Blockchain platforms are often misunderstood, even by people with a strong background in software development. Their tricky technical nature means that the crypto industry faces an acute shortage of developers.
While many developers are believed to be interested in blockchain development and building applications for the future Web3, it can be a challenging industry to enter as there are many new concepts that must be learned.
If blockchains are going to be able to attract developers to build applications and services on their networks, then they’re going to need to teach them how to do it first. While there are many blockchain developer courses advertised online today, the majority of these target popular networks such as Ethereum, Polkadot, Solana and so on. It’s much harder for developers to learn about the skills required for newer networks.
Native blockchain academies
The onus is generally on blockchain networks to help developers familiarize themselves with their platforms. Besides the requirement that developers learn a new coding language (which is sometimes specific to just a single platform), they also need to grasp many unique blockchain techniques, especially the consensus mechanism used by the platform. Different blockchains may also implement new smart contract elements not seen on other platforms.
Typically, blockchain projects will do all of this online. Solana, for instance, has published a massive amount of developer resources on its website, encouraging developers to work things out for themselves. However, some more ambitious networks have gone further, establishing native blockchain academies to encourage developers to become experts in their platforms.
Doing this can be risky. Establishing a physical academy requires a steep investment, which means redirecting funds that would otherwise be spent on platform development, marketing and other areas of the business.
On the other hand, a blockchain coding academy can have enormous payoffs, helping new projects to attract much-needed developer talent that will eventually lead to growth in the longer-term.
The rapid growth of Yellow Network over the last year is a case in point, as it has been driven by a constant stream of new and young developer talent fresh out of its Hackademy, a physical learning center based at the National Ukrainian Kyiv Polytechnical University in Ukraine.
Yellow Network was formed by the merger of Openware and Yellow Trading to create a Layer-3 blockchain network that’s designed to enable cross-chain trading without the use of risky blockchain bridges. It’s an extremely innovative project that relies on numerous cutting-edge technologies and functionality not seen on other blockchain platforms. Yellow Network decided it needed a reliable way to teach developers about these concepts, and settled on the creation of its Hackademy as the best solution.
At Yellow Network’s Hackademy, developers embark on a 12-week course where they get to learn the basics of its development methodologies, such as Agile and Scrum. They also learn to familiarize themselves with cloud container technologies such as Kubernetes, as well as the essentials of blockchain, crypto and fintech itself.
The Hackademy course is entirely free for developers to attend, and they’ll also get to learn about programming languages such as Ruby on Rails and C, as well as the Linux operating system and concepts such as Shell Scripting. Additionally, DevOps practices, cloud automation, microservices, infrastructure-as-code provisioning and container application development are also taught, arming developers with everything they need to know to begin building innovative apps on Yellow Network.
Investing in talent pays off
Yellow Network says the Hackademy course has now been running for four years, and that its community of builders is growing at a pace of around five new developers each month.
No doubt Yellow Network made a big investment in its Hackademy, but it has enjoyed strong progress as a result. The project has secured $10 million in funding from venture capital and convinced no less than 10 crypto exchanges to join its network ahead of its launch. Its canary network, the Yellow Duckies game, has also proven to be extremely popular, emerging as one of the most exciting NFT projects this year. According to its Docs, it is well on the way to reaching its goal of having more than 1,000 participants operating on its network by 2025.
The success of Hackademy shows that blockchain academies can be a worthwhile investment. If done right, they can serve as a desperately-needed bridge for thousands of programmers who are interested in blockchain and crypto, but do not have any experience with Web3 technologies.
By attracting developers on their own terms, teaching them the languages and techniques specific to their network, blockchain projects can build up an exclusive pool of talent that’s eager to innovate on their platforms and drive long-term ecosystem growth.
Featured image credit: Hitesh Choudhary / Unsplash