A Guide to Crypto For College Students
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A Guide to Crypto For College Students

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5 months ago

How do I start a career in crypto? Do I need a blockchain degree to work for a crypto firm? We answer all those questions and more in our guide below.

A Guide to Crypto For College Students

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The crypto space is growing fast, and the jobs boards are engulfed with crypto roles.

Naturally, a lot of college students and graduates are asking: how do I start a career in crypto?  Do I need a blockchain degree to work for a crypto firm? Or should I do a more general degree and follow it up with some crypto short courses?

2021 was a breakout year for the crypto and blockchain industries, and the world took notice.

Judging by coin and token values, the World Economic Forum estimates that the crypto and blockchain sector grew by nearly 200% last year.  Because of this immense and rapid growth, crypto and blockchain firms now desperately need many more smart, hardworking college graduates for a wide variety of roles.
In fact, TechRepublic reports that crypto and blockchain companies increased their job postings by 118% last year when compared to the year before.   These companies are looking for graphic designers and communications grads to run their media campaigns. They need AI, software and blockchain engineers to build their underlying infrastructure.

And they also need business, product and operations managers to keep the cogs and wheels turning.  The thousands of crypto jobs postings haven’t gone unnoticed; college grads and professionals alike are showing a strong interest in these jobs. In fact, the job site Indeed reports that user searches for crypto and blockchain positions spiked last year alongside the number of postings themselves.

So why are today’s graduates applying for jobs in crypto?

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Why Work in Crypto?

There are a number of reasons graduates want to work in crypto, first and foremost that it’s an incredibly fun and exciting sector to work in.

#1 Crypto and Blockchain Experience Open Doors

Firstly, college graduates with crypto and blockchain experience will have many more opportunities open to them as they advance in their careers than graduates without crypto experience — this is because crypto and blockchain are being rapidly adopted in practically every sector.

In fact, a Deloitte survey found that 73% of senior executives agreed that their organization would be less competitive should it fail to incorporate blockchain technology and digital assets.

Why? Simply because blockchain and crypto are streamlining the way businesses operate in seemingly every sector.  Therefore, knowing how blockchains and cryptocurrencies work will give any graduate a noteworthy advantage over other candidates for jobs.

Also, crypto-native college grads don’t necessarily need to work in the crypto space for their whole careers. They could take their unique skills and experience to other sectors as well.

In time, and with some experience, college grads with crypto experience could position themselves for senior, decision making roles. These roles could help organizations to adopt blockchain-related technologies and evolve their businesses to capitalize on the new decentralized era of the web.

#2 Above Average Salaries

Salaries in the crypto and blockchain space are well above average pretty much regardless of which job you’re looking for.

According to Cryptocurrency Jobs, technical roles like blockchain and backend crypto developers earn between seventy and two hundred thousand dollars a year.

Customer-focused staff earn good money, too. Community managers and customer support staff reportedly earn between fifty-five and a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year.

Of course, the crypto sphere needs creatives as well, who can also earn a respectable pay packet. Graphic designers working in crypto, for example, often earn upwards of seventy thousand dollars a year.

#3 Remote and Flexible Working

Besides working on the forefront of the next tech wave, learning about revolutionary new technology and earning a decent salary, the crypto space offers a number of smaller benefits to students as well, one of which is remote working.

A significant percentage of crypto roles are remote, making them perfect for students or grads who need to work around school hours or any other commitment.

Remote working also benefits those students who want to balance their lectures and seminars with a part-time job to gain some experience while working.

Students working or studying in developing countries can also benefit from working in remote crypto jobs, as they can earn a salary far beyond what they could hope to earn by working a salaried position paid in the local currency.

Who Are Crypto Firms Looking For?

Crypto firms — at least those out of the startup phase — need smart, hardworking people with experience or qualifications in seemingly every speciality.

You shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that the only crypto jobs up for grabs are for programmers, AI builders, or software engineers. And don’t go thinking that all crypto jobs require a strong technical background and a robust knowledge of the inner workings of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

While on some level there’s truth to that idea, the truth is that you don’t need to be a college-certified crypto expert or have a degree in blockchain to land a job in crypto.

Crypto firms, like every other sector, need people managers, creatives, communications experts, PR specialists and all the other roles in every other sector, many of whom won’t necessarily have — or even need — specialist crypto knowledge.

So don’t be deterred if you’re in college but you’ve never heard of Solidity, or even if you don’t know what an NFT is! There’s such a wide variety of crypto roles in non-technical fields today that as long as you can grasp the basics, you can work in crypto!

#1 University Degrees

While many crypto jobs don’t require any formal education, universities around the world have begun offering crypto and blockchain-related courses. And yet, most haven’t launched full-time blockchain, fintech, or crypto courses. Instead, they’re running modules or classes that students can study as part of a more general degree, like computer science or software engineering.

The fact that universities don’t offer comprehensive blockchain or crypto courses just yet isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re a student now — or you will be in the future.

You don’t need to study a crypto-specific degree to work in crypto, even in technical roles!

