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Introducing the Polkadot Blockchain Academy: Coming to California, Summer 2023

March 3, 2023 in Polkadot, Community
Avatarby Polkadot

After a successful first wave in Cambridge in Summer 2022, and an even bigger second wave in Buenos Aires earlier this year, the Polkadot Blockchain Academy is ready to head for California for the first time this coming summer.

Prospective students can already apply to join the Academy’s third wave cohort at Berkeley, California, USA, which will start July 10th, 2023.

What is the Polkadot Blockchain Academy?

The Polkadot Blockchain Academy is an academic program founded by Polkadot founder Gavin Wood designed to train the next generation of top blockchain engineers. The Academy is a powerful illustration of the Polkadot community’s strong commitment to education.

The goal of the Academy is to take talented engineers who are at the beginning of their Web3 journey, teach them everything they need to know to become a brilliant Web3 engineer, and provide them with an opportunity to join and contribute to the Polkadot ecosystem — all in an intensive but incredibly fun month-long academic program.

Academy students have the extraordinary opportunity to learn about blockchain development directly from the core engineers behind Substrate and Polkadot, including in previous waves from Polkadot founders Gavin Wood and Robert Habermeier, as well as from founders and engineers of Polkadot ecosystem parachains like Moonbeam, Pendulum, Encointer and more. They also have the chance to network and socialize with like-minded developers from around the world and create memorable experiences to last a lifetime.

Students learn about the following topics in a hands-on environment:

  • Cryptography
  • Economics & game theory
  • Blockchains
  • Substrate
  • FRAME & pallet development
  • Polkadot & parachains
  • Smart contracts
  • Cross-consensus messaging (XCM)

At the end of this journey, successful graduates are ready to be part of the next generation of top blockchain engineers, with a firm foundation in Polkadot’s advanced Web3 technology.

Tackling the ‘why’ of Web3

A significant portion of the course material is not specifically focused on Polkadot. Students receive instruction on the importance of building a Web3 world, especially in consideration of its socio-economic implications. It’s felt that a solid foundation in understanding the value of Web3 produces blockchain engineers who will have the tools to think deeply about the models they’re building and the use cases they’re tackling.

Academy students get a more holistic Web3 journey — it’s not simply about learning a basic set of practical skills to get them building.

What skills do I need to get into the Academy?

As well as a thirst for learning and a commitment to work hard while developing rapidly as a blockchain engineer, it’s essential that all students begin with some coding experience and knowledge of Rust.

Students will also need to travel to the venue — and have the required visa. The Academy is an in-person experience: it builds a community, and provides opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, co-working and networking that replicates the experience of university life. There is no option to enroll as a remote learner.

The journey so far

Wave 1 of the Academy took place in Cambridge, UK in July-August 2022. 55 students came together from across the globe, with a wide range of ages and backgrounds spanning newly graduated computer science students to veteran software engineers with 20+ experience in the Web2 world. Following more than 160 teaching hours over 30 days, 37 students graduated successfully, with 15 entering directly into careers in the Polkadot ecosystem. Watch the recap video from Wave 1 here.

Wave 2 took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January-February 2023, in partnership with the University of Buenos Aires. Demand for enrollment far exceeded capacity, with 76 students being selected from a pool of nearly 800 interested applicants. The majority of students came from Latin America, with a large cohort coming from Europe, and others from North America, Asia, and Africa. Just weeks after the conclusion of Wave 2, successful graduates are already being offered careers in the Polkadot ecosystem. Watch the recap video from Wave 2 here.

What do students say about the Polkadot Blockchain Academy?

“The academy is amazing! Very high quality teaching. Great resources! Great people! Really enjoying it! The social aspect - all studying together, struggling together, overcoming challenges together.”

“Topics such as economics and governance - there are not many resources in the context of Web3 about them. The academy provides an in-depth understanding of these topics.”

“The Polkadot Blockchain Academy at Cambridge University was an amazing experience. Learning from Gavin Wood and lead engineers from Parity and the Web3 Foundation tremendously enhanced my knowledge in cryptography, blockchain and Polkadot. The entire Polkadot ecosystem is very keen on helping developers and projects grow and succeed. It was a privilege to be guided by such an accomplished and supportive group of people.”

What else happens at the Academy?

The Polkadot Blockchain Academy isn’t just about learning. Lectures are supplemented by a variety of side events, with the importance of networking emphasized. Students also get a chance to hear from some of the key people behind the creation of the Polkadot network, including Polkadot founder Gavin Wood - watch his fireside chat in Buenos Aires - and other major figures behind the Polkadot code, such as Polkadot founder Robert Habermeier and Parity Technologies Engineering Lead Shawn Tabrizi.

Ready to apply for the Polkadot Blockchain Academy?

The third edition of the Academy will take place in Berkeley, California at UC Berkeley between July 10th and August 10th, 2023, through the Academy’s collaboration membership with the Berkeley Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence.

If you think you have what it takes to become a top blockchain engineer, now is the time to apply for Wave 3. Know someone else who may be interested? Share the link below with them and help send them on their way to Web3 engineering excellence!


Interested in developing for or building on Polkadot? Get in touch for hands-on support.

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