Blockchain classes at top universities like Wharton and Cornell are all full house

14 Sep, 2018
by Fifi Arisandi
Blockchain classes at top universities like Wharton and Cornell are all full house

Blockchain subject is gaining popularity at top schools like Wharton and Cornell. 

With top universities around the world are reported to have established blockchain courses, another news confirming the popularity of the nascent technology is also disclosed. 

An Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cornell University, Emil Gun Sirer said the standard of "popular class" in the university has been raised since blockchain course was created. "Usually when you have five to a dozen students in such a class, you're teaching a popular class," Sirer said. 

But, when he arrived in the class to teach a 600-level course on blockchain technology, he was shocked to see 88 students, most of whom were undergraduates, were already there. "It was pretty interesting to see that level of interest," he added. 

This phenomenon doesn't happen only at Cornell as similar things have been reported by professors in other universities. Dawn Song, a computer science professor who taught "Blockchain and CryptoEconomics" at the University of California at Berkeley said to have around 100 students competing for 25 available seats in her class. 

She said the topic is very popular due to the future possibilities of the technology, quoting her statement to CNBC, "I think students are intrigued to learn about the technology which is very broad ranging and both has deep historic academic roots as well as exciting new frontiers."

According to Kevin Werbach from The Wharton School, another reason for the huge interest of students to the blockchain technology subject is job prospects. The professor who co-teach "Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology" said, "[Students] are seeing opportunities with companies that want students to work in this area, which include both blockchain focused start-ups as well as major companies."

Furthermore, he explained, "Wharton sends people to all the Fortune 500 companies, and investment banks and technology firms. A very high percentage of those leading firms now have blockchain or distributed ledger projects, and they're looking for expertise in that area."

His opinion has some points, with the nine-fold increase of Bitcoin-related job openings on LinkedIn, 2,770 blockchain-related job posts on Glassdoor on Monday, and the specifically mentioned "distributed ledger technology" on the Hong Kong government's wanted Talent List, the skill in blockchain technology is indeed in high demand. 

However, the computer science professors also provided some tips to students related to their huge interest in learning the new technology. Sirer said, "What you want to avoid at all costs is overspecialization early on in your career. If you end up going to a program dedicated to blockchain, I think I personally would say you're making a mistake."

Similarly, Werbach said that focusing an entire academic education on one emerging technology would be a mistake. "In order to understand blockchain well, you actually need to learn a bunch of subjects that we already teach in the university, things like economics and finance and law and distributed systems in engineering," he added further. 

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