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Polkadot Blockchain Academy: Forging Web3’s Future Innovators

August 11, 2023 in Polkadot Blockchain Academy, Community, Polkadot
Avatarby Polkadot

The third cohort of graduates from Polkadot Blockchain Academy are ready to push the boundaries of Web3 following the latest edition of this hugely successful initiative at UC Berkeley, California.

Polkadot Blockchain Academy (PBA), is an academic program designed to shape promising developers into tomorrow’s leading blockchain engineers, with instruction provided by core engineers from the Polkadot ecosystem. Curriculum covers a wide range of disciplines, from economics to governance, game theory, cryptography, peer-based and distributed network systems, systems and API design, and much more. In addition to theoretical modules, students apply their knowledge and build blockchains using Substrate, pallets and FRAME.

With previous editions taking place in Cambridge, England, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Berkeley was chosen for wave 3 for its renowned engineering department, vibrant tech community and innovative spirit, and to extend awareness of Polkadot’s technology to the North American developer community. Wave 3 welcomed 72 highly-driven students, of whom 58 graduated to emerge as the architects of the future, ready to make a real impact on Web3.

The immersive experience of this program has allowed me to interact with people that I would have never come in contact with before, and to come up with ideas that have really enlightened me and helped my projects be a success.” Richard, Founders Track, Polkadot Blockchain Academy, Berkeley 2023

PBA stands on a strong foundation of support from across the Polkadot ecosystem, including parachain teams and other partners, as well as Parity Technologies, a leading contributor to Polkadot, and Web3 Foundation. Leading talents from Moonbeam, Robonomics, Nodle, Scytale Ventures, OAK Network, Aleph Zero, Eluvio, Pendulum, Nodle, Unfinished, Gensyn, InvArch, Amforc, RMRK, KILT Protocol, Polimec, Harbour Industrial, Watr and PolkaHaus were on site representing the strength and depth of the ecosystem.

PBA relies heavily on the instructors and content creators who contribute considerable time and expertise to enrich the curriculum. The third wave also welcomed back alumni who were eager to share their insights and experiences since graduating previous editions.

I met so many new, incredible people from both the founders' track and the engineering track, and also from the PBA faculty and staff. It has opened so many doors in my professional life.” Markella, Engineering Track, Polkadot Blockchain Academy, Berkeley 2023

Unveiling the Founders Track: empowering entrepreneurs

Venturing into the United States marked a significant milestone for PBA, not just for the new location but because, in addition to the battle-tested curriculum for core developers, wave 3 also introduced a new addition to the curriculum: the Founders Track.

The Founders Track equips prospective and early-stage entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and practical skills to contribute to the Polkadot ecosystem. This curriculum provides a technical understanding of Polkadot and Substrate—Polkadot’s blockchain SDK—though at a higher, less granular level. It also explores how Polkadot and Substrate integrate with the broader blockchain landscape, and offers practical guidance for project founding and growth, helping new founders build important connections with established founders and technical experts.

With the Founders Track, PBA is providing a unique opportunity for people with ambitious visions to turn their ideas into reality, driving forward boundless innovation and evolution within Polkadot’s blockspace ecosystem.

This curriculum is largely created and led by key founders and established leaders from Polkadot’s parachains and emerging teams. Thank you to the following contributors for their invaluable input and expert guidance:

  • Derek Yoo, Moonsong Labs
  • Dr Torsten Stüber, Pendulum
  • Piotr Mikolajczyk & Filip Bielejec, Aleph Zero
  • Stephen Shelton, Moonsong Labs
  • Eliott Teissonniere, Nodle
  • Ingo Rübe, KILT Protocol
  • Christoph Kampitsch & Michael Naftaliev, Scytale Digital
  • Chris Li, OAK Network
  • Maryam Ayati, Watr
  • Alexei Zamyatin, Interlay
  • Alison McCauley, Unblocked Future
  • Kasper Mai Jørgensen, Luca von Wyttenbach & Thomas Juel Madsen, Polimec
  • Christina Ellwood, Michelle Munson, Nate Armstrong & Serban Simu, Eluvio
  • Ben Fielding, Gensyn
  • Aleksandr Kapitonov & Vitaly Bulatov, Robonomics
  • Graeme Fox, Societal
  • Dakota Barnett & Gabriel Facco de Arruda, InvArch
  • Gianni Porpiglia, Raffael Huber & Tugay Türkoglu, Amforc
  • Mario Altenburger & Max Rebol, Harbour Industrial
  • Maryam Ayati, Watr
  • Raul Romanutti, JUST Beteiligungen GmbH
  • Sören Winter, Parity Technologies
  • Jaskirat Singh, Polkassembly
  • Luis Ramirez, Astar Network
There’s no reason for you not to apply to Polkadot Blockchain Academy. The Academy provides a rich and intense learning experience. You have to work hard but at the same time you’re gaining a lot of new knowledge, learning together with a whole community who is holding your hand and supporting you. It’s really amazing!” Viviane, Founders Track student, Polkadot Blockchain Academy, Berkeley 2023

Reflecting on a Year of Growth, Empowerment, and Success

PBA has seen significant growth and progress since its first edition one year ago, serving a total of 203 talented students from diverse corners of the globe and of all ages, including both newcomers and those already immersed in the Polkadot ecosystem. Each student has brought their unique talents and perspectives to enrich Polkadot’s thriving community.

While this marks the end of wave three, it’s only the beginning of the journey for the newest PBA graduates as they prepare to make their mark in the Polkadot ecosystem and across Web3. Armed with newfound skills, insights, and connections, graduates are poised to lead the charge in shaping the decentralized future.

The impact on the Polkadot ecosystem from previous waves is already notable. Graduates have secured positions within the Polkadot ecosystem, launched entrepreneurial ventures, and joined the Polkadot Fellowship, the network’s decentralized collective of technical experts.

Future editions of PBA, bringing the program to new regions of the globe, will be announced shortly. Stay tuned for updates by following the Academy’s dedicated Twitter handle. Those interested in applying for a future wave can already register interest on the PBA website:

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