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Blockchain tech is new hot topic for universities around the world

  • Blockchain is becoming more prevalent and with it, the need for blockchain developers, opening up an entirely new job market.
  • More universities are jumping on the band wagon and offering courses on blockchain development
  • Courses you can learn and how you can use the advancement of blockchain to get ahead

According to new research carried out by Coinbase, we're witnessing a significant rise in the number of universities teaching their students about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

It turns out that 42% of the world's top universities are now offering at least one course on either cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. While previously these courses only garnered interest from those studying math or computing-related subject, they now have students from a large range of majors.

Which Universities Are Offering Courses on These Subjects?

Universities have been teaching and researching distributed ledger technology since before cryptocurrencies were mainstream.

However, the number of universities offering such courses has rapidly increased over the past couple of years, and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

Coinbase Reports has even created a chart to show the number of cryptocurrency and blockchain courses being taught at some of the top universities around the world.

Nir Kabessa, the President of Blockchain at Columbia stated::

"Schools such as Berkeley, MIT, Columbia, and Stanford are leading the race. MIT's Bitcoin Club is a legendary organization which led to the formation of the Blockchain Education Network, a community of top blockchain labs and chapters.

Columbia University is gradually adding for-credit courses on blockchain, but its main source of education stems from its innovative institutions such as the DSI-IBM Research Center, Blockchain at Columbia, and Columbia Blockchain Studio. It is important to differentiate what type of education one is looking for."

Each institution has its own pros and cons. Whilst some universities are famous worldwide for their intensive research into blockchain, their education department is lacking. Meanwhile, some of the institutions with the best teaching reputations have comparatively low scores for their research.

Can I Take These Courses Online?

As well as enrolling in these courses in universities, there is also the option to learn more about blockchain technology - and even gain professional qualifications - by studying online.

For instance, Coursera's free course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies was created by Princeton University. So far it's been rated by over 1,700 users and has received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. New enrollments open every few days, and you can work the assignments around your schedule.

Similarly, Udemy's Blockchain Technology: A Guide to the Blockchain Ecosystem teaches you to understand the entire blockchain ecosystem from the ground up.

If you're a developer who wants to get involved in blockchain technology but have little to no experience, IBM is even offering a free Blockchain Essentials course that will teach you how to create your own private blockchain network on IBM Bluemix.

Do I Need to be a Computer Geek to Enroll?

Many people still associate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin with computer geeks, cyber-criminals, and hackers from the dark web. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Blockchain technology is still a very new concept, but it has advanced rapidly over the past few years. As time progresses, it's becoming clear that the technology will only continue to become a more and more vital part of our society.

David Yermack, the finance department chair at NYU Stern School of Business, first began to enroll students in his course on blockchain and financial services back in 2014. He started the course because he was interested in how fast Bitcoin was growing.

However, he now sees the course as a way for students to gain the skills they will require for jobs in the future.

In an interview, he stated, "A process is well underway that will lead to the migration of most financial data to blockchain-based organizations. Students will benefit greatly by studying this area."

How Can I Use These Courses to Make Money?

Between 2017 and 2018, the blockchain job market has witnessed tremendous growth.


Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to use these courses to make money is to become a blockchain developer. Between January 2017 and January 2018, the demand for blockchain engineers on Toptal has grown by 700%.

In addition, websites such as Indeed.com, AngelList, LinkedIn, Crypto Jobs List, Blocktribe, Blockchainjobz, Joblift, and Upwork have seen a huge surge in the number of blockchain jobs available.

According to data collected by Indeed, the average salary of a blockchain professional in the US ranges from $63,000 per year to $157,000 per year - with marketing specialists being on the lower end of the scale and senior managing consultants being on the higher end.

A report from Bloomberg stated that the highest demand in the industry is for software development and financial services.

The Future of Blockchain

Blockchain technology has made a lot of progress over the past few years alone, but this is still just the very beginning.

Job positions are opening far faster than they can be filled, and right now is the prime time for those with the right skills to get involved.

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Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
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Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

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