Montclair State Offers Blockchain Certificate Courses for Beginners and Professionals

Photo: Peter McAliney of Montclair State University Photo Credit: Esther Surden
Peter McAliney of Montclair State University | Esther Surden

Many blockchain experts are self-educated. They received their “credentials” from hands-on experience in the industry or from mining the wealth of instructional videos available on the internet.

However, Montclair State University is offering another way for busy professionals to jumpstart a quick entrée into this growing field. The university’s Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) department is partnering with The Blockchain Academy (Englewood Cliffs) to offer three certificate programs aimed at developers, people who work in the financial industry and others who want a more formal route into the field.

According to Peter J. McAliney, executive director, continuing and professional education, at Montclair State, “We think there is a huge gap between getting a degree and what is needed out in industry today. We’ve developed an offering that is of short duration … and can get people into the industry right away.”

He added, “You have to have a rudimentary knowledge to get started, and you have to have a wide knowledge that is not so deep. And then you get the rest of your knowledge by working with a company.”

McAliney made these points during a conversation with at the New Jersey Tech Council’s North Jersey Tech Briefing for State and Local Gov’t Reps, held this week in Nutley.

He emphasized that Montclair State doesn’t just say, “Here’s the education. Go forth and prosper.” Instead, each class has a career component. In the third week of every course, “we are holding an on-site and virtual meetup where we talk about positioning yourself for a career in blockchain. We are also working with a number of companies to place our interns, so they can go in there and start delivering value right away.”

The program for the first certificate, called the “Blockchain Essentials Certificate,” is being taught completely online. It is designed to provide a foundational grounding in blockchain technology and in the application of blockchain business models across a variety of industries. Upon the successful completion of the program, learners will be able to make leading and high-stakes decisions in the implementation of blockchain technologies and related platforms at organizations, the university said in its literature. This program consists of three courses of four weeks’ duration (each course is 24 hours): Blockchain Foundations, Blockchain and Bitcoin Intensive and Blockchain Decision Making.

Building on the basics taught in the Blockchain Essentials Certificate is a program designed for professionals in finance, as this industry is on the leading edge of blockchain adoption, McAliney said. Also taught completely online, the Blockchain Financial Certificate program focuses on applications of blockchain in the financial sector. Upon the successful completion of the program, learners will have an understanding of how technology and business models can be used to support a variety of transactions in the financial sector, with commensurate security and regulatory implications. It consists of two courses of four weeks’ duration (each course is 24 hours): Blockchain and the Financial Sector and Blockchain and the Regulatory Environment.

Finally, to bridge the gap between a computer science degree and what is needed in the workforce, Montclair State is offering an on-the-ground Blockchain Developer Certificate program. It is designed to leverage and apply the learners’ hands-on knowledge to blockchain-specific development programs and languages. Upon the successful completion of the program, learners will be able to hold developer or leadership positions in projects involving the creation of smart contracts and blockchain architecture, as well as the testing and implementation of them. It consists of three courses of four weeks’ duration (each course is 24 hours): the Hyperledger Developer Workshop, Smart Contracts Workshop and Blockchain Security Bootcamp.

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