Portland State University is in its first year of its fully online, six-course Business Blockchain Certificate. The intensive academic program targets graduate and upper division undergraduate students and is also open to non-degree seeking community members. The for-credit program is the first of its kind and, unlike other universities, the program focuses on business students rather than engineering or computer science students.
The program is supported by a board of advisors from well known organizations in the region and across the United States. PSU has formed partnerships with Hyperledger, the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) and the Oregon Enterprise Blockchain Venture Studio in an effort to produce world-class blockchain curriculum that meets the challenges of a quickly evolving and disrupting force in business.
Through this certificate, The School of Business is responding to the needs of the business community as rapid advances in technology create workforce skills gaps. The employment forecast for 2019-2024 shows that demand for blockchain-related skills are the most desired by companies across functions like finance, insurance, digital media and supply chain. Regionally this demand has doubled since 2010, with the top seven northwest companies looking for blockchain professionals to drive this tremendous growth.
The objective of the Business Blockchain Certificate is to provide students with the ability to make informed decisions about whether, when and how to apply distributed ledger technology to real business and social problems. The program employs a hands-on and interdisciplinary approach, reflecting the diversity of skills necessary for success in this rapidly-changing field. Graduates of the program will have practical experience writing proposals for blockchain-based business networks, solving technical problems, designing governance protocols, determining success metrics, and building active blockchain networks with smart contract capabilities.
The coursework and projects, lab assignments, and interactions with guest speakers equip students with the ability to evaluate technical, business and ethical problems; interact directly with distributed ledger technology and its developers; and respond effectively to future technological advances in data handling in their companies and industries.
PSU student teams won the national Trueup Blockchain Challenge competition in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, a team of PSU students is currently one of five finalists in the year-long Blockchain for Logistics and Supply Chain Management Innovation Challenge hosted by Arizona State and Sponsored by the US Military.
The program’s co-founders, Dr. Kristi Yuthas and Dr. Stanton Heister, recently published an article titled The blockchain and how it can influence conceptions of the self in the journal Technology in Society.