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When Government Research Provides Career Direction

April 24, 2020
Sharon Moran


When Government Research Provides Career Direction

Last May, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) published Blockchain Compliance with Federal Cryptographic Information Processing Standards. James P. Howard II and Maria E. Vachino co-authored the assessment which looked at four blockchain platforms.

The researchers evaluated the following platforms:

  • Ethereum
  • Hyperledger Fabric
  • R3 Corda
  • Multichain

The researchers evaluated how well each of these four blockchain technologies complied with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cryptographic standards. They concluded that R3’s Corda blockchain can fulfill the NIST requirements.

To even be considered, though, for evaluation in the first place, the blockchain platforms had to meet three parameters, the key one being whether it “is supported by a single business or consortium responsible for developing standards and guiding future work.” This is the most relevant piece for IT hiring managers, government employees seeking career advancement, and small business contractors interested in applying for federal contracts. If R3’s Corda blockchain emerges as the platform of choice for federal projects, we’ll likely see an increase in demand for Corda certified professionals.

So what exactly does it take to achieve Corda Certification? While developers interested in the exam are not required to take the Corda Developer Training course, at minimum they are expected to pursue a similar course of self-study of the Corda Documentation. The Corda Developer exam consists of 70 multiple-choice questions. The topics covered on this objective assessment include states, contracts, transactions, flows, Corda Nodes, and Corda Networks.

The extent to which U.S. agencies use Linux-based computer systems has increased in the last two decades. However, Linux has widespread commercial adoption which makes its Hyperledger certifications a better fit for software professionals interested in enterprise blockchains.

In contrast to the Corda exam, the exams for Hyperledger are not multiple choice. Each of the Hyperledger exams involves evaluating multiple domains and competencies through performance-based tasks that solely require the command line or a combination of the command line and a Web IDE (Integrated Development Environment) depending on which exam the developer is taking: Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator, Hyperledger Fabric Administrator, or Hyperledger Fabric Developer.

Bitcoin as a blockchain represents the ultimate standard in decentralization and more readily appeals to individuals. However, both the U.S. government and private enterprise have different priorities and end goals that make permissioned blockchains entirely suitable. Aspiring blockchain developers willing and interested in working with permissioned blockchain technologies would benefit from achieving certification in either Corda or Hyperledger to prove technical expertise and increase employment opportunities.