Traditional finance veterans beware: An ever-growing horde of graduates with crypto skills will soon enter the job market as universities step up their efforts to teach the subject.
The number of students enrolled in courses teaching crypto and blockchain is growing by the hundreds every year, according to UK universities Financial News.
While major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have fallen this year, the number of finance jobs requiring industry knowledge continues to rise. JPMorgan has 16 live jobs that require knowledge of blockchain or crypto, Citigroup has 11, while rating agency Moody’s has 12, according to data from Indeed.
Elsewhere, asset managers including Fidelity are also building digital asset teams, and challenger bank Revolut is expanding rapidly into crypto.
University courses could be the ones to fill the void – and the demand for education related to crypto and blockchain is growing. Exeter, the eighth-best university for business-related undergraduate degrees according to ratings agency The Complete University Guide, said FN its Bitcoin, Money and Trust module has grown in popularity by 1,300% in four years.
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The unit, which is offered to students across its business, economics and accounting courses, has 700 students enrolled for the upcoming term, up from 50 when it launched in 2018.
Dr Jack Rogers, who runs the course at Exeter, said FN that a number of former graduates who have held jobs in finance have contacted him in recent years to tell him that their new colleagues know nothing about crypto.
“You don’t necessarily need to know in detail how it works in these jobs,” Rogers said. “But you need to know what you can do with technology and how it can improve existing systems.”
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In a tight job market where salaries for juniors have skyrocketed, the extra crypto credentials could give graduates an edge in winning the highest-paying roles.
Professor Dave Cliff from the University of Bristol leads a module on cryptography as part of a broader financial technology degree. The university has been offering the course to students since 2014.
Cliff said many of its 800 graduates have previously worked for major investment banks, hedge funds and fintech startups.
University College London offers a masters course in emerging digital technologies at its Center for Blockchain Technologies, while the University of Oxford has several blockchain research centers.
UCL and Oxford are also part of a scheme set up by crypto payments giant Ripple designed to support research and education in the space. Ripple has invested around $50 million in the initiative, which also includes MIT and Princeton in the US, the University of Tokyo, and dozens of others.
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Elsewhere, the University of Southampton is launching a three-year fintech undergraduate course in September, which includes modules on cryptocurrency.
The University of Warwick already runs crypto and blockchain modules and plans to expand its offering in the region. The University of Reading offers a degree that runs crypto and blockchain modules, which has grown from 20 to 50 students over the past three years.
To contact the author of this story with comments or news, email Alex Daniel