Digital currencies are crawling out of their infancy. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been tracking the rise and fall (and rise again?) of the world’s most famed cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, for over five years now.
Will digital currencies continue to operate on the fringe? We were surprised to find that when we asked over 700 IT pros, a sizable proportion (39%) – over a third – think digital currencies will go mainstream in the next five years. Furthermore, over half (57%) believe digital currencies will ultimately be produced by central banks.
Not only are IT pros confident about the growth of digital currencies, but the majority think entities like Bitcoin will be a source of job creation, with the skill expected to be most in demand being Open Source proficiency.
But what are the obstacles to a future where digital currencies are as widely accepted as mobile payment, or one-day even card payment? Firstly, IT pros are doubtful retailers – whose endorsement is key to its growth – have the skills in-house to offer other payments by digital currency. Concerns from the public over payment security, coupled with a general lack of understanding are also cited as impediments; but these are expected to fade over time.
Crucially, the majority (83%) of IT professionals themselves don’t think the industry understands enough about digital currencies, creating an opportunity for IT professionals to skill-up and take advantage of increasing interest and demand.
Underpinning digital currency is a combination of key computing principles that require IT professionals to have a greater understanding of cryptography and peer-to-peer networking, along with competencies in Open Source. The onus isn’t just on IT pros; it’s important that employers take time to build a firm understanding of skill requirements so they can recruit accordingly or select the best training strategy in-house. However, if IT pros are unwilling or unable to dedicate time to train in these areas, competition for skilled candidates ratchets up to even higher levels. Great for the candidates which have skilled up, but not for the IT community at large.
The potential for digital currencies is vast, but lack of understanding is hindering take-up. Now is the time for IT professionals to skill up, particularly around Open Source, and take advantage of increasing interest in digital currencies.
Richard Nott | @CwJobsUk | CwJobs
Richard Nott is Website Director at CWJobs.co.uk and has worked with the company for 14 years.
CWJobs.co.uk is the leading specialist IT recruitment website serving contract and permanent IT jobseekers throughout the UK and Ireland. The site draws over 509,000 unique users each month, attracted by the opportunity to search an average of more than 10,000 IT job opportunities at any one time.