Cracking the booming NTF, crypto and blockchain industry
By Lachlan Feeney, Founder and Executive Director of Labrys.
As NFTs, cryptocurrencies and enterprise blockchain solutions continue to boom, Australian companies are desperately searching for skilled workers to supply the demand. Skilled workers, though, are in short supply. According to The Tech Council of Australia, the country will need 280,000 new skilled technology workers by 2025, but we’re competing for a limited talent pool globally.
The Australian blockchain industry has matured at an incredible rate over the last few years, and we’ve reached a crucial junction. Ensuring that growth is sustainable will see Australia establish itself as a global leader in what is one of the most exciting industries in the world. Failure, though, will see Australia fall behind as the industry presses on without us. Which will be our path depends on our approach to finding skilled workers.
Filling the huge skills shortages and fulfilling the potential that we’re so excited about is contingent on creating pathways that encourage people to join the industry. For most non-experts, the idea of moving into a career in NFTs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain likely feels anywhere between highly challenging to impossible. The reality, though, is that a career in the industry is currently more attainable than many people might realise.
There is no formal education stream in Australia for these developing professions – something we urge both policymakers and educators to rectify. In the absence of that, companies like Labrys are seeking proactivity to find or develop junior-level workers, which we’re honing through exposure to incredible projects ‘on the job’.
In fact, many of the growing team at Labrys proactively sought opportunities to develop the coding and blockchain developer skills online that aren’t available through traditional education institutions, and they’re reaping the benefits of that today. Gaining the foundation skills required to join the industry can be achieved through three stages:
- Coding skills – While the barriers to entry are lower than many Australians realise, coding skills are important. These can be developed through free online courses through, for example, CodeAcademy. Used by 50 million amateur coders, the platform enables those who are interested to develop technical skills by writing and editing their own code.
- Blockchain coding skills – Using these general coding skills as the foundation, there are vast amounts of step-by-step blockchain tutorials available on, for example, org. There are similarities between elements of blockchain coding and regular coding, but many differences too. Because NFTs and cryptocurrencies are built using blockchain, anyone eager to develop them must have a sound understanding of blockchain coding on top of the foundational coding skills they’ve already developed.
- Practical exposure – There reaches a point where theoretical understanding must be honed, refined and mastered through practical creation. By creating a Github account and working on projects, it’s easy to build a resume of tangible results. This, ultimately, is what companies like Labrys are looking for over anything else on a CV.
Beyond that, the exposure required to turn rudimentary, entry-level coding skills into deep, technical and advanced blockchain expertise is developed on the job. Whether you want to build NFTs, create a digital currency or build enterprise blockchain solutions, the underlying principles are the same. At Labrys, we’re working with clients from start-ups to ASX-listed companies and Governments to build everything from NFTs to enterprise business blockchain solutions.
It’s an exciting future and an exciting present, and the industry is extremely eager to encourage those seeking a rewarding career to get involved. However, relying solely on individuals taking a proactive approach isn’t a long-term solution, and will have little impact if we want to make Australia a global blockchain powerhouse. If forecasts that Australia needs in excess of a quarter of a million skilled workers in three years are to be believed, policymakers and educators must step up.
While the lure of NFTs and cryptocurrencies are strong for millions of Aussies, turning that passion into a job seems distant and isn’t being prioritised. Until policymakers and educators create the longer-term strategy that the industry needs, it’s up to the industry to make ourselves as accessible as possible to those who are interested. If that’s you, change your mindset, develop free skills online, turn that theoretical learning into practical projects and a career in one of Australia’s most exciting and innovative industries can quickly become incredibly attainable.