scrabble letters on a white background that spell out “blockchain”

How to Learn Blockchain: Real-World Applications and Online Blockchain Courses

If you want to learn blockchain fundamentals, then taking a blockchain course is a good place to start. Essentially, a blockchain puts information together into blocks, similar to a database. Once a block is full of information, it links to the next block, creating a data chain. 

This exciting and relatively new technology is now being implemented in areas outside of just cryptocurrencies. Businesses like FedEx, Walmart, and Mastercard are also using it to track transactions and inventory.

What Is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a database. However, the structure of a regular database is much different from that of a blockchain. A database is usually formatted as a table to allow for information to be easily accessed. In blockchain, data is stored in blocks that are linked together, which has some major perks. 

This chained data storage style means there is an irreversible timeline of data. Think of it as a timestamp for when a transaction occurred. Blockchain validates transactions by accessing information from the previous block.

Blockchain was a revolutionary idea picked up by the founder of Bitcoin because it makes it very difficult to tamper with data. This is due to a hash system that records each block in a chain, and the fact that it is shared on a peer-to-peer network, which means the data is not sent to outside servers. This combination of recording transactions in blocks, then verifying the blocks, makes hacking a blockchain almost impossible.

What Jobs Use Blockchain Skills?

Lately, there has been an increase in the number of jobs that use blockchain skills. Today, you can even find blockchain technology used by supply chain managers and data scientists. The three jobs we have listed below, however, are those that require expert blockchain knowledge for creating or supporting blockchains.

  • Blockchain developer. A developer is responsible for optimizing a blockchain, building architecture for private or public blockchains, and researching and creating applications. To work in this role, you will need to know how to program with JavaScript, C++, Java, and Python.

  • Blockchain engineer. These software engineers analyze the technical needs of an organization, then build applications using blocks and chains to meet those needs. They develop accelerators and assets to assess the organization’s tech infrastructure. Blockchain engineers typically work for data firms or in consulting technology firms and have skills in Ripple, Java, Hyperledger Fabric, Python, and Bitcoin.

  • Blockchain IT support. Instead of focusing on general IT management and support, this role focuses specifically on blockchain support. Blockchain IT support employees are responsible for running blockchain server systems, helping teams with everyday issues, and understanding all the hardware and software involved.

Steps to Learn Blockchain

Blockchain may be a somewhat confusing concept, but the steps to learning it are simple. Follow the five steps below if you want to become a blockchain professional.

1. Get an Introduction to Blockchain Technology

Although blockchain is not a cryptocurrency, it is directly linked to cryptos because it is the technology that makes them possible. To understand blockchain, you should learn about a variety of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple. 

For example, you can study how Bitcoin’s public blockchain works, and how permissioned blockchains can be used to provide additional security.

If you do not know the basics of programming languages like Java, C++, and Python, you should also begin to study them at this point, perhaps with the help of a bootcamp.

2. Study Blockchain Development Basics

Next, you should learn about how to develop blockchain technology. The best way to learn the fundamentals is to take courses. In them, you will study cryptography and the cryptographic algorithm that is commonly used in cryptocurrencies.

You can also start to learn about Blockchain as a Service, which uses a mixture of cloud computing and blockchain technology. Some of the platforms related to Blockchain as a Service include Quorum, Hyperledger, Corda, and Ethereum Enterprise.

3. Research and Watch Tutorials

There is plenty of information online about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Sift through the piles of information on investing in cryptos to find the hidden gems on the computer science behind them. Read up on how bots are used to buy and sell crypto. Bots let you trade automatically, minimizing risk.

Watch tutorials on YouTube or take a course to dive deeper into blockchains. Explore the computational power they require, the financial services that blockchain can provide, and blockchain’s other possible applications.

4. Learn about Blockchain Smart Contracts

A smart contract is different from a contract in the same way that a smartphone differs from a phone. A smart contract is a computer program that automatically generates legal documents. It reduces the need for trusted mediators and enforcement costs, and eliminates chances of losses due to fraud or malicious intent. 

5. Obtain a Professional Blockchain Certificate 

The last step is to get a blockchain certification. For some of the best professional certificates available in blockchain, keep reading.

The Best Courses and Certificates to Learn Blockchain

a simplified diagram of blockchain technology, representing the blocks and chains.
You can start adding to the chain once you have taken a course in blockchain.

Below are the best courses in blockchain technology. These classes will fill you in on the fundamentals and teach you how to start building blocks as part of this revolutionary technology. Once you’ve caught up on the basics, you can take one of the professional certificate courses mentioned toward the end of the list. 

Learn How to Build Your First Blockchain

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 14.5 hours
  • Cost: Varies

Learn how to build blockchains in this useful Udemy course. All you need is basic mathematical and Python knowledge to get started. Then, the course will guide you through the rest. Once you have the necessary background in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, you can start building your own blockchains.

Blockchain Basics

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cost: First month free

This LinkedIn Learning course is an introduction to blockchain. It is for non-technical students, so it is ideal if you work in business, IT management, or data science.

Basics of Blockchain with Python

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Cost: $19.99 per month, free trial available

This Codecademy course covers all the details of the properties and features of blockchain. In this class, you’ll get the opportunity to work on blocks through interactive simulations. The only prerequisite is some experience with Python.

Blockchain: Beyond the Basics

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Cost: First month free

This intermediate LinkedIn Learning course will help you put blockchain technology into context. It covers the technology’s uses in industries like energy and security. You will get an overview of the topic, and will take an in-depth look at how blockchains are implemented.

Certificate in Blockchain Fundamentals

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 3 months
  • Cost: $178.20

In this professional certificate course offered by the University of California, Berkeley, you will learn to incorporate your own blockchain solutions. This course manages to make a complex topic easily digestible, and it is open to all skill levels.

Blockchain Certifications

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 4 to 9 hours
  • Cost: Varies

The Blockchain Council provides a variety of certifications for blockchain professionals, including blockchain architects and cryptocurrency experts. They also provide live training and online degree options.

Certified Blockchain Professional (CBP)

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 3 months
  • Cost: Varies

The CBP course offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) is intended for anyone in full-stack development who wants to learn blockchain. In it, you will learn fundamentals and advanced strategies for blockchain. The EC-Council is a highly regarded certification provider for all things IT. So, although these courses are expensive, they will have the greatest impact on your resume. 

The Best Resources to Learn Blockchain

Whether you prefer to learn from books or video tutorials, below are some of the best blockchain resources. Of course, there are plenty more blogs, articles, and guides on blockchain, but these are our top three picks. 

Bubble or Revolution?, by Neel Mehta and Aditya Agashe

This book is a great read if you want to brush up on all things cryptocurrency. In it, you will learn the core concepts by studying real examples and the opinions of industry experts.

Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction, by Daniel Drescher

This fantastic book is great for complete beginners with a non-technical background. The terminology is simplified thanks to the author’s use of analogies and illustrations explaining the basics. 

Simplilearn YouTube Channel

On the Simplilearn YouTube page, you can get lots of beginner-friendly insight into blockchain technology. Alongside chunks of information on applications, smart contracts, and becoming a blockchain developer, you will also find full courses for free. 

Why Learn Blockchain?

People usually learn blockchain because they want to make wise cryptocurrency investments. However, because it has potential applications in so many other fields, it is likely that more people will begin studying blockchain to learn how to build it.

Blockchain has huge potential for developers, architects, and engineers. It can create an environment that will allow for smarter, faster, and safer ways of doing business. So, whether your interests are in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or blockchain technology itself, you should sign up for a course to stay current with this revolutionary technology.

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