Categories: Educator guides

Blockchain educator guide

Posted: August 9, 2017 Modified: March 22, 2018


This educator guide helps you to:

  • Learn about blockchain technology and build blockchain applications
  • Learn about Hyperledger, an open source effort to advance blockchain technology hosted by The Linux Foundation
  • Find assets, labs, and other resources to use in your classroom

Audience

This guide is for educators who want to help students learn about blockchain and inspire them to start building blockchain applications. This guide includes:

  • Introductory videos
  • Tutorials and corresponding labs
  • Hands-on exercises
  • Additional resource materials

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a decentralized network that is used to exchange assets and conduct trusted and immutable transactions. Although blockchain technology was popularized by Bitcoin, it has emerged as a disruptive way to conduct transactions within business networks. Blockchain technology has generated wide interest as enterprises look to transform the way they manage records, move and settle financial assets, and manage their supply chain.

What are some of the developing blockchain careers?

As businesses have looked to start and join blockchain networks, demand for blockchain skills has far exceeded supply. As a result, schools are now including blockchain in their curricula. As the number of related jobs has surged, blockchain has joined cloud, big data, and artificial intelligence as one of the hottest technical frontiers.

Students who are familiar or have a strong interest in the following areas have an excellent skill foundation to work with Blockchain technologies:

  • Golang and JavaScript skills offer a strong foundation for building blockchain applications.
  • Distributed computing and cryptography skills offer a strong background for understanding and researching blockchain technology.
  • A strong understanding of business processes and operations are critical in building and deploying blockchain networks.

The following are some of the careers that are growing with the adoption of blockchain technology.

Blockchain Developers

Blockchain developers turn the logic of business networks into chaincode (often referred to as smart contracts) that can make changes to the underlying distributed ledger. Blockchain applications also require a front-end that allow users to interact with the chaincode in a safe and understandable way. Programmers familiar with Golang or JavaScript have a good foundation to build these skills.

Blockchain developers should start by taking the Blockchain Essentials course on developerWorks, and then dive deeper into the details using the IBM Blockchain Foundations developer course. Developers should then work with the developer sandbox and experiment with the blockchain application samples in this guide. For a deeper understanding of the technical fundamentals, students can also study the presentations and labs used in the IBM Blockchain workshop. They can also watch the material presented by experts on the IBM Blockchain Youtube channel. 

Blockchain Consultants

Consultants help businesses to adopt blockchain technology and build the network of organizations using blockchain applications and solutions. Consultants need to understand the principles of blockchain technology, the systems with which they will interact, and the business operations and processes that need to be transferred onto blockchain applications.

Students interested in blockchain consulting should start with the Blockchain Essentials course on developerWorks and then study the blockchain solutions presentation used in the IBM Blockchain workshop. They can also watch the material presented by experts on the IBM Blockchain Youtube channel.

Blockchain Architects

New blockchain networks need to interact with complex, incumbent IT systems in order to receive data, to trigger actions, and to learn about external events. Architects with a strong understanding of enterprise systems are important in enabling blockchain technology to be deployed efficiently and to interact appropriately with data and users on other applications.

Students interested in blockchain architecture should start with the Blockchain Essentials course on developerWorks. Then they should study the blockchain solutions, blockchain composed, and blockchain architected presentations used in the IBM Blockchain workshop. They can also watch the material presented by experts on the IBM Blockchain Youtube channel.

What are some of the things that IBM Blockchain provides?

Community

IBM is a founding and premier member of the Hyperledger consortium. We are building it alongside our Hyperledger partners.

IBM Blockchain is bringing together industry-leading partners to create new business networks and new solutions enabled by blockchain technology.

Insight

We bring analytics to your blockchain, enabling you to learn more from your blockchain data through artificial intelligence. We offer industry-specific knowledge from hundreds of client engagements and from building blockchain solutions that form networks across large companies.

Certainty

IBM Blockchain provides a secure blockchain infrastructure that provides users complete control over participants, roles, and access.

What is Hyperledger?

The goal of IBM Blockchain is to contribute to the open-source blockchain technology being developed by the Hyperledger community and to develop platforms and solutions that help businesses adopt enterprise blockchain technology. The most important concepts to understand are Hyperledger and the two projects to which IBM contributes: Hyperledger Composer and Hyperledger Fabric.

  • Hyperledger is an open-source effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration that includes leaders in finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing, and technology. Hyperledger is hosted by The Linux Foundation, and it is the fastest-growing project in The Linux Foundation history.
  • Hyperledger Composer is an extensive, open-development toolset and framework to make it easier to develop blockchain applications. Composer enables developers to build blockchain applications using common developer tools such as JavaScript, Node.JS, NPM, and Angular2.
  • Hyperledger Fabric is a platform for distributed ledger networks. Built specifically for business environments, Hyperledger Fabric offers important contributions in scalability, security, and modularity. Fabric uses container technology as a platform to host smart contracts written in GoCode.

How do students get started?

Introductory resources

Online courses

  • The Blockchain Essentials course on developerWorks helps students understand blockchain technology and how it can be applied to solve business problems. The course introduces the Hyperledger project, as well as Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer, as well as provides hands-on lab exercises demonstrating the transfer of assets across a business network using a blockchain application.
  • The IBM Blockchain Foundations developer course expands on the Blockchain Essentials course and provides a detailed overview of the components of blockchain business networks. This course provides direct experience modeling a business network using Hyperledger Composer, followed by an introduction to working with chaincode directly on Hyperledger Fabric using command-line tools.

Hands-on resources for IBM Blockchain

  • Students and educators can develop applications for free using the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan. The Starter Plan provides a cloud-based development environment with deployable sample applications and an easy-to-use UI. The Starter Plan is ideal for those who are learning about blockchain. Promo codes are available for students (6-month trial) and for educators (12-month trial). You can use your promo code to access the Starter Plan (beta) and deploy a network with only a few clicks and without a credit card.
  • Visit this Getting started page to learn about the available options and tools if you are interested in starting on your local machine.
  • You can use the open source Hyperledger Composer documentation to start building your business network, and use tools to deploy that network to a working blockchain.
    • Start with the Playground Tutorial to learn the basics of modeling a business network. The playground tutorial also includes a directory of sample networks to start with.
    • Once you understand the basics using the playground tutorial, explore the rest of the Composer tutorials to start using the full developer environment and deploy your network to an instance Hyperledger Fabric.
  • To work directly with the open source Hyperledger Fabric, you can start with the community documentation:
    • Start with the Writing Your First Application tutorial to deploy chaincode onto a Fabric instance and use the SDK to query the ledger and transfer assets.
    • The Marbles demo is a more complex sample that dives deeper into chaincode and the Hyperledger Fabric SDK.
    • The Building Your First Network tutorial takes you through the steps of setting up a new network and demonstrates how to use the different fabric components.
    • Other application samples are publicly available from the Hyperledger project.

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