RMIT Online is launching two new blockchain courses to meet the predicted demand for workers with a command of the distributed ledger technology.

In partnership with Accenture and fintech hub Stone & Chalk, two six week courses — Designing Blockchain Solutions and Developing Blockchain Applications — will commence later this year.

The courses build on the university’s first blockchain short course, Developing Blockchain Strategy, and takes a more technical approach to the technology made popular by bitcoin.

The courses will provide an overview of the technology, including the understanding of how to design blockchain infrastructure, to further students’ skills and learn how to think strategically about implementing a blockchain solution into the core of their businesses.

“Our first short course on blockchain, Developing Blockchain Strategy, sold out in 48 hours to students across the globe,” said Helen Souness, CEO of RMIT Online.

“We’re excited to be pioneering these courses with our expert partners at Accenture and Stone & Chalk in upskilling and inspiring professionals to explore real-life applications of blockchain technology within their businesses.”

The most mature implementation of blockchain in the world is bitcoin, but increasingly enterprise software vendors are offering blockchain solutions as an infrastructure for digital record keeping. Businesses are also investigating use cases for blockchain.

For example the ASX is replacing its 25-year-old CHESS stock-clearing system with a blockchain-based system, Alibaba is using it to improve the traceability of food exports sold digitally and CommBank is using it to issue bonds.

However research from Gartner suggests only 8 per cent of CIOs were in short-term planning or active experimentation with blockchain.

Source: Gartner, May 2018

While skeptics have raised concerns over the limits of the nascent technology, chiefly the speed at which transactions can be processed, employers like Accenture say they are increasingly seeking talent with a more technical understanding of the technology.

“From financial services and oil and gas, to mining and government, the potential is huge and we are already seeing the real world applications for blockchain across many industries,” said  John Harris, MD, financial services technology consulting, Accenture ANZ.

“However, to move the technology forward and get to the next stage, we need the talent. As blockchain is an evolving technology, educational initiatives are crucial to bridge the skills gap and ensure that Australia capitalises on its full potential.”

Alan Tsen, Melbourne General Manager, Stone & Chalk, expects to see “an explosion” in blockchain use, as proof-of-concepts moving from concept to production.

“Australia is facing an enormous skills shortage of people trained up in the technical knowledge required to operate blockchain in a modern workforce, and having the ability to build decentralised technology will prove to be invaluable,” Tsen said.

The courses are part of RMIT Online’s portfolio comprising industry-endorsed short courses that aim to bridge important skills gaps among executives, professionals and those looking to future-proof their careers in a more accessible manner.

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