Insight Decentralized Consensus Fellows Program — a professional fellowship leading to a career in blockchain engineering and analysis

By Jake Klamka

Since 2012, Insight has helped over 1600 PhDs and engineers transition to cutting-edge careers in specialized technical fields. Starting with data science, we have expanded our community to data engineers, machine learning researchers and engineers, product managers, and most recently DevOps and cloud infrastructure engineers. As we have expanded our scope from analyzing data and building algorithms, to distributed systems and platforms, one type of computing infrastructure has been impossible to ignore: decentralized consensus networks.

From the publication of the Bitcoin paper 10 years ago, for the first time humans have a fundamentally new capability of establishing consensus via cryptographically-secured distributed networks. Whenever a fundamentally new technological capability is developed, it quickly drives important inventions and rapid platform development. We’re seeing exactly this happen as developers around the world are building out new, open networks that do not require trusted third parties to function. As a result, we are now creating and building out the tools that will allow all 7 billion people on earth to exchange and transact without borders.

To help with with the creation of this new global infrastructure, we’re launching the Insight Decentralized Consensus Fellows Program, a professional fellowship to help software engineers and scientists transition to a career creating leading-edge technologies in the blockchain space. This will be a free, full-time, 7 week fellowship based in San Francisco, starting March 2019. Insight Fellows in this program will work to build cutting-edge blockchain projects atop existing networks protocols or develop new applications under the mentorship of some of the top technologists in the blockchain space.

These projects will serve as the forcing function to learn the state-of-the-art of blockchain engineering and analysis, with Insight Fellows then interviewing and getting full-time roles at top blockchain companies and projects. Insight Fellows will have the opportunity to meet mentors from and be considered for roles at top crypto projects/companies, including: Bitcoin, Coinbase, Monero, 0x, Lightning Labs, Blockstack, dy/dx, Oasis Labs, DIRT Protocol, NEAR, Basis, Datawallet, Gravity, PROPS, Onai, Blockchain 4 Social Justice, and others.

We are also building a number of initiatives at Insight which will push the boundaries of the blockchain space, many of which will be released as open source through the Insight Decentralized Consensus Lab. The Lab pursues both internal projects and external collaborations, and interfaces with leading teams (e.g. Bitcoin, Monero, etc). Insight Fellows have the opportunity to participate in Lab projects as part of the fellowship.

The Insight Decentralized Consensus Fellows Program is designed for software engineers looking to transition into blockchain engineering jobs (protocol and application layer), along with postdoctoral researchers and data scientists transitioning to blockchain analysis. We will also accept Fellows with backgrounds in cryptography, game theory, economics, security and a wide array of open-source contributors who are excited to transition to work full time in consensus engineering.

There are no strict academic requirements to apply to the Insight Decentralized Consensus fellowship. We’ll evaluate your underlying experience, looking for a strong foundation in software engineering and/or data analysis, and an excitement to learn and transition into the space. The Fellows Program onboard Fellows into this new and fast-moving space. Since the program is funded by our mentor partners, there is zero tuition or fees of any kind (the program is completely free), and we will even provide need-based scholarships to make sure everyone who is invited to be a Fellow is able to participate. We strongly believe that a diverse group of Fellows with a broad range of backgrounds is a fundamental strength to our community, so we encourage professionals and academics from a multitude of backgrounds to apply.

During the program, Insight Fellows will have the opportunity to develop consensus protocols, build open-source libraries, engineer smart contracts, build decentralized applications, and leverage data science to analyze blockchains. Each Fellow will pick a project in one or more of the above areas that best aligns with the type of full-time role they would like to enter at the end of the program. They will be guided by top technical mentors who themselves developed the technologies and techniques being used. Over the course of the program Insight Fellows will meet 30–40 separate key mentors in the space and will collaborate with many individually-matched advisors.

The connections that Fellows make during the program will form the basis of the Insight decentralized consensus community; based on our experience, this network will enable collaboration amongst participants for years to come. Together with the broader blockchain community, Insight Decentralized Consensus Fellows will transition to a career in the blockchain space and become leaders in the field building the future of decentralized consensus.

To learn more and apply visit: Insight Decentralized Consensus Fellows Program.

Jake Klamka & Mitchell Krawiec-Thayer