With a crypto-friendly legislature & governor and a growing ecosystem of local blockchain companies, Arizona is quickly becoming a “living lab” for blockchain innovation. Arizona State University is home to a Blockchain Research Laboratory and an international, student-led group called the Blockchain Innovation Society. It’s factors like these that help explain why, for the fourth year in a row, ASU has been named the most innovative school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
Computer science masters students at ASU have a unique opportunity for hands-on learning in one of the fasting-growing and highest-paid software specializations: blockchain engineering. The blockchain job market is expanding. According to a recent report from CNBC, demand for blockchain engineers increased by 400% since late 2017, with salaries now averaging between $150,000 and $175,000 annually.
From the Lab to the Classroom
Launched in November 2017, the Blockchain Research Laboratory at ASU is the first of its kind. A rich ecosystem of partners, including companies and government agencies, support research at the lab. The laboratory’s research focus is on the fundamentals of how blockchain works – on the enabling foundational technologies under the hood, rather than any one specific application.
The blockchain course available to ASU Master’s students is shaped around this focus and is taught by Dragan Boscovic, a research professor at ASU who heads the Blockchain Research Laboratory.
”Many of the courses currently out there do a good job at explaining specific implementations of blockchain — say Bitcoin or Ethereum,” Dragan says, “However, they may not be as focused on giving students the fundamental tools and understandings they’ll need to create their own blockchain infrastructures and designs.”
“With that goal in mind, our course is built around practical exercises — we want students to do hands-on work in our blockchain testnets, and build a deep understanding of how the networks operate. Additionally, all the work that the Lab is engaged in with our external partners continually trickles into course assignments. This enables us to expose students to applied problems that are relevant to the challenges and opportunities businesses are looking at today. We don’t want students working on stale problems.”
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