Do you need to be a developer to work in blockchain?

Fact or fiction video addresses the question

About the series

Fact or fiction? breaks down common myths and misconceptions about digital transformation, while showcasing KPMG leaders’ perspectives on related topics such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, and the impact of these emerging technologies on the workforce, businesses and society. 

Episode Four

Understanding the business problem while working with blockchain requires a hacker mentality, but you don’t necessarily need to be a developer to drive the solution. KPMG’s Tegan Keele dives into the skillsets to work in blockchain in the latest episode..

Top four blockchain skillsets

By Tegan Keele

The hype around blockchain is finally fading as businesses learn what blockchain is, what it is not, and what it will be capable of. While no panacea, blockchain is already helping businesses mitigate recalls and fraud, drive new process efficiencies and reduce costs. We also expect to see an increase in the number of companies exploring this technology in the months ahead – from identifying new business models to piloting projects and, ultimately, progressing to scalable solutions.

Although the noise is quieting down, blockchain will soon face a new challenge: a severe lack of talent. Somewhat surprisingly, a significant amount of the talent and interest resides on college campuses. Younger generations witnessed the maturity and evolution of bitcoin and blockchain, and as such, are the most comfortable with this technology.

As a platform that transcends business silos, blockchain depends on teams with industry expertise and business acumen. And, new hires – whether a recent grad or experienced professional – do not need to be technologists to be considered for a blockchain position. While these skills can be learned in non-technical roles, they are essential to successfully deploy – and most importantly, scaling – blockchain solutions.

Here are the most-needed skillsets:

1.   Business acumen – The number of user roles and entities that blockchain touches is more than any other emerging tech before it – from IT to finance to procurement to the mailroom. Each user from each entity has a unique view, which requires a deep understanding of specific processes across the business. This varying expertise is crucial when creating and defining a compelling use case and value proposition for a blockchain project.

2.   Tech literacy - While it’s important to understand the technical concepts of how blockchain works, it’s most critical to understand how to apply that knowledge to a use case. Members of a blockchain team should understand the difference between a wide range of technologies (cloud, protocols, consensus mechanisms, ERPs, networks, etc.) and when to use different mechanisms and platforms. This will help ensure they can understand how blockchain interacts within an existing technology ecosystem, and how that ecosystem will impact the design of the blockchain solution. And for those who are planning to work on the development side of blockchain, some knowledge of coding (JavaScript, HTML, solidity, etc.) is helpful for blockchain development.

3.   Data analysis – While most team members do not need to be technologists to work on blockchain projects, the team must include data analysts who can tap into one of blockchain’s greatest benefits – data. Being able to understand and make use of the data gleaned from a blockchain – and present it in a meaningful way to each of the varying user roles – is key to success.

4.   Hacker mentality – Given the lack of coursework around blockchain and its relatively new existence in the enterprise, the team must be open and able to explore and experiment by “hacking the problem” from a business and technology perspective. This means working collaboratively in a workshop-type setting to think through the business objectives, implications and value story for each of the participants and then defining the architecture and overall solution flow. It is this collaborative approach that leads to a successful application of blockchain.

Tegan Keele is the U.S. Blockchain Program lead and a director in KPMG's Advisory practice.. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Stephanie Trefcer.

Fact or fiction videos

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Tegan Keele

Tegan Keele

US Blockchain Program Leader, KPMG US

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Media contact

Stephanie Trefcer

Stephanie Trefcer

Senior Associate, Communications, KPMG US

+1 201-505-6844