Create a Powerful Career in Blockchain!
TCS iON Digital Learning Hub | June 21,2019

Justin Kersey
Director, TCS Blockchain Services

Justin Kersey is a Director in TCS Blockchain Services’ Platforms and Solutions team and leads Blockchain competency development programs. Justin has worked in the Blockchain space for nearly two years, including consulting, sales, learning management, and product development roles. Prior to joining TCS, Justin held managerial, advisory, and business development positions with startups, consultancies, and government agencies. Justin received an MBA from Duke University and completed undergraduate studies at Towson University.

blockchain

The Opportunity 

Blockchain emerged on to the scene in 2009 with the creation of Bitcoin, a fault-tolerant peer-to-peer payment system, and later gained traction as a launchpad for initial coin offerings (ICO). Blockchain’s early years were entirely experimental, as entrepreneurs, computer scientists, and cryptographers tested different game theory models and consensus protocols. There were many failures and few successes. Beginning around 2015, speculative investments in Blockchain greatly increased, and corporates started allocating more research and development funds to evaluate its applications. These events catalyzed the ecosystem and sparked public awareness of the technology, which climaxed in early 2018 when the ‘crypto’ asset bubble popped. Although the market crash tarnished Blockchain’s brand, it ultimately fortified the ecosystem by exposing scam projects and removing common misconceptions about the technology. With the scammers gone and untenable projects eliminated, investors and strategists were able to more clearly evaluate the viability and market fit of the remaining use cases.  
 

Blockchain emerged on to the scene in 2009 with the creation of Bitcoin, a fault-tolerant peer-to-peer payment system, and later gained traction as a launchpad for initial coin offerings (ICO). Blockchain’s early years were entirely experimental, as entrepreneurs, computer scientists, and cryptographers tested different game theory models and consensus protocols. There were many failures and few successes. Beginning around 2015, speculative investments in Blockchain greatly increased, and corporates started allocating more research and development funds to evaluate its applications. These events catalyzed the ecosystem and sparked public awareness of the technology, which climaxed in early 2018 when the ‘crypto’ asset bubble popped. Although the market crash tarnished Blockchain’s brand, it ultimately fortified the ecosystem by exposing scam projects and removing common misconceptions about the technology. With the scammers gone and untenable projects eliminated, investors and strategists were able to more clearly evaluate the viability and market fit of the remaining use cases.  

Blockchain is now part of corporate vernacular; executive officers and business leaders frequently include Blockchain initiatives in their innovation and long-term strategy budgets. Career opportunities across multiple roles abound for recent university graduates and experienced professionals, alike. As of early June 2019, there were 12,500 job postings for Blockchain positions on LinkedIn and thousands more on other recruitment web sites, many with large starting salaries. 

Blockchain not only attracts people who seek well-compensated roles, but also appeals to impassioned idealists who want to work on complex challenges, like data privacy and security, self-sovereign identity, and financial and societal inclusion of marginalized groups. A random sample of Blockchain conferences around the world will likely show that there are as many discussions about humanities topics as there are about engineering and programming, if not more. A Blockchain professional not only needs to understand software engineering, distributed systems, and cryptography, but should also seek to add monetary policy and game theory models and frameworks to their knowledge base. 

Blockchain was introduced at a point in time when concerns over centralization of technology and the Internet began to take center stage. Today, consumers are even more worried about privacy, security, and control over their data, as the threats of censorship and information mismanagement grow. Technological advancements during the 2000s and 2010s produced Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, spawning centrally-organized companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook; however, a new paradigm began to take root with the introduction of Blockchain projects like Ethereum and EOS. These projects are foundational to Web 3.0, or the open-source, decentralized web, and will play a leading role in application development through the 2020s. 

