Less than a decade ago, very few people cared about blockchain technology. People dismissed the concept of blockchain ever taking off. It is 2022 now, and according to Linked-In, Blockchain topped the list of skills bosses were looking for in 2020¹. This is even set to continue rising in 2022, with the expansion of blockchain technology. This comes at a time when everyone is looking to build on a lucrative skill that will expose them to a solid job in a competitive contemporary world full of future uncertainties. The blockchain sphere is currently witnessing a surge in popularity, from people who have developed a sudden interest in the concept, to investors and other parties seeking to make the most of the opportunities in the field. This innovative technology provides the foundation of digital currencies, which have reinvented transactions, with instantaneous peer-to-peer transactions, which were previously impossible. However, what is blockchain? Or what is NEAR and how should first-time learners advance their careers in this relatively new field?
What is Blockchain?
The modern world is ever-changing, thanks to advances in technology and a curiosity to refine the technologies. Blockchain crept into people’s lives and in less than a decade, it has become part of a common man’s life, with application in everyday uses.
In simple terms, blockchain is a digital and distributed ledger of transactions, which makes the digital assets unalterable and transparent through the process of decentralization².
What is NEAR Protocol?
The contemporary world seeks to refine its technologies and to make the best out of its inventions. This is what NEAR protocol seeks to do in the blockchain sphere.
NEAR is a layer-one blockchain that seeks to tackle the challenges of slow transaction rates, poor compatibility, and limited throughput. It is a decentralized application that seeks to increase user-friendliness with blockchain interaction.
Getting Started: Professional Courses
Joining professional courses for learning about blockchain technology is a sure way of getting started with careers in the blockchain space. A blockchain certification course would be a perfect starting point for a novice seeking a career in Blockchain and NEAR. Such a course would be beneficial to an individual who wishes to learn about relevant topics in blockchain and cryptocurrency, and further understand the depth of the field.
Taking a blockchain course will expose a learner to the core blockchain platforms, while at the same time helping them understand crypto jargon and the concepts deployed in the space³. The essence of these professional courses is to get an understanding of the valuable tips that will help you maneuver the blockchain sphere.
The web is filled with a lot of information surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrency. However, it would be difficult for a novice to decipher the valuable tips from this information and filter out the important parts that would help them in the development of their blockchain career. Learning blockchain systematically through the professional certification courses is important to help filter information, and get to use the most useful information to build themselves in the blockchain.
Opportunities for Africans
There is a surge in the demand for African professionals in blockchain and NEAR. The demand is high and can be compared to the BFSI sector (Banking, financial services, and insurance), including healthcare and other critical industries⁴. Therefore, job opportunities include legal consultants, blockchain developers, project managers, and even product managers⁵. Blockchain companies and startups are being set up around Africa, especially in African countries with high cryptocurrency adoption such as Nigeria and Kenya⁶. This translates to an increase in demand for African professionals in the industry.
African countries are gradually adopting blockchain technology, and this allows for the expansion of the blockchain space. This means that chances of being employed by a blockchain startup or company are increasing. The wide blockchain sphere, which accommodates NEAR technology, means that it is still early for Africans to educate themselves on blockchain and harness the numerous opportunities in the sphere. Sankore 2.0 is one such company, which takes pride in accommodating novice individuals in crypto and mentoring them to pursue careers in NEAR.
Sankore 2.0 CEO Kevin Imani emphasizes the importance of education to get a comprehensive understanding of blockchain and NEAR. He encourages Africans to get education on blockchain and NEAR and harness the opportunities these new technologies bring. Imani, in a recent NEAR CON talk in Lisbon, stated that Africa was specifically early in the adoption of the technologies and opportunities are immense.
“Many of you may know that the first pillar of S2 is education. Education is important as people need to understand what the space is about, its importance, and why they should care. We still are early and I cannot stress this enough. It is not just in the West that crypto integration is early, but specifically for the continent of Africa is incredibly early, and that excites me more than anything because I see opportunities.”
S2 is based in Nairobi, Kenya, and has been on a mission to educate Kenyans on crypto, blockchain, and NEAR. The organization is a fast-growing start-up and is in the process of strengthening its team with passionate individuals who would go above and beyond their job description in the line of duty.
Blockchain is one of the fastest-growing skill sets and the number of vacancies in the field is rising. Currently, blockchain professionals enjoy competitive salaries, in what could be concluded as better salaries than most lucrative fields such as IT. There are many career opportunities in the field, but Africans are still not aware of the opportunities. Crypto education is the best way to get started in the field and learn the most valuable tips to grow in blockchain and NEAR.
Related: Africans Reaping from NFTs
Sankore 2.0 is an Africa-focused community integrating the NEAR blockchain with projects and solutions conceived and built by local developers in Kenya. As noted in the content of this blog, Sankore 2.0 seeks to promote the development of Web3 products in Nairobi — for Kenya and for Africa as a whole