said: “We are keen to develop new courses, so if you’re a CTO of a company and you just can’t get the kind of educated staff you need, or there are soft skills that are not being developed, we are enthusiastic to hear about how we can help.”

>See also: Interview with Dr Rachid Hourizi, Director of the Institute of Coding
In relation to blockchain, I also spoke with Professor John Domingue, Director of the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University, who is currently working with IoC to better link blockchain education to the needs of industries.

He said: “With the IoC, we are developing courses that can bridge the demand from the workplace. We will introduce new blockchain courses in an agile and flexible manner, that means having people being able to learn while at work.”

>See also: Open University unveils FutureLearn MOOC platform
“With the IoC we are also designing a new accreditation framework in-line with industry, this will be a way of mapping skills in a fine grain manner in key areas of blockchain, and other channels, like AI and cyber security. We then take this framework and we map it so students will have a life-long accredited learning record.

One can then link this record with jobs that may be available.”“Connected to that, some of our partners at the IoC and IBM are developing an automated career coach which we want to help link a students course to a career.”

“We at the Open University have been speaking with Reed and I think it signals to a future where learning will be more linked to the workplace.”
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    Francisco Gimeno - BC Analyst The 4IR is bringing changes everywhere and this is seen on the FinTech and blockchain sector too. While "diplomas" or "certificates" from institutions which are behind the times are needed yet, new jobs and positions need new ideas from CTOs and HR on how and who hiring, and in which conditions. New skilled young people are running from tradicional works, and tradicional ways. They develop skills out from the tradicional certification network and want more liquid relationships with companies. Learning will be ongoing and linked to work and the digital sphere.