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Pioneering blockchain research with a Computer Science master’s degree from the University of Liverpool Online

By developing specialist skills in cyber security and cryptocurrency at the University of Liverpool Online, Paul Dunne built