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Learn blockchain with online courses and programs 

When most people hear the term blockchain, they immediately think of Bitcoin. But the uses of blockchain extend beyond cryptocurrency to industries like real estate and media. Learn how blockchain is used with online courses delivered through edX.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a type of networking and data architecture, which means that blockchain is a specific type of configuration of computers and data. Blockchain refers to a database called a “ledger” that’s distributed between the communication points (nodes) of a network. Blockchain is also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT).Footnote 1

How does blockchain work? Like typical databases, a blockchain ledger stores information electronically in a digital format. Unlike typical databases, which collect data in tables, a blockchain ledger collects data in units with capacity limits. These units are known as blocks. Once the capacity limit of a block is reached, the block is closed and gets linked to the last block to have reached its capacity, creating a chain of blocks known as a blockchain. The process then repeats, growing the blockchain in both chronological and linear order. The entirety of the blockchain is updated on each node in the decentralized network.

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Why learn blockchain?

Examples of blockchain technology can be found in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, cryptocurrency, retail, energy production, artificial intelligence, and more. In these areas, blockchain technology provides transparency, security, and efficiency to systems where a lot of data needs to be stored, processed, and tracked.Footnote 2 As various industry insiders learn blockchain basics, examples of why blockchain is important have become more numerous, leading to blockchain developer jobs.

Blockchain course curriculum 

Why blockchain is the future becomes readily apparent when seeing blockchain’s many applications. However, curricula for blockchain online courses vary based on whether or not the goal is to learn about blockchain or to learn about blockchain programming.

A blockchain course for beginners will cover blockchain basics like how blockchain works and applications of blockchain. It's likely that learners will also study cryptocurrencies, identify problems that can be solved using blockchain technology developed by organizations like Hyperledger. 

The Hyperledger Foundation is an open source community dedicated to creating enterprise-grade blockchain technology.Footnote 3In programming, a platform is the software and/or hardware that serve as the foundation for application development (how the hardware and/or software are configured is known as the environment).Footnote 4 Enterprise-grade blockchain platforms are suitable for professional or academic uses (as opposed to consumer-grade blockchain technology, which is for personal use).Footnote 5

Online blockchain courses are one option for students who want to learn blockchain programming. Online blockchain tutorials can also help learners meet the requirements for blockchain developer jobs. 

Students in a blockchain developer course will likely have to know a few programming languages such as Java or JavaScript. Students may also learn a programming language specifically designed for blockchain development, such as Solidity, which is made to be used on the Ethereum platform. A blockchain development course may also include an overview of various blockchain platforms such as Ethereum, Corda, and Ripple. Alternatively, a block blockchain development tutorial may focus on the study of a singular blockchain platform and the specific programming language used for development on that platform. 

Blockchain developer jobs

A career in blockchain technology may begin after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in computer science, data science, or other relevant field. A coding, data science, or financial technology boot camp can also prepare learners for the field. Such programs provide a foundational knowledge with a focus on the languages needed for blockchain programming. Learners may earn a blockchain certificate by taking online blockchain training courses.

Blockchain developer jobs entail researching, designing, developing, implementing, and testing blockchain solutions for real world problems.Footnote 6 Depending on the size of the company, a blockchain developer may handle multiple responsibilities or work as part of a team of blockchain developers. 

Blockchain developer jobs can be worked remotely or in the office, for companies large and small, or even independently. Blockchain developer salary is likely to vary based on the location of the position, employee experience, and the size of the company. 

How to become a blockchain developer online

Both a bachelor's degree program focused on computer science and a master's in data science can be a route to a career in blockchain technology. A fintech boot camp can also be a way to learn about blockchain programming. 

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