In this article, we explore a list of cryptocurrency and blockchain qualifications, from free online courses to university degrees.
Don’t know what blockchain or cryptocurrencies are? Read our helpful guide.
The digital currency market is quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest industries, despite being a relatively new concept. As a result of it’s accelerated growth, education in the field has struggled to keep up with demand. The vast majority of blockchain startups fail in their early stages and even many well-established experts in the field can’t seem to agree on certain principles of the technology.
No matter how much or how little you know about the tech, there are blockchain qualifications out there to suit your needs.
Free blockchain qualifications
A good place to start if you’re new to the industry is a free introductory course. These courses even offer a ‘qualification’ of sorts if you complete them successfully.
IBM – Blockchain Essentials
Time: 2 hours
This quick and easy introductory course can be completed online in just two hours. The course covers how blockchain can be leveraged to solve the challenges that businesses face regarding transactions and processes. It explains how distributed ledger systems can be integrated into a business environment and how transactions are processed on a blockchain.
For businesses that are considering introducing blockchain solutions to their workplace, this is an excellent resource to educate admin and managerial staff alike. On completion of the study material, users can do an online quiz and receive an IBM badge.
This is a blockchain only course and doesn’t cover any information regarding bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
The University of Nicosia – Introduction to Digital Currencies
Time: 3 months
This excellent course offered by the University of Nicosia is taught by well-established Bitcoin experts Andreas Antonopoulos and Antonis Polemitis. It serves as an entry level course to the universities blockchain and cryptocurrency degree, MSc in Digital Currencies.
The course features online material that provides an overview of all aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrencies – including theory, practical, finance and development. It’s completed online over a three month period and involves weekly live lectures and interactive forums.
No previous knowledge is needed but even those are have been involved in the industry for a long time might find something in this course they didn’t know. On completion of the course, you will receive credit towards studying the full MSc degree.
Paid blockchain qualifications
For something a bit more marketable there are a number of paid online blockchain qualifications that award the successful student a well-recognized certification.
Blockchain Council – Certified Blockchain Expert (CBE)
Time: 2-3 hours
This course claims to offer ‘exhaustive training’ in the blockchain space, although considering it also says it can be done in 2-3 hours makes me wonder how much depth it goes into. However, reviews on the course seem positive and it does award you with a certificate as a Certified Blockchain Expert on completion of the one-hour exam. How well recognized the certificate is remains to be seen.
If you’re short on time though and want to add something blockchain-related to your CV, this could be a good option. A basic knowledge of computer science and cryptocurrency awareness is a requirement.
University at Buffalo – Blockchain Specialization Certificate
Time: 4-6 months
Cost: USD39 per month (Coursera Membership)
This certificate in Blockchain Specialization is offered by the University at Buffalo and can be completed through the Coursera online platform. It covers Blockchain Basics, Smart Contracts, DApps and Blockchain Platforms. Each section is assigned four weeks to complete with three and a half hours per week of work, although I imagine this could be done much quicker if you have more spare time.
The courses can also be done individually and separate individual certificates in each area are offered. There are on average four to eight videos, three readings and three quizzes per week with every course.
IBM – Blockchain 101 Kick Starter
This IBM course is more of a practical online business building platform. It teaches candidates how to kick-start a blockchain network of their own using the open-source Hyperledger Fabric framework. It covers business blockchain concepts, distributed ledger technology, and the IBM blockchain platform.
Users will learn to develop applications before growing an idea and eventually deploying a blockchain. For anyone wanting to launch the next big ICO, this could be the course for you.
IBM – Blockchain Developers Certification
Time: 6 weeks
Cost: USD78 (USD39 per month for Coursera Membership)
This course is focused towards established software developers who want to learn to blockchain architecture and development. It covers the basics of blockchain technology before delving into high-level concepts such as modeling and building blockchain networks and applications.
Princeton University – Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
Time: 11 weeks
Cost: USD117 (USD39 per month for Coursera Membership)
This online course focuses specifically on bitcoin, altcoins, mining, and regulation. It features on average five videos a week exploring how Bitcoin works, what makes it different, the truth behind anonymity and cryptocurrency security and regulation. The course claims that on completion the student will understand the conceptual foundations needed to engineer secure software on a Bitcoin network and integrate ideas into your own projects.
Blockchain University, California – Various Courses
The Blockchain University in Californa was started in 2014 by a group of cryptocurrency experts. It offers a number of options from one-week intensive courses to longer eight-week courses focusing on the bitcoin protocol, P2P transactions, smart contracts and blockchain technologies. They also run a Blockchain Hackathon once a year with prizes for best project.
The University of Nicosia – MSc in Digital Currencies
Time: 12 – 18 months
Cost: USD14,132 (12,080 Euro)
This online, distance-learning masters degree course from the University of Nicosia covers three semesters of twelve weeks each. The incredibly in-depth coursework covers everything from cryptography to banking to the politics of disruptive technology. Each semester involves 30 courses and a thesis is required to be completed at the end along with the additional option to do a project.
As far as I’m aware there are no other blockchain qualifications that amount to a full university degree, making this the highest level of blockchain education you can achieve at present.
Paul Jones, who completed the course in 2016, had this to say of it:
“With their world-renowned MOOC and graduate programs in this cutting-edge field, the University of Nicosia is blazing a trail for future FinTech business leaders.”
This article is provided for information purposes only. The author is not affiliated in any way with the institutions mentioned.
Mark Hartley is an IT specialist, freelance writer, keen traveler, and blockchain enthusiast. He has worked on the trading floors of the world’s biggest interdealer broker in London and helped integrate crypto-services into IT trading systems. When he’s not searching for the world’s most beautiful beach, he’s nose deep in any crypto and blockchain related news.