Blockchain Technology Explained
Blockchain technology is a chain of blocks that contain information. Think of each block as a page in a ledger—or a record book. Anyone can view the distributed ledger since it is decentralized. Once data has been recorded into a blockchain, it becomes difficult to change. Some key aspects of blockchain include:
- It’s an open record to which various entities can contribute
- It’s a chain that shows cumulative transactions
- Its data is decentralized, meaning everyone can view and access the data
- It has a consensus mechanism which means multiple parties must agree on certain terms to add data to the blockchain
The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, stores the details about a transaction in each block including the sender, receiver, and the number of coins. The block also includes a unique hash—like a fingerprint—which identifies that specific block. Changes in the block will cause the hash to change. That way, changes in the block can be detected, and the block itself changes as well. The hash of the previous block is added to the new one which effectively creates a blockchain. Hashing and other mechanisms like proof-of-work (PoW) make blockchain secure and difficult to infiltrate.
Many industries are incorporating blockchain technology which means that new job openings are emerging.
Jobs Around Blockchain Technology with a Blockchain Certificate
Blockchain is already being incorporated in banking and finance, pharmaceutical, fashion, food, cybersecurity, supply chain, healthcare, government, and transportation industries. Acquiring a certification in blockchain gives you the upper hand in working with these industries to incorporate and execute disruptive technology. Some roles you can work in with a blockchain certificate include:
- Blockchain developer
- Blockchain solution architect
- Blockchain project manager
- Blockchain UX designer
- Blockchain web designer
- Blockchain quality engineer
- Blockchain legal consultant
- Blockchain copywriter
You can also apply your blockchain certification to other connected roles including:
- Public relations
- Crypto journalists
- Crypto brokers
- ICO advisors
Due to the high demand for disruptive technology in a vast array of industries, having a blockchain certification is greatly considered when seeking new job opportunities.
Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts
Cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that works on blockchain technology. It is designed to work as an online medium of exchange to buy goods and services and make payments. Since cryptocurrency is decentralized and free from third-party interferences, it is not issued and controlled by government or central authorities—unlike other payment systems handled by banks and governments. Thus, obtaining a blockchain certification leads to knowledge of cryptocurrency and how it is maneuvered within blockchain technology. Many tech companies value this knowledge when recruiting.
Smart contracts use distributed ledgers to store contracts. They are just like real-world contracts, but completely digital. Simply put, they are tiny computer programs stored in blockchains that automatically control the transfer of digital assets between parties under specific conditions. Smart contracts are coded, so they act exactly as they are told to by their creators. Smart contracts are:
- Immutable: Smart contracts cannot be changed once deployed. They can be removed if the functionality is previously implemented
- Autonomous: Since there is no third party, the contract is shared between its creator and the parties
- Self-enforcing: The smart contract facilitates the movement of assets between parties seamlessly
- Transparent: Remember, blockchain is transparent. That means it is stored in a publicly stored ledger
- Distributed: All parties have a copy of the smart contract along with its conditions and they cannot be changed by any of the parties
As complex as smart contracts seem, knowing how they work and how to integrate them into businesses certainly stands out to recruiters.
How to Incorporate Blockchain into Your Business
Developing blockchain technology in your business takes careful planning and execution. If possible, hiring a chief digital officer (CDO) can guide you on how to implement disruptive technologies into your business including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), internet of things (Io (IoT), the cloud, and cybersecurity. In doing so, you will equip your business with the proper tools to help facilitate operations and collect appropriate data.
Whether it’s incorporating cryptocurrencies or smart contracts, eventually many businesses will need to adapt to disruptive technologies. So, the answer to the question “What can you do with a blockchain certification?” has an easy answer: a lot. Obtaining a certification in blockchain can help you accelerate your career or help transform and grow your business.
Blockchain: Disruptive Technology at MIT Professional Education
MIT Professional Education equips you with the necessary tools to boost your career or your enterprise. Our online, 8-week Blockchain: Disruptive Technology course teaches you the fundamentals of blockchain technology so you can begin transforming your career or business. In the course, you will:
- Understand the historical, technological, and commercial reasons that have led to the birth of blockchain.</li
- Analyze the impact of blockchain in all industries and, of course, in your own business environment.
- Master the fundamentals of blockchain technology including distributed ledgers, blockchains, encryption, PKIs, hashing, and consensus mechanisms: proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS).
- Learn about the blockchain Ethereum network and its potential applications.
- Become familiar with the growing range of blockchain applications, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and digital signatures.
- Learn about cryptocurrencies, their strengths, and weaknesses in the digital era, and how they will revolutionize e-commerce, finance, and even legislation in many countries.
- Become aware of the shortcomings of previous web platforms with respect to accessibility, monopolies, privacy, censorship, transparency, and integrity, and how blockchain promises to solve these problems.
- Become the driving force behind blockchain technology in your organization.
The instructors of the course, Dr. Abel Sanchez and Prof. John. R. Williams are industry leaders in tech and cover all aspects of blockchain technology. Visit MIT Professional Education’s webpage to learn more about our programs to help you boost your career or grow your business.