Blockchain technology is being used to revolutionize the financial and technical industries. More jobs are available with companies looking to capitalize on this growing financial technology (fintech). Three skills needed to keep up and get a job in this field are cryptography, GitHub, and C++.
The blockchain is a public digital ledger where transactions, made using Bitcoin, are recorded chronologically and publicly. What makes the blockchain different from an ordinary database is firstly the blockchain is immutable, the transactions cannot be deleted, and secondly the blockchain is decentralized, no one can change or delete any blockchain transactions. This differs from a centralized organization having the power and authority to privately change their ledger.
Cryptography is the science of applying mathematical functions to data to guarantee their validity and security. The mathematical functions are usually associated with scrambling plaintext into ciphertext (known as encryption), then back again into plaintext (known as decryption). Cryptography concerns four main objectives:
- Confidentiality (information cannot be understood by anyone for whom it was unintended);
- Integrity (information cannot be altered in storage or transit between sender and intended receiver without the alteration being detected);
- Non-Repudiation (the creator/sender of the information cannot deny at a later stage his or her intentions in the creation or transmission of the information);
- Authentication (the sender and receiver can confirm each other’s identity and the origin/destination of the information).
When a person sends Bitcoin to someone as a form of payment, this transaction (data) needs to be verified. The verification validate the transactions meaning that they are what they purport to be. To learn about cryptography there are many free courses online including:
If you want to work on blockchain technologies, then learn how to use GitHub. GitHub is a Git repository hosting service. Git is an open-source version control system. Version control systems keep software revisions straight, storing code modifications in a central repository and allow easy collaboration between developers. Like Bitcoin most projects on GitHub are open source allowing anyone to copy and make new versions with their changes. In March 2017 the number of projects involving Bitcoin on Github, crossed over 10,000 and is still growing. There are many free and paid guides on how to learn and use GitHub online including:
The final skill to learn is the programming language C++, the default language of Bitcoin. C++ is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language and because the foremost priority of Bitcoin is security, using C++ makes it difficult for transactions to be hacked. Free and paid sources for learning C++ are all over the internet and developers are eagerly sought by companies dealing with the Bitcoin blockchain.
The blockchain is not static and is always changing. New technologies are being formed from when the original Bitcoin genesis block was created in 2009. As new technologies evolve, new skills will definitely be needed to keep pace with this exciting and bourgeoning field.