A blockchain certification program is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to start a blockchain and distributed ledger technology career. Unlike a university degree, most certification programs are affordable and can be completed in weeks or months instead of years.
This guide will explain what a blockchain certification program is, how much they cost, and how long it takes to complete. We’ll also provide examples of some of the most popular blockchain certification programs and what their course curriculum looks like.
What is a Blockchain Certification Program?
A blockchain certification program teaches students the skills they need to get a job in the blockchain industry. The certificate indicates that the job applicant has the blockchain skills they claim to have.
Blockchain certification programs come in many shapes and sizes. Some programs are short and only cover introductory blockchain topics. Other programs take months to complete and teach specialized blockchain skills. For example, advanced blockchain certification courses may cover some or all of these topics,
- Consensus mechanisms (proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, delegated proof-of-stake, etc.)
- Writing and launching smart contracts
- Auditing smart contracts
- Decentralized finance
- Blockchain accounting
- Blockchain for supply chains
Some of the most common careers for graduates of a blockchain certification program include:
- Blockchain developer
- Blockchain engineer
- Blockchain project manager
- Blockchain legal consultant
- Blockchain web designer
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Why Do People Get a Blockchain Certification?
Students complete a blockchain certification program to learn essential skills without completing a four-year undergraduate degree. Blockchain certification programs are cheaper and significantly faster to complete than a university degree.
Furthermore, a blockchain certification program may be the only educational opportunity for some students. Blockchain technology is only about ten years old and has only been seriously adopted for the last five or six years. Many universities are currently offering an undergraduate or graduate degree in blockchain technology.
Since blockchain is a new technology, many employers are more open to hiring job applicants that have completed a certification program rather than a traditional university degree.
Blockchain Certification Courses: What to Expect
Every blockchain certification program has a different length. Some courses can be completed in one or two weeks, while an advanced program can take months or even a year. Some programs let students go at their speed, while others are paced, and participants must follow a certain schedule.
The following are two examples of course curricula from blockchain certification programs offered at universities.
UC Berkeley’s Blockchain Technology
The course requires 3 to 5 hours of study per week and can be completed in six weeks. The curriculum covers the following topics,
- Distributed Systems and Alternative Consensus
- Cryptoeconomics and Proof-of-Stake
- Enterprise Blockchain: Real-World Applications
- Scaling Blockchain: Cryptocurrencies for the Masses
- Regulation and Anonymity
- A Blockchain-Powered Future
Duke University’s Blockchain Applications Certification
The course requires 3 to 4 months to complete. The curriculum covers the following topics,
- Foundations of blockchain – “In this introductory course, you will learn how to explain the origin and workings of blockchain technology.”
- Transacting on the blockchain – “Through this course, you will understand the key elements of blockchain technology and how to apply it across business models. You will also learn how to explain the value of “alternative” stores of value such as cryptocurrencies.”
- Solving problems with blockchain – “This course will help you understand when to apply blockchain technology, and just as importantly when blockchain does not add value.”
Blockchain Industry Certification Programs
In addition to universities and educational platforms like Coursera and Udacity, private companies and industry groups also offer blockchain certification programs. The following are a few examples of blockchain certification programs offered by industry groups.
- Certified Blockchain Professional (CBP) – A course offered by the EC-Council that begins with blockchain fundamentals and progresses into advanced topics like AI & blockchain and implementing blockchain as a service. According to the EC-Council, the program is “in line with the prestigious ANSI standards as with all of our other programs at IIB Council and EC Council as a whole.”
- Hyperledger Certification Courses – The business-orientated blockchain organization Hyperledger offers many introductory courses that students can enroll in for free. These are training courses designed to teach new skills, especially for students without blockchain experience. Hyperledger also offers two professional certifications,
- Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator
- Certified Hyperledger Fabric Developer
- ConsenSys – ConsenSys is one of the largest blockchain development companies in the world. Although ConsenSys is primarily affiliated with Ethereum, they offer widely applicable certification programs. Some of the certification programs offered by ConsenSys include,
- Blockchain Essentials: An Introduction to Blockchain
- SCD (Smart Contract Developer) Certification Exam
- Libra: Building and Understanding Facebook’s Cryptocurrency
Industry group certifications are just one more way for students to quickly gain the blockchain expertise needed to start a career in the industry.
Online Blockchain Certification Programs
Most blockchain certification programs are online only. An online program does not require students to attend in-class sessions or meetings. Private companies offer many blockchain certification programs instead of a university.
Since online programs are easier to create and can be taken by hundreds or thousands of students, online certifications are typically much cheaper than classroom-based programs.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Programs
The primary advantage of an online program is that it’s cheaper and can be taken from anywhere. Location is not a limiting factor. Usually, classes are pre-recorded and can be watched at any time. This flexibility can be very convenient for students working while they study.
The biggest disadvantage of an online certification program is that it makes networking more difficult. In a physical classroom, it’s easier to meet students and make connections that could be invaluable later on. Students in an online program may miss out on networking opportunities present in a classroom.
Blockchain Certification Program Costs
Some blockchain certification programs are free, while others cost thousands of dollars. The following are five examples of blockchain certification programs and their tuition costs.
Berkeley’s Blockchain Technology Program
The program lasts six weeks and requires 3 to 5 hours of study per week. The program is free. However, graduates can pay $99 at the end of the program to receive a verified certificate.
The Blockchain Council Certification Course
The program is self-paced, meaning that students can complete it as quickly or slowly as they want. The average time to completion is 9 hours, and the tuition cost is $129. The course includes verification of the graduation certificate.
Duke University’s Blockchain Applications Certificate
The program takes three to four months to complete. Tuition is four payments of $750, or one payment of $2,850 (a 5% discount).
MIT’s Blockchain Disruptive Technology Course
The program requires eight weeks to finish with 8 to 10 hours of study per week. The tuition fee is $2,700.
University at Buffalo Blockchain Specialization
The program requires four months to finish with an average of 4 hours of study per week. The tuition fee is $1,200, and financial aid is available.
Career Outlook for Blockchain Certificate Holders
According to the Certified Enterprise Blockchain Professional program, anyone interested in one of the following five careers can benefit from a blockchain certification program.
- Senior leadership and decision-makers in enterprise blockchain
- Innovation managers
- Blockchain solution and program managers
- Business analysts and advisors
- Blockchain technology entrepreneurs
According to Berkeley, “Blockchain-related jobs are the second fastest-growing in today’s labor market, currently with 14 job openings for every blockchain developer.” Demand is especially high for experienced solidity programmers, the programming language used to write smart contracts on Ethereum.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data on blockchain positions, it tracks job demand for software developers. According to the BLS, “Employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.” That’s an encouraging sign, especially given that the demand for blockchain developers is even higher than for software developers.
ZipRecruiter has released data showing that the average salary for a blockchain developer in the United States is $154,550 per year. That’s more than double the average salary of $65,685 per year in the United States.
Glassdoor has a lower estimate for the average salary for a blockchain engineer, at $107,029 per year. Notably, this figure is still well above the national average salary for all professions. Learn more about how to become a blockchain developer in this complete guide.