Could one think how to study blockchain? And yet, the so-called digital currency has entered our lives for good and universities are adapting their curricula to the modern demands of society and the economy. After all, the introduction of computers and the Internet revolutionized the field of science, with great practical application in all areas of business. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have introduced groundbreaking changes in the way the private and public sectors operate, leading to the so-called information revolution. Complex, costly and time consuming processes have now been simplified and automated with the use of ICT, resulting in them being processed in a shorter period of time and costing less. At the local level, universities have embraced ICT and taken care, through systematic and well-organized action, to adapt their curricula and link them to the labor market to a significant degree. The ICT graduates of the Cypriot universities are today important executives of companies and organizations in the whole spectrum of the economy.
Mr. Marinos Themistokleous, director of the Institute of the Future and associate dean of the School of Business Administration of the University of Nicosia, speaking to “P” states that “the 4th industrial revolution focuses on advanced technologies that include, among others, Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence). AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain technology, Robotics, Augmented / Virtual Reality. These technologies increase our capabilities by introducing a number of innovative applications that facilitate our daily lives, such as smart cities, the creation of advanced decision-making mechanisms, increasing the reliability and security of transactions, smart contracts, etc. At the same time, the combination, interoperability and marriage of these technologies offer us a new reality, opening new scientific and business horizons. It is worth noting that several countries have invested heavily in these technologies, increasing their competitiveness on the one hand and attracting investments of several hundred million euros on the other. Cyprus has made significant strides in the field, as it has developed national strategies for Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence technologies two years ago, while preparing the legal framework for Blockchain and digital currency. Also important is the work done by various government agencies, such as the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission or the National Betting Authority. The contribution of the University of Nicosia, which is actively involved in the formulation of the Pan-European Blockchain Strategy, is also valuable, while at the same time helping to develop the infrastructure of Blockchain services and technologies on behalf of the EU. countries that have made significant strides in this area and are ahead of other EU countries “.
What is blockchain?
How does blockchain affect our lives? According to Mr. Themistocleous, “Blockchain is an innovative technology that disrupts the business environment, providing solutions characterized by transparency, reliability, speed, traceability, increased security and reduced costs. It is a technology that in simple terms supports its operation in a digital file (or database) which consists of parts (blocks) of transactions / data that are interconnected. In order to ensure their security, sections and transactions are encrypted using advanced cryptographic techniques. The blockchain has some special features. For example, it operates in a decentralized environment, ie it is not located on a single computer, but synchronized copies are installed on multiple computers (nodes) across the territory. The addition of new transactions requires the consent of the majority of nodes, while the transactions that are finally registered remain unchanged forever, ie their modification or deletion is prohibited. All of this makes Blockchain an environment of transparency and reliability that drastically reduces corruption and fraud. At the same time, with the use of smart contracts, ie contracts that are read, controlled and executed by computers running on Blockchain, the strict observance of the terms of a contract is achieved, thus significantly reducing the differences between the parties involved and the consequent costs required. for the litigation dispute “.
Everything makes Blockchain technology particularly important for the development of innovative solutions bringing about significant changes. Numerous applications are developed daily in health, public administration, digital cities, education, supply chain, information technology, commerce, agriculture, shipping, transportation, energy, art, insurance, finance, the field of gambling and betting, sports, digital money and elsewhere. Blockchain and its applications have revolutionized and the benefits of using them are multidimensional, while at the same time they have opened new business horizons and have led to the creation of new professions and specialties. In order for this space to function effectively, education, training and the cultivation of new skills are required.
Interface with the labor market
Cyprus, and specifically the University of Nicosia, is a leader in this field, as since 2014 it offers the first postgraduate program in the world, in Blockchain and Digital Currency. This program is certified by the Quality Assurance and Certification Body of Higher Education (DIPAE) and is offered, either in person or in the form of distance education. To date, more than 1,000 students from around 110 countries around the world have attended. “The first course of the program focuses on the basic aspects of blockchain technology and digital currencies, is offered online, completely free of charge and has been attended by more than 45,000 people,” explains Mr. Themistokleous.
The program is designed to train professionals in the fields of Blockchain technology and digital currencies, helping to bridge the gap between supply and demand for skilled manpower by fully linking it to the job market. Its graduates can work in various specialties, such as engineers, programmers, analysts, researchers, application architects, consultants, policy makers and others. The program offers a holistic coverage of the field, covering important areas including Blockchain and digital currency, Blockchain architectures and systems, Blockchain and entrepreneurship, Blockchain emerging issues and digital money, Blockchain financial dimensions and applications , the analysis of the legal and regulatory framework, the programming of digital currencies and Blockchain applications. Students have the opportunity to choose either to hone their programming skills and become highly skilled programmers in Blockchain and digital currencies, or to specialize in financial / administrative aspects to become financial advisors, entrepreneurs or professionals focusing on finance. of that technology. The success of the program is great, according to Mr. Themistokleous, as 54% of its graduates change their profession in order to work in the field of blockchain. Graduates of the program are employed by leading organizations around the world. Typical examples are graduates who work for companies such as Coinbase and IBM, or devise the Blockchain strategy on behalf of a specific US state, or have set up their own companies in the field. At the same time, the students of the program have the opportunity to work in applied research programs that are implemented in collaboration with important companies in the field, such as Ripple, Stellar, Energy Web and others “.