Everything You Need to Know About the Polkadot Blockchain Academy

We are about to launch the second wave of the Polkadot Blockchain Academy, at the beginning of the year in Buenos Aires.

So here is everything you need to know about the Academy so far!

Mission

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 opportunities into the Polkadot ecosystem.

Over the one month course, students will learn about and be hands on with:

  • Cryptography
  • Economics & Game Theory
  • Blockchains
  • Substrate
  • FRAME & Pallet Development
  • Polkadot & Parachains
  • Smart Contracts
  • Cross-consensus Messaging (XCM)

We expect that students who complete the course successfully will have all the knowledge necessary to be a core blockchain developer. We will work with these students to pair them with jobs in software development throughout the Polkadot ecosystem.

Wave 1: Cambridge

Take a look inside the academy from the perspective of the students:

By the Numbers

  • 55 Students came together
    • From across the globe, as far afield as Argentina, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Australia and Uruguay, as well as Europe and the US…
    • Ages ranged from 19 and the early 50’s
    • Experience ranged from newly graduated computer science students, to senior software developers with 20+ years of experience in Web2.
  • Over 160 hours of teaching over 30 days.
  • 37 Students Graduated Successfully
  • 15 Students Offered Jobs in the Polkadot Ecosystem

Student Feedback

Memories



Wave 2: Buenos Aires

We are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the second wave of the Polkadot Blockchain Academy.

This time around we will up the game by training up to 75 students, teaching an improved curriculum, and organizing even more exciting activities during the four weeks of the Academy.

You can find all the details and the link to the application form on the Academy website.

Please share this program with your network to help grow the Polkadot ecosystem.

How to get involved?

  • If you have engineers in your project, who would benefit from the Academy, encourage them to apply.
  • Let us know if you or someone from your team want to contribute to teaching as a guest lecturer or if you are interested in demonstrating how to use your technology to Academy students.
  • Use the Academy as a recruitment platform to bring in talented developers into your team.
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I was one of the instructors at the academy in Cambridge, and stayed the full month to help assist and teach. Some of my takeaways / comments from the program:

  • The course did not really touch on anything specific to Polkadot for the first 2 weeks. The entire Cryptography, Economics, Game Theory, Blockchains, and even Substrate learning was all agnostic of Polkadot, and would be relevant knowledge for anyone working at any blockchain company.
  • However, once we started to touch into Polkadot, we went real deep real quick!
  • This course was designed entirely by the engineering and research team at Parity and Web3 Foundation. To be honest, I had some doubts at the time how much we would be able to do given that most people who signed up for this basically signed up for a second job. But it went way way better than I could have ever hoped for the first time around.
  • Our (or at least my) top goals for the next wave is to: continue to fill in the holes in our course based on the feedback we got, restructure certain sections to give more hands on time with Substrate development, more regular exercises throughout the course.
  • Doing the class in person was a really awesome feeling. So much was discussed outside of the classroom, and real tangible friendships were formed.
  • The curation of students we accepted into the program was amazing. I had dinners throughout the academy with groups of students, and truly enjoyed talking with everyone.
  • The main weakness of students in the program was their familiarity with Rust. This is def to some extent our fault, and something we are trying to address by creating more educational content on Rust itself. However, I would say for future students, you really cannot get started soon enough playing around with the language, especially in the context of Substrate.

I am planning to also be there for the full month in Argentina for wave 2, and I really cannot wait to work with the next students! Feel free to tag me and ask me anything in this thread!

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I have been fortunate enough to attended the academy in Cambridge last summer.
It has been a very intense experience.

I joined in mostly by luck, with very little technical understanding of Polkadot or of the substrate framework, and - for a full month - I found myself being thinking substrate, living substrate, even dreaming substrate: the curriculum is touching on so many topics in so little time that I found it challenging to digest what’s necessary to get to the next step without getting totally obsessed.

Of course, there are times where one could feel lost within the proliferation of new concepts, new terms, topics often reaching so far out one’s comfort zone than it gets emotionally disturbing, leaving with a sense of deep frustration, especially for the ones who are accustomed to get a quick understanding of technical topics. In those situations, I found both instructors and fellow students to be a crucial support.
It took me time to find out what I could be good at, but I believe I did.

Having been so low, by the end of the course, I got able to design and implement a couple of pallets from scratch and very importantly with an understanding of the internal mechanisms.
I never ceased to get filled with wonder when something eventually ends up working. Of course, it is always supposed to, but I cannot help finding it surprising. On this particular occasion though, it felt so unreal that even today it almost feels as if some other self had been there that’s not really myself.

Most importantly, the academy helped me finding a sense of purpose in working towards the realisation of a decentralised vision of the world, and I would wholeheartedly recommend the course to anybody willing to contribute to the space.

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Is there a (ahem…) centralized location where parachain/project teams can get intros to graduates? Asking for a friend… :slight_smile:

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I just DM’d you on the subject dawufi, let’s talk! If anyone is wondering about this, please get in touch with me on here or tim@parity.io and we can take it from there. In summary there will be a lot of effort put into distribution of profiles and introductions of interested graduates from the Academy in Buenos Aires, i’ll be looking after that effort and am looking forward to it!

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Hey everyone! Alumnus is here:)

A little background story:
I joined an academy after finishing my first year in BSc Computer Science. I ran the blockchain club in my university and always looked for different ways of finding my passion in web3 industry. I was about to give a long and emotional story about the application process, but I decided to give the overview of the actual academy.

Course content

We were the first cohort. I literally had zero expectations, but even if I had them, they were exceeded!
I can say without any hesitation that there was the perfect balance between theoretical and practical knowledge. I was astonished by the quality of the presentation that were delivered by instructors from parity and web3 foundation. I can say that in 4 week I learned more that in a year of my degree.
There were obviously some slip-up in the course structure. Substrate FRAME module started slightly a little bit late in timeline.
But I can’t imagine what’s the refined course content is going to be like for the next cohort.

Exercises

Exercises were well structured and helped me to apply theoretical knowledge in practice and improve my rust skills.

Admin stuff

Big thanks to the whole Parity Education team who made my experience in the academy amazing. They were professional in communication and very appreciative of any feedback. I felt welcomed and comfortable. The team organised a series of recreational events to help us to relax after lectures. I personally found it very important for general mental state of students after 8 hours of lectures and assignments.

Instructors and Students

I also wanted to write a big emotional message here, but I’ll try to keep it concise and professional.
Overall, the instructors were always approachable for any questions. The quality of delivery was on the high level. The instructors were happy to answer even the most dumbest questions from me.

I want to say that one of the best things in the academy is the people that you meet there. We had a very diverse age group, but I was surprised how everyone managed to get on. I immediately made a lot of friends across the globe who I still stay regularly in touch.
My piece of advice: go and talk to people. This is such an amazing opportunity to make life-long connections. I will compare to my uni here again and say that in 4 weeks I met more like-minded people that in a year in my uni (not even in a sense of web3 vision).

Conclusion

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, you will definitely benefit from the learning experience there. I can say that even with some basic knowledge of web3, the academy helped to extend, formalise and structure them in my head. It will taught how to apply them in the development context.

I hope I managed to convince some of you to apply. If you have some more questions about the content or personal experience there, do not hesitate to contact me :smile:

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I think that would be good to have proper preparation BEFORE the Academy for any attendee and trying to give valuable input from my site, I would like to recommend two links:

  1. https://cryptohack.org/challenges/
  2. https://www.cryptopals.com/

I am sure that solving challenges (and having time) especially in Cryptohack could allow more deeply understand topics shown during lectures and practical exercises.

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