Aust students to study blockchain course

Luke Costin
(Australian Associated Press)


Bitcoin’s price has crashed but Australian companies’ desire for blockchain developers hasn’t.

Hundreds of Australian job listings online demand blockchain experience, leading RMIT to launch a new online programming short course on Tuesday that will teach students to build their own applications.

Executives will also be able to get in on the action with a second course centred on explaining what is possible on blockchain beyond cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Blockchain, which is a decentralised list of records securely verified by multiple computers, can be used to execute insurance contracts or certify the origin of diamonds.

RMIT Online said it had found most people were aware of blockchain but few knew what to make of it and needed to be empowered with the knowledge to do so.

The university’s only other blockchain course was launched in March and sold out within 48 hours.

“It’s just got this energy about it,” chief executive Helen Souness told AAP.

“One of our partners said to me blockchain is to data what internet was to networks in the ’90s.

“We know there is huge demand for these skills – Accenture is hiring literally hundreds of blockchain architects.”

A Deloitte survey of 1000 executives released in July suggested blockchain was of a strategic priority for 72 per cent of companies with an annual revenue of more than $US500 million.

Fintech Australia board member Alan Tsen says all industries are now trying to create applications from speeding up existing supply chain to using tokens to validate news stories.

“Australia is facing a skills shortage of people trained up in both the strategic understanding of blockchain, as well as the technical application and build of platforms,” he told AAP.

He says in the long-term, blockchain could flip the data market model that Facebook and Google uses and offer a way for people to identify themselves on multiple websites.

“What if you had a portable identity and could move this from platform to platform?” he told AAP.

The first of the RMIT Online courses – Designing Blockchain Solutions – commences on October 8.

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