First blockchain for business course offers initial step to certification
Training and Development

First blockchain for business course offers initial step to certification

Pre-register free for ‘Blockchain for Business: An Introduction to Hyperledger’ which starts on 25th October. We speak to Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger to learn more.

Over the summer we took a look at the blockchain skills shortage. This seems to exist on a number of different levels. Firstly, decentralised databases offer a new way of working which presents a challenge for individuals trying to get their heads round the whole concept. Secondly, most of the tools are brand new and nobody knows which (if any) will have de facto business uses in future.

There has also been an incredible surge in interest in blockchain technology since 2016. Scott Driscoll, lead developer at Foundry 45 and Pluralsight author believes this means it's no wonder there's a shortage. “On the training side, there are several online courses, boot camps, and consulting firms, but only a handful of university courses,” he says.

To help fill this shortfall, Hyperledger – the open source Linux Foundation blockchain community – has brought out a free online course through edX.org (an online learning platform founded by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The course is open for pre-order now and officially starts on 25th October with the option to add a verified certificate of completion for $99.

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Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger explains that as this is a free course the payment offers a receipt – or guarantee – that individuals have completed the course. This will be useful for employees within organisations that require proof of skills, he says.

This initial course is targeted at a wide range of roles – including product managers and senior executives, he adds, and provides a blockchain 101 for enterprise use cases as opposed to cryptocurrency mining.

The wider aim, he says, is to roll out a range of courses that will eventually lead to a wider certification programme – like you see in the broader Linux community. Most of these additional courses will be aimed more squarely at technical developers. 

 

Why might it be worth getting to grips with Hyperledger?

Open source communities are gaining sway in the enterprise. Microsoft, which has been famously proprietary, is now incorporating Linux. While OpenStack has very quickly become a powerful organisation with its architecture underpinning most large cloud deployments.  

Some pundits are already positioning the bourgeoning enterprise blockchain space as a battle of the giants – with Microsoft on Ethereum and IBM on Hyperledger. But Brian Behlendorf is keen to stress this is not the case.

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Hyperledger is a sprawling open source community with 167 paid member companies (this has grown from 30 over the last 18 months) and an untrackable number of non-affiliated developers. There are currently five different projects on there – the most famous of which is Fabric, which released its 1.0 version this July and was originally donated by IBM.

The way it works in practice is a company “comes to us with a code base that has been developed in house and then donates it to the community,” explains Marta Piekerska, director of ecosystem. Fabric may have been donated by IBM it but it currently has 27 official companies working on it not to mention the myriad spin off iterations. A similar story is true of Sawtooth, which was originally donated by Intel and should release its 1.0 version by the end of the year.

The “unofficial rule” now is they want less dominance by single vendors, says Piekerska, and would prefer projects to be donated by a collaboration of three or more companies.

This is not a case of one type of blockchain “versus” another, it is a case of “and” says Behlendorf. For example one of the other five projects on Hyperledger – Burrow – is a permissioned smart contract machine built on Ethereum. This is currently at the proof of concept phase but will actively be used within enterprises, says Behlendorf.

None of this is “throwaway code” – like something on GitHub that may or may not be a research project – these are all real working projects that will be used in practice, he adds.

It is still very early days for the blockchain market, nobody really knows how it will pan out in practice and there is certainly a still a lot of scepticism in many quarters. However, if the promise in any level matches the reality, commercially affiliated open source projects like this one, are likely to become very powerful indeed.

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