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Accounting firm KPMG says the hype around blockchain — the secure and transparent ledger behind technologies such as cryptocurrency — is finally fading as businesses learn what blockchain is, what it is not, and what it will be capable of.

KPMG has further identified the top four skills you need if you want to have a career in blockchain.

Above: The hype is fading, but the jobs are real.

Image Credit: KPMG

While it’s no panacea, blockchain is already helping businesses mitigate recalls and fraud, drive new process efficiencies, and reduce costs. This year, KPMG expects to see an increase in the number of companies exploring this technology — from identifying new business models to piloting projects and progressing to scalable solutions.

As the noise around blockchain is quieting down, it will soon face a new challenge: a severe lack of talent. Somewhat surprisingly, a significant amount of the talent resides on college campuses. Younger generations have witnessed the maturity and evolution of Bitcoin and blockchain and are therefore the most interested in and comfortable with the technology.

As a platform that transcends business silos, blockchain depends on teams with industry expertise and business acumen. New hires — whether a recent grad or an experienced professional — do not need to be technologists to be considered for a blockchain position. While these skills can be learned in non-technical roles, they are essential to successfully deploy — and most importantly, scale — blockchain solutions.

KPMG's skills needed for blockchain jobs.

Above: KPMG’s skills needed for blockchain jobs.

Image Credit: KPMG

These are the top four blockchain skillsets KPMG identified:

1. Business acumen: The number of user roles, personas, and entities blockchain touches is more than in any previous emerging technology and ranges from IT to finance, procurement, and the mailroom. Each user from each entity has a unique view and access, which requires a deep understanding of specific processes across the business. This varying expertise is crucial when creating and defining a compelling use case and value proposition for a blockchain project.

2. Tech literacy: While it’s important to understand the technical concepts of how blockchain works, knowing how to apply that knowledge to a specific use case is critical. Members of a blockchain team should have a grasp of the differences between a wide range of technologies (cloud, protocols, consensus mechanisms, ERPs, networks, and so on) and know when to use different mechanisms and platforms. This will help them understand how blockchain interacts within an existing technology ecosystem and how that ecosystem will impact the design of the blockchain solution. And for those who are planning to work on the development side of blockchain, some knowledge of coding (JavaScript, HTML, solidity, etc.) is helpful for blockchain development.

Above: Side view of a darts board at sunset with blue arrows in it.

Image Credit: KPMG

3. Data analysis: While most team members do not need to be technologists to work on blockchain projects, the team must include data analysts who can tap into one of blockchain’s greatest benefits — data. Being able to understand and make use of the data gleaned from a blockchain — and present it in a meaningful way to each of the varying user roles — is key to success.

4. Hacker mentality: Given the lack of coursework around blockchain and its relatively recent arrival in the enterprise, the team must be open and able to explore and experiment by “hacking the problem” from a business and technology perspective. This means working collaboratively in a workshop-type setting to think through the business objectives, implications, and value story for each of the participants and then define the architecture and overall solution flow.

As with any emerging technology, having the right talent is paramount. Blockchain projects will not succeed or scale without a multifaceted team that goes beyond technologists. KPMG expects more universities to integrate blockchain into future coursework, which will help prepare end users, as well as those who will be responsible for building, deploying, and managing blockchain.

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