Just like how journalism degrees aren’t usually specific to the business or politics sectors, a general software or computer science degree would be perfectly adequate for most crypto roles, even if the course itself doesn’t cover crypto.

And as most universities aren’t offering degrees specifically in crypto, crypto firms aren’t usually looking for a degree specific to blockchain or crypto. In fact, many don’t require a degree at all. Ethereum recommends finding bounties on Gitcoin and attending hackathons to anybody looking to work with the world’s largest smart contract platform.
But if you definitely want to study cryptoassets or blockchain building at college, you have options. CoinDesk has helpfully put together a list of the top fifty universities around the world currently offering crypto-related degrees and courses. The National University of Singapore currently tops the leaderboards, with Melbourne Institute of Technology and UC Berkeley taking second and third places.

Several other universities have opened research centers dedicated to exploring blockchains and cryptoassets, so keep an eye out for blockchain and crypto degrees.

But what do you do if you’ve already got a degree, or you don’t want to fork out eighty grand to go to college?

#2 Short Courses

Those of you who already have a degree or are on a budget should definitely check out crypto short courses.

The thousands of crypto short courses on offer today provide college graduates and people without degrees an easy path into crypto without breaking the bank. Some of them are even free. In fact, there are so many short courses available that working out which course you should do can require some hefty research!

Most short courses take between two and six weeks to complete, and can be split into two categories: university-run short courses, and commercial courses.

First, let’s take a look at university short courses.

In addition to offering crypto-specific degrees, a number of universities have begun offering short courses covering all manner of crypto subjects, like building DApps and blockchains from scratch.

More than a few universities are offering these courses already.  Wharton, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, New York University and MIT have all launched crypto short courses — and that’s just in the States.

Oxford and Cambridge universities in the UK both offer crypto courses as well, as does Zurich University in Switzerland and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Keep in mind that while some of the short courses run by universities are affordable, they do cost, for the most part, a few thousand dollars.

But don’t worry if you don’t have that kind of cash lying around. There are plenty of skill-learning websites that offer fantastic courses that don’t break the bank, three of which are Skillshare, Udemy and Coursera.

Each of these platforms provides courses covering everything you could ever need to know about crypto and blockchain: from crypto mining and rig building, to creating smart contracts with Solidity and building blockchains from scratch.

And like we said earlier, if you’re a parent or you’re on a tight schedule, you can complete short courses as and when you like, even if you’re working a full-time job.

As you can see, whether you’re a college grad interested in a crypto career, or a student looking to broaden your horizons, taking some crypto short courses will definitely help you land a killer crypto job.

#3 Internal Training Schemes

Lastly, let’s take a look at a relatively new way for college grads to sink their teeth into crypto: internal training programs.

Internal training schemes, which are also called in-house or sometimes on-the-job training schemes, are positions where a company pays you to train and work with them.

Unfortunately, internal training schemes are pretty rare, especially in the crypto space. Only a handful of companies offer them today, one of which is VISA. Right now, VISA is advertising for a number of positions on its new crypto rotational program which lasts for 18 months.

Successful applicants will work three different placements in VISA’s crypto product, crypto solutions and digital partnerships departments.

As you can imagine, landing one of the positions on VISA’s team would be an amazing opportunity to learn about DeFi, NFTs, stablecoins, and loads of other crypto subjects, all while getting paid.

Obviously, being paid to learn about and work in crypto is ideal, but as we said earlier, placement schemes like VISA’s don’t turn up every day, and competition is obviously fierce.

But still, if you can land a spot on one, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

What Do You Do If You’re Not an Engineer or Computer Science Major?

A lot of the courses we’ve looked at so far are targeted more at students or professionals looking for technical roles like developers or software engineers.

But what should you do if you’re a content creator, or a product manager or even a business development executive, who wants to break into crypto?

If you fall into any of these categories, we recommend you start with some free courses or learning materials, and one of the best places to start is CoinMarketCap’s own Alexandria Library.

The Alexandria Library is the home of all the information you will ever need about cryptocurrencies.

From basics topics like what blockchains and NFTs are and how they work, to advanced concepts like technical trading patterns and smart contract programming languages, you can find it all in the Alexandria library.

If you’re a non-techie who wants to learn more about crypto, Alexandria is the perfect place to start your crypto journey.

Just head over to the Alexandria website, click learn, then choose either the Crypto Basics or How-to Guides tabs and start reading. You’ll be a crypto expert before you know it.

Alternatively, you could check out some of the explainer series on our YouTube channel, including our How-to, Simply Speaking and What Is series’.

Like we said earlier, the crypto space is an incredibly exciting and rewarding place to work right now. As for the path for each college student wanting to work in crypto… as we’ve said, it really depends on the kind of role you want.

If you’re a student looking for a tech role in crypto, you can do either a degree which allows you to study crypto, or you can do a more general degree and do some short courses on the side.

If you’re a college graduate looking for a tech role in crypto, you should check out some free short courses to start with, and then move onto some of the paid university short courses.

And if you’re looking for a non-tech role in crypto, you just need to start learning about crypto by taking some free courses, and then move on to short courses if you feel it’s necessary.

Still, no matter where you want to work in crypto, know that you have options.

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