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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Imagine getting paid to learn, and afterwards - land a job. BitDegree's revolutionary vision & my interview with the CEO...


BitDegree has one of the most revolutionary idea's ive seen among ICO's this year, they're out to change the entire process: from higher education, to landing a job.  I spoke with Andrius Punta, BitDegree's CEO to get the run down!

You point out that the current higher education system is 'flawed' - what are those flaws, and how does BitDegree address those issues?


This is a big question, but I will try to keep my answer short! At BitDegree, we known a while ago that there is a gap between what is currently taught in institutions of higher education, and what students actually need to find a job in their field of study. The current education system is stuck in the past and uses outdated learning models. That is why we aim to provide our learners with the I.T. and tech skills they need to succeed in today’s labour market. One way we will do this is by making all of our courses online and gamified, as opposed to ‘standard’ lectures where students are spoken ‘at’, rather than engaging with what they are actually studying. This gap in what is taught and what is needed to find meaningful and relative employment leads to university graduates, for example, becoming frustrated in not being able to find a relevant job after having spent a tonne of money on a degree, and for what? Filling a position for which they’re ‘technically’ overqualified? By rewarding BitDegree students with BitDegree tokens for the progress they make on one of our courses, our
gamified approach to learning will keep them motivated, and our development of a smaller skillset and applied knowledge will guarantee them with the job they want.

What's some specific courses someone coming to BitDegree could take?

BitDegree prides itself on being a blockchain-based and future technology-orientated platform, so when the BitDegree it is fully operational, its students can, for example, become smart contract developers. At present there is a huge demand for blockchain developers, but there are very few qualified candidates. This is just one way how BitDegree can fill a hugely profitable niche for students. Those who wish to start early and provide feedback about the platform are welcome to try out our MVP, which features Smart Contract development with Solidity. Other courses we plan to launch in the future include web development theory, Zerocoin protocol & cryptography, Artificial Intelligence, plus others.

Guide me though what that course will look like, and how will you determine someone has passed?

Let’s use the Solidity course on our MVP as an example. Firstly, the learner will have to complete one task to move onto the next. We also have a live “Blockchain Ethereum Emulator”, which allows students to test their skills in a real-life environment. It’s like a micro version of the real Ethereum blockchain that students can easily use, experiment with, and of course, learn via a friendly interface. Each course will have mentors who will prepare tests and assignments in order to give the student a final assessment. Mentors will also guide and help students throughout their course of study. Be sure to give it a try!

From a students point of view, I think the most revolutionary aspect of this is earning tokens through taking courses - basically being paid to learn. In this scenario the companies hiring act as sponsors - could you break down how this process works?

Certainly! Imagine that you are a company who is crying out to hire blockchain developers. You can either do this in one or two ways: firstly, you could go down the traditional route of looking to fill the position via online job ads, recruitment agencies, so-on- and-so- forth. This can be very expensive and very time consuming. Second, you could create and sponsor an online course on the BitDegree platform, and get access to the pre-screened talent who already have, or are developing, the skills required for the role you are looking to fill. Your courses will always be accessible via BitDegree platform so, you will be able to update it to match industry trends and the skills you are looking for in employees.

So let's say as a student, i've now completed several courses though Bitdegree - how does that land me a job?

There will be list of job openings on the BitDegree platform that require the skills you learnt with us, and you will be able apply to these positions directly. Similarly, if you are on a course created by an employer, you can gain the skills they want, and they may offer you a position once you have completed that course of study.

Is the goal to be an an actual alternative to College?

It sounds ambitious, but we actually want to be better than higher education institutions! We plan to do this bypreparing students with what they actually need to know via our gamified learning platform, which will allow them to put what they learnt into practice interactively. This will give them the confidence to enter the I.T. and tech job market knowing they have exactly what it takes to succeed in the role they are looking for.

Okay now let's talk about a company recruiting talent. Let's theoretically say i'm a recruiter looking for coders, how can I use BitDegree to find qualified candidates?

The BitDegree platform is currently in its prototype stage and more fixed details will be announced after the crowdsale. According to the BitDegree token economy cycle, a company has two options to choose from. The first choice is obtaining BitDegree tokens and using them as contribution into course creation based on your company’s needs. The second option is slightly different: you, as a company, can choose to sponsor courses that already exist on the BitDegree platform. Simply decide, what type of courses you want to sponsor, the start/end date of the courses, how many positions you want to fill, the size of the token scholarships, and other similar details. At BitDegree, you’ll be in complete control - you can even choose localities from which the students can take part in courses! Each student who successfully completes the required courses can apply to fill the position. So, BitDegree platform is really flexible and surely will match your needs!

What advantages would there be to a company finding talent though Bitdegree, over the standard 'send in your resume' process today?

This is easy! Using BitDegree platform means that employers have access to pre-screened talent, as they’ve already proved to have the skills desired by an employer. BitDegree also makes the hiring process easier and more cost effective by cutting out the middleman who in this case, is a recruitment agency.

You mention a 29,000,000 user starting point on your site, tell me about that.

BitDegree is co-founded by Hostinger, creator of one of the world’s largest free web hosting services. Its CEO, Arnas Stuopelis, was with me in India and helped create the BitDegree idea and bring it to where we are now. The 29 million user starting point is used because Hostinger has built a knowledge-thirsty user base of 29 million since it was founded a decade ago. It will help attract users to BitDegree platform. In fact, we have already attracted several thousands of students who have pre-enrolled on our courses.

Your ICO is live now, week one just completed - how did that go, and what's next?

The BitDegree token sale started one week ago, and so far results have been great! We have already
distributed almost a quarter of the total BitDegree token supply, and we are closing in on a number of future partnerships with other blockchain-based companies. I think it’s fair to say that based on the token sale results and behind the scenes activities, BitDegree is scaling, and scaling quickly - be sure that you’ll be hearing many more great things about us soon!

BitDegree's ICO is live now at http://www.BitDegree.org

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Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk