Canada’s first two university-level blockchain programs address need for skilled workers during global pandemic

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TORONTO, May 28, 2020 /CNW/ – In the last two years, the demand for blockchain developers has increased by 374% in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) alonei. Today, due to the pandemic, this demand has only increased. Since the onset of COVID-19 and physical distancing measures, organizations and government bodies have urgently needed blockchain processes and technologies that can facilitate contactless, transparent distribution of vital data. 

Alisa Acosta, Director of Education, Blockchain Research Institute

In response to employers’ high demand for skilled workers, the York University School of Continuing Studies created the first and only university continuing education blockchain programs in Canada – the part-time Certificate in Blockchain Development and the full-time Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development, both beginning September 2020.

“Data is arguably the most powerful asset in fighting pandemics. Systems built using data governance technologies like blockchain can create more secure, transparent, and high-performance environments to help mitigate future crises like COVID-19,” says Alisa Acosta, Director of Education, Blockchain Research Institute and Program Advisory Council member for the Certificate in Blockchain Development and Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development. “In a recent reportii, The Blockchain Research Institute identified five key areas of opportunity for blockchain in pandemics, including identity and data governance, supply chains and manufacturing, money and financial services, healthcare talent management, and incentives for behavioural change.”

For instance, in the United States, government officials are recommending the use of blockchain technologies to securely and quickly distribute the much-needed stimulus cheques to citizens who have yet to receive it. Blockchain-enabled solutions can also help to ease global supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. By digitizing records, organizations will have more transparency and visibility across the chain, allowing them to see these disruptions and make plans to work around them.   

Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, Assistant Vice-President, Continuing Studies (CNW Group/York University School of Continuing Studies)

“Blockchain has become one of the most revolutionary technologies today, with skilled blockchain developers driving business innovation and improvement. This innovation is vital to solving problems created by the pandemic,” explains Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly, Assistant Vice-President, Continuing Studies. “As Canada’s leader in providing accelerated, online certificate programs in emerging technical fields, the Certificate in Blockchain Development and the Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development will allow graduates to reskill or upskill in this high-demand field and quickly reenter the workforce.”

The Certificate in Blockchain Development and the Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development are created in consultation with industry leaders and subject matter experts. The programs’ curricula are designed to align with blockchain job skills that hiring managers are looking for in their new employees.

Students will engage in work-integrated learning opportunities as they create real-world blockchain solutions and collaborate with their peers, building upon their existing knowledge. Each program will conclude with a unique capstone course where they will apply and demonstrate their cumulative skills and knowledge. Upon graduation, students will have developed a portfolio of work and a proficient blockchain skill set, allowing them to secure work in this emerging, in-demand technical field.  

The Certificate in Blockchain Development will be delivered fully online. The Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development will begin online for the Fall term and then transition into on-campus delivery as public health guidelines permit.

The Certificate in Blockchain Development and the Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development are part of four new programs the School is launching in Fall 2020 to fill skills gaps in in-demand fields. Enrolment is now open for both full-time and part-time blockchain programs with the first sessions beginning September 2020.