 

Web 3.0 

Web 3.0 is an inversion of the client-server relationship that currently dominates the web. In Web 3.0, each node or participant can be both a client and server, and users control their data and identity. Whereas Web 2.0 companies monetize users’ data in exchange for services, Web 3.0 applications are powered by cryptocurrencies and tokens that allow their holders to transact and access utilities, without exposing their personal data to unauthorized parties. Below is a simple diagram that represents the shift from the Web 2.0 client-server paradigm to Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is fundamentally different from the previous web paradigms because it promises a more equitable distribution of power. Instead of centralized ownership of social media applications, e-commerce platforms, or identity services, consortiums of developers, users, and other stakeholders collaborate to create and interact with distributed applications that are powered by tokens and democratic governance mechanisms. This is not to say that centralized applications will disappear completely, though consumers will have a wider array of options to choose from per their comfort level with how power and decision-making authority are distributed. Below is a diagram of the decentralized, open source web stack (Web 3.0):

 

How does Blockchain fit in?

The World Economic Forum estimates that 10% of the world’s GDP might be stored on Blockchain by 2027 (O’Halloran, Yong Zhang, & O’Sullivan, 2015). Although the digital currency, Bitcoin, was developed to disrupt the financial sector, its underlying Blockchain technology is now being adopted for a number of non-financial scenarios. Blockchain ensures accountability, immutability, auditability, and integrity of data, making it ideal for developing such use cases. Blockchain is a complex and evolving field, however, there are a few ‘components’ that greatly enable Web 3.0: 

Blockchain is often used as a general term for a bundle of complementary decentralization technologies, but it is actually a digital chain of immutable, timestamped, cryptographically-secured transaction records. This innovative form of record-keeping enables untrusting parties to transact in a transparent, fully auditable manner, without the need for costly third party intermediaries or authorities. 

Blockchain replicas (distributed ledger) are maintained across a network of nodes (peers) which removes the necessity of a central authority, lowers the probability of successful cyber-attacks, and reduces fraud and malicious behavior. The network comes to agreement on the state of a Blockchain and its transactions by way of a consensus mechanism, like Proof-of-Work or Proof-of-Stake. 

Smart contracts are codified agreements that self-execute when required conditions are met and publish outcomes onto Blockchain. Smart contracts are trackable, irreversible, and enable untrusting parties to transact in a transparent, fully auditable manner, reducing costs associated with interaction and information frictions. 

 

Get ready for a career in Blockchain!

There are approximately 12 Blockchain job opportunities per qualified candidate. In 2019, a plethora of easy-to-access resources provide quality training in Blockchain and complementary concepts. Universities are launching Blockchain courses and mini-degrees, and Udemy, Coursera, and edX offer learning programs for students who want to become smart contract developers and consultants. Any aspiring Blockchain professional (Ethereum) should not only consider developing the below tabled skills, but also be certified by a reputed organization so as to be recognized for their expertise. One such certification that professionals can opt for is the TCS iON ProCert. As per their webpage, the icing on cake for this certification is that, successfully certified candidates are also assured an interview call from TCS for a job opportunity in one of their many global transformational projects: 

Domain Knowledge

Programming/Tools/Frameworks

  • Distributed Systems/Computing

  • Blockchain (permissioned and permission-less platforms

  • Consensus

  • Smart Contracts

  • Cryptography and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

  • Game Theory

  • Monetary Policy

  • Governance

 

  • Solidity

  • JavaScript

  • Node.js

  • Web3.js library

  • Angular and React

  • Mist, MetaMask, Geth, Parity, and Truffle

  • Rest APIs

  • Cloud and Containers

  • Microservices

  • DevOps


Final words
The opportunity to start a career in Blockchain has never been greater. A wealth of up-skilling, certification and use case resources are available to aspiring Blockchain professionals, and hundreds of major companies and startups are looking for developers, consultants, and sales people who understand the technology and can translate and deliver its value for customers and the general public. Web 3.0 will spur the next global digital economy boom and bring greater opportunity to a much wider group of people, while preserving users’ privacy and control over their personal data. Do not wait any longer to get involved in this exciting technology. Get started today!


 

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