The University of Geneva in Switzerland is launching a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) on blockchain development. It is the first blockchain course to offer a full module on NEO and allow students to claim 12 European ECTS credits. Students have the option to study on campus or online via video conference.

The course allows students an opportunity to “learn how to develop decentralized applications with blockchain and DLT” and features four modules.

The first module will introduce students to blockchain and DLT theory, whilst modules two through four will focus on development with NEO, Ethereum, and Hashgraph Hedera. At the end of the course, each student will be required to complete a prototype decentralized application.

The course is being launched by PD Dr Jean-Marc Seigneur, who joined the University of Geneva in 2005 after doing his PhD thesis on Sybil attack-resistant computational trust. Dr Seigneur has published over 100 publications on decentralized trust, which have been applied as part of several EU-funded R&D projects in different domains such as telecom operators trust, Wi-Fi trust, and open-source software trust. Dr Seigneur is also the president of consulting company Reputaction, which has a patent-pending on a new type of hardened crypto wallet for increased trust in real-time crypto transactions.

Speaking to NEO News Today, Dr Seigneur noted the value of educating a new generation of blockchain programmers and outlined increasing interest in the technology in the Swiss region.

“It is important to educate people to blockchain technologies, especially if the territory wants to fully benefit from it and there is a lack of blockchain-aware developers. Geneva State has recently launched the Geneva Blockchain Annual Congress, just before the World Economic Forum, aiming to become the Trust Valley, which will further strengthen Switzerland as a Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) nation.”

Speaking on the inclusion of NEO in the course, Dr Seigneur noted several features of the platform that made it an attractive option for his students.

“It is easier to learn blockchain with NEO because it is based on well-known integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Visual Studio and existing programming languages (C#, Python…). Therefore, it is easier for developers who know standard developments environments to learn it. NEO has also different features than other DLT and it was interesting to include it to give a good overview of the available platforms for building decentralized applications.”

As an added incentive, if a student’s end of study prototype is built with either NEO or Hashgraph Hedera and is considered “excellent,” they may be rewarded with GAS or HVAR tokens to assist in launching the project on MainNet.

Companies also have the option to sponsor a student to be part of the program. The end of study work corresponds to approximately 90 hours of effort, of which can be used to build a company prototype if agreed upon by the student, sponsoring company and the course director. Dr Seigneur suggests this will allow companies to skill up employees on blockchain technology, whilst concurrently developing proof of concepts.

“It is difficult for companies to find a blockchain developer to bootstrap a potential use case. When a company sponsors a student, the student has to do the end of study project code on the company use case therefore helping to prototype it faster and without a high cost. After company and student may decide to continue collaborating together.”

The course is three months long and will run from March 1st until June 8th. The cost of the full course is CHF 9850 (approx. US$9850) and registrations must be made by February 10th. There is also an option to complete only Module 1: Blockchain and DLT Theory, which is open to anybody, however only programmers will be accepted for the full course.

More details on the course and module content can be found at: