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Learn Blockchain | Secure Your Future

By BussTechno | BussTechno | 5 Aug 2021


I have been working in or adjacent to IT (Information Technology) for over 20 years since my first help desk job during college.  Yes, for those that can count, that makes me a 40-something year old man-child.  During this generation we witnessed technology introduce an ever evolving landscape of ideas and innovation that transformed every facet of global economic, social, and cultural frameworks.  Streaming video killed the Video Store, internet commerce demolished brick & mortar retail, social media transformed how we interact with others, and megalithic technology and media companies curate your information.  Historically new technology has both created and destroyed entire career fields and market sectors.  Blockchain tech will soon take up the mantle to revolutionize our world and the way we store, use, and interact with data- rendering previous methods obsolete. 

This article is not intended to shill a specific blockchain, coding language, token or coin.  Instead it will offer some unsolicited advice and take a look at learning resources available to stay on the forefront of emerging technology.  If you understandably only came to see where to find blockchain learning opportunities, not caring what some internet bro thinks- then just peruse to the bottom and click-y the shiny link-y.

1. Understanding WHY Blockchain is the Future

Blockchain has many advantages over traditional networks.  It is innovative, borderless, immutable, inherently secure, trustless, affordable, and transparent. Centralized systems are governed by their institutional owners where as decentralized blockchain is governed by the network participants. 

Borderless - blockchains operate globally and are immune to local or territorial policies. They will continue to function regardless of issues such as isolated power loss or restrictive laws.   

Immutable - The data cannot be altered as it has been cryptographically hashed and validated by multiple participants in the network.

Transparent - in public blockchains all transactions can be viewed by anyone.

Inherent Security - blockchains gain their security from the validators/nodes within their network.  Each transaction is checked for accuracy by multiple nodes ensuring correct data is being transmitted and written.  It also uses cryptography to protect against malicious attempts to alter data by adding a unique cryptographic fingerprint, or hash, to each block.

Affordable - it can massively reduce transaction costs by removing intermediaries (such as banks and financial institutions).  Additionally, resources can be decentralized and shared.  Many blockchains are open source as well so development costs can be drastically reduced.

Trustless - "A trustless system means that the participants involved do not need to know or trust each other or a third party for the system to function. In a trustless environment, there is no single entity that has authority over the system, and consensus is achieved without participants having to know or trust anything but the system itself." (Tacoglu)

Innovative- Probably one of the most important creations is the development of smart contracts. They can provide a faster, cheaper, and more secure automated alternative to traditional contracts.  Blockchain has also shown ingenuity in supply chain and logistics management.  It is also well on its way to revolutionize identity management.

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2.  Adapt & Learn, or Go Away

Change is the only consistency in the IT realm; constant learning and adaptation to future technology is key for a middle aged self proclaimed 'Technologist' such as myself.  Initially I specialized in networking but moved over to IT Security & Management as my career progressed, however with blockchain networks standing on the precipice of adoption I find myself once again wanting to add to my skill set.  In IT you must continually learn and expand your trade or you are left behind as the average life cycle of software & hardware technologies diminish year over year.

This is especially true for blockchain as innovation occurs at neck-breaking speed.  Consider that the Bitcoin blockchain was only developed in late 2008 and the exponential growth of the sector since that time.  We have seen the introduction of smart contracts, proof of stake, scaling and sharding, DeFi, supply chain management, identity management, along with thousands of other use cases and evolution.

3. Determine Your interest, but Keep a Broad Skill Set

For blockchain you should have an understanding of cryptography, interoperability, blockchain architecture, standards, security, smart contracts, data structures, business drivers and expected outcomes. (Lichtigstein)

It is normal to be focused in a specific technological area, especially when first starting out, but you must have a general understanding of how systems work & interoperate.  Specialized technical certifications may get your foot in some doors but, coming from someone who has been responsible for hiring people, general knowledge and the ability to learn is a much more important quality in a job candidate than their ability to take a cert test.  I look for someone who is trainable to perform the function the job requires. 

You should also brush up on those interpersonal & interview skills.  If you happen to create the next Ethereum it helps to be able to speak eloquently in public or to media without coming across as a robot [Mark Zuckerberg] or as if you just emerged from your mom's basement with your neck beard in tow.  But more realistically, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, US citizens change their jobs every 4.15 years on average.  "Because job changes are frequent, it's more important than ever before for workers to be experts at job searching and networking. The successful worker is one who is up to date on trends in their industry, as well as practiced at interviewing and connecting with potential employers. Upgrading employment status has become an ongoing process, rather than something done once or twice during a career." (Doyle)

4. Build Your Foundation

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If you have never coded perhaps begin with a widely used and easier-to-learn language such as C, Python, or Java.  This will give you the foundational knowledge to understand programming and to more easily learn languages such as Solidity.  Do you have to learn a language before diving into blockchain specific coding?  Of course not, but building on a common language expands your marketability, ease of learning, and ability to introduce new concepts and syntax.  It also creates the possibility of working on interoperability and blockchain-adjacent projects.  There are a ton of free sites that will teach you coding, so I am not going to do your internet search for you on this one.

I may age myself again here, but the first programming language I learned was COBOL...a "dead" language.  If you have never used COBOL it is extremely verbose, still used in legacy & federal financial systems for transaction and batch processing, and extremely cumbersome. From COBOL I learned the basics of programming, how to flowchart, and build out my idea/program logically before I ever even opened a terminal.  From there it was HTML, Visual Basic, C#, and whatever else was necessary from thereon, but from each language I was able to expand my ability and understanding.  If you hate yourself (jk) you can learn COBOL for free here.

If you are more hardware savvy and don't care about coding there are opportunities to start building your knowledge base elsewhere.  You can look around on this website for mining or hobbyist ideas such as @ChildOfTheMany's recent article on Duino Coin.  Or simply go to YouTube and make a search related to your interest; there are hundreds of thousands of tutorials on YT covering most any topic.  

If you are a network nerd like me then learn Cisco IOS, Brocade, Juniper, IBM, or [insert your favorite here] and their related hardware (training links embedded).  Generally the training is free because these companies have a vested interest in keeping their brands relevant and operable.

Blockchain Learning Opportunities

Now for what you really came for:

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all of the blockchain learning opportunities that are available to someone interested.  Spend a bit of time, try to find additional options, and share your favorite sites in the comments below.

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The future is blockchain technology.  Do your future self a favor and add to your skill set now.  Mass adoption is here and the supply shortage of qualified personnel will only continue to grow over the next decade.  As always, thank you for reading and have a great weekend!

 

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BussTechno
BussTechno

Technologist, libertarian, and jpegs


BussTechno
BussTechno

I write about Technology, Crypto, and JPEGs. If I write about it and own a position- I will disclose it. *For entertainment only*

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