1,000 Universities: IBM’s Ambitious Plan to Fill Vacant Blockchain Jobs

There’s a staffing problem in the blockchain industry: simply, there are too many open positions and too few blockchain specialists.

Now, to help meet that rapidly increasing demand, IBM has launched what it’s calling the IBM Academic Initiative. Unveiled yesterday, the ambitious effort finds the global tech giant teaming with 1,000 universities to fund grants and design curricula aimed at inspiring a new wave of blockchain professionals.

Participating institutions include Baruch College, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and the University of British Columbia.

But while unique in its sheer scope, IBM’s new push is the latest in a series of efforts around the world to train new blockchain industry talent. For example, earlier this year, a former Deloitte executive left the company in part to launch educational programs, and last year, a Japanese blockchain consortium began offering classes.

But IBM is now looking to gain ground, and fast. Already, it’s launched its academic program in beta, and so far, it appears to be sparking interest.

Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, told CoinDesk:

“We’ve already gotten some very, very positive responses from folks who have been involved in the university program.”

Hands-on learning

Wieck also revealed how the program will leverage IBM’s technology.

To start with, IBM Blockchain Platform, the firm’s proprietary distributed ledger technology, will form a part of the university curriculum, and will be made accessible for students. IBM will also be helping the universities host hackathons and workshops.

Further, universities that participate in the scheme will receive six months access to IBM Cloud and use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox.

And it’s becoming increasingly easy to see how such skills would be put to use by graduates of the courses.

The announcement comes on the same day that IBM formally launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, a food supply chain consortium with Walmart and other major firms on board, and revealed the first ever startup accelerator aimed at investing in startups building with Hyperledger Fabric.

Student lockers image via Shutterstock

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