Lynsey Jackson was looking for a change when she quit her corporate finance job to explore her career options, before going in a direction that would shock many.
She sees her future in blockchain technology, starting with a degree in applied blockchain from TAFE Queensland.
Blockchain, best known as the platform that hosts cryptocurrencies, is the foundation of “Web3”, the brave new internet held together by distributed databases, all of which confirm the same information.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer security network that allows users to become part of the system.
With regard to cryptocurrencies, the system validates the possession of coins and transactions, and works to create new coins.
“Most people when I say I’m turning my career into blockchain don’t really know what I’m talking about and what the opportunities are…for the most part, people in my world aren’t aware of it,” Ms. Jackson said. .
“It can improve things like tracking and traceability and reduce fraud… We can use that kind of technology to make the world a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable world for everyone.”
As for what she wants to do in the industry?
“That’s the million dollar question,” she said. “That’s why I registered for the diploma.”
Ms. Jackson first learned of blockchain like most do: cryptocurrency.
According to CHOICE, one in nine Australians has invested in a cryptocurrency in the past 12 months and another 11 percent are interested in investing.
But Ms. Jackson, who “maintains” investments in some of the major currencies, said that was not what prompted her to study the technology.
“What is actually happening in the blockchain space goes way beyond what we know about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and a get-rich-quick opportunity,” she said.
Looking for stability
According to economist and futurist Steve Sammartino, a better public understanding of the difference between cryptocurrencies and blockchain is fundamental to the latter’s future success or failure.
“The fact that they are bundled in the same category is quite problematic,” he said.
“Cryptocurrencies are a one-time use for blockchain… blockchain has incredible benefit and potential to reshape the entire fabric of the economy.”
Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile and there are currently about 10,000 on the market.
Mr. Sammartino said some cryptocurrency will be needed if blockchain is used for large-scale financial transactions, but the current proliferation and instability degrades any value as a viable replacement for fiat money.
He believes there is a role for government in what has hitherto been a largely unregulated space.
“Regulation is part of what we believe as a community and society, that’s the first part. The second part is education in schools,” he said.
“The challenge is that the space is changing so fast that mainstream regulation and education can’t keep up because there is always the next or the next iteration on a rapidly evolving technology.
“That gives the peddlers five minutes to come up and say, ‘Okay, boomer, you don’t understand.'”
‘Just a way we store data’
Danielle Marie tries to get ahead of the peddlers.
She teaches the applied blockchain diploma at TAFE Queensland†
Ms Marie said many of her students enroll in the course hoping to learn more about investing in cryptocurrencies, but leave with more concrete goals.
“Crypto is the gateway to blockchain,” she said.
She said most of her students will become either project managers and planners or business analysts, positions that were added to the list of skilled migrant occupations in 2019, indicating the need for more people with blockchain knowledge and training in Australia.
Those jobs fall within the category of Internet communications technology (ICT), and while it’s unclear what proportion of the jobs offered in this sector will be blockchain-related, projections project an additional 20,000 jobs in Australia for IT managers and IT managers by 2026. analysts.
Nationally, a shortage of ICT managers is already expected, with strong future demand.
Ms Marie agrees with Mr Sammartino that blockchain is misunderstood when viewed through the cryptocurrency lens alone.
“Ultimately, it’s just a way we store data,” she said.
“Most students who take these courses will eventually find themselves in the roles of project management, business analyst, consultant, educator, or some sort of research analyst.”
Ms Marie said that better access to the industry is key to a broader understanding of the technology.
“We need collaboration between government, organizations and communities to work together to educate people.”
Not all jobs ‘in the depths of tech’
Jock McQueenie of the QUT school of design has experience working with blockchain.
In 2019, he worked with Beefledger, a project that uses blockchain technology in an effort to eliminate fraud from the beef industry, by tracing the product from Australian pastures to China’s plates.
“They developed data from one end of the supply chain to the other, you know, Fitbits on cows, and measure metabolism right down to the packaging and the consumer experience,” said Dr. McQueenie.
He described his role as an intermediary on both sides, bringing the story the customer was told to life and convincing farmers it was a good idea.
dr. McQueenie is now working on a similar project to track fair trade coffee from source to customer in the Pacific.
He said there are blockchain-related jobs that don’t require an in-depth knowledge of the technology, just appreciation for it.
“I think the potential for jobs associated with it isn’t necessarily in the depth of the technology, but in linking it to a human outcome,” he said.
“What I do is translate what [the technology does] to a wider audience.
“My role is connecting dots, rather than being an expert in technology.”
A slow but inevitable revolution?
QUT cryptography PhD student Thomas Miller’s work comes from the depths of technology.
Mr. Miller said courses like Ms. Jackson’s are great “induction courses,” but he too would like to see better education and regulation around blockchain and internet security in general.
“Just the way you go and get a security card on a” [work] site, that should be something you have to do if you run a blockchain account,” he said.
He believes blockchain will restructure the workforce, with fewer corporate structures and more security for employees — a world where completed jobs can be easily tracked and paid for.
“I think the paradigm shift in the way we even think about… [work] growing up,” he said.
“We’re so used to interacting with the corporate structure that the company implements business processes — it’s the business processes that are valuable to society.”
Mr. Miller said that no matter what the job is, whether it’s a physical job like planting a tree or an online job like designing a website or accounting, anything of value will be traceable and the transfer will be easy.
“The idea of a business shell will slowly fade… it will just be the business processes and the people who commit to it will be paid for every instance of the business process they complete,” he said.
“I think it’s just a slow revolution, or slow change, societal change.
“It’s just literally unavoidable because it’s a better solution to do it this way.”
Posted † updated
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