Perspectives

Jumpstarting Careers, Educational Opportunities with Blockchain

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The world was a different place in 1979, the year I graduated from Albany State University, in Albany, Ga. When I began my career that year at IBM, I was testing diskettes – a technology that’s foreign to most college students today. Over the course of a 39-year career, I’ve seen the technology sector undergo enormous change and progress, and I’ve had to grow and evolve skill sets that I could not have imagined when I was in school.

Technology continues to rapidly evolve today, creating increasing demand for people with the technical skills to use and create new and innovative products and services. For organizations to be successful, we must continue creating opportunities for talented workers from all walks of life.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are more than 500,000 open technology jobs in the United States. And businesses are having a tough time finding the right skills to fill them. That deserves repeating – there are more than half a million chances for someone to contribute to our country’s fastest growing innovations, so companies like IBM are helping to connect people with those opportunities.

Take blockchain, a new technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we manage financial transactions and share information, and a new technology I recently began working with myself. Ten years ago, blockchain didn’t yet exist, yet today we have 1,500 IBMers using the technology to help organizations and entire industries solve real business problems in new ways using blockchain. We’re not alone. According to Bloomberg, blockchain-related job postings on LinkedIn increased four-fold in 2017.

Tremendous opportunity exists in new fields like this – opportunity for both employers and employees, for high schools, community colleges and universities.

It’s for these reasons that this week I’m coming home to my alma mater to share tomorrow’s opportunities in blockchain with today’s students and educators. What started as a passion project of mine a few years ago has grown into a fully-fledged recruiting conference where students and faculty can learn about blockchain. Students and faculty will experiment with demos and meet IBMers who are leading the way in this technology – all to increase understanding of the promise the field offers for their careers.

Through programs like this, students can break into exciting new careers by building their qualifications in emerging fields like blockchain. And, by embracing employees with more diverse backgrounds, as IBM has done throughout its 107 years in business, companies can attract and retain the diverse group of people they need to be successful.

Just as the tech industry has always thrived on finding new and innovative ways to solve business problems, we must continue thriving by exploring new and innovative ways to recruit and develop colleagues from all walks of life.

Blockchain Development Manager, IBM

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