The crypto graduates are coming — and they want your finance jobs

Veterans of traditional finance watch out: An ever-growing horde of graduates armed with crypto skills will soon enter the workforce as universities ramp up efforts to teach the subject.

The number of students enrolling in courses teaching crypto and blockchain is growing by hundreds each year, British universities tell Financial News.

While major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have slumped this year, the number of jobs in finance requiring knowledge of the sector continues to increase. JPMorgan has 16 live job postings that require knowledge of blockchain or crypto, Citigroup has 11, while ratings agency Moody’s has 12, according to Indeed data. 

Elsewhere, asset managers including Fidelity are also building out digital assets teams, and challenger bank Revolut is rapidly expanding in crypto.

University courses could be the ones to fill the gap — and demand for crypto and blockchain-related teaching is growing. Exeter, the eighth-best university for business-related undergraduate degrees according to ratings agency the Complete University Guide, told FN its Bitcoin, Money and Trust module has grown in popularity by 1,300% in four years. 

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The unit, which is offered to students across its business, economics and accounting courses, has 700 students signed up for the coming term, compared to 50 when it launched in 2018.

Dr Jack Rogers, who runs the course at Exeter, told FN that a number of previous graduates who went on to jobs in finance had contacted him in recent years to say their new colleagues didn’t know anything about crypto.

“You don’t necessarily need to know in great detail how it works in these jobs,” Rogers said. “But you need to know what you can do with the technology and how it can improve existing systems.”

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In a tight job market where junior salaries have soared, the extra crypto credentials could give graduates an edge to win the highest-paying roles.

Professor Dave Cliff at the University of Bristol runs a module on crypto as part of a broader fintech degree. The university has offered students the course since 2014.

Cliff said many of its 800 graduates have already gone on to work for major investment banks, hedge funds, and fintech startups.

University College London runs a master’s course in emerging digital technologies at its Centre for Blockchain Technologies, while the University of Oxford has several blockchain research centres.

Both UCL and Oxford are also part of a programme set up by crypto payments giant Ripple designed to support research and education in the space. Ripple has put about $50m into the initiative, which also includes MIT and Princeton in the US, the University of Tokyo, and dozens of others.

READ JPMorgan’s blockchain boss on why ‘most of crypto is still junk’

Elsewhere, the University of Southampton is launching a three-year undergraduate course in fintech this September, which includes modules on cryptocurrency.

The University of Warwick already runs modules in crypto and blockchain and is planning to expand its offering in the area. The University of Reading offers a degree that runs crypto and blockchain modules, which has grown from 20 to 50 students in the last three years.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Alex Daniel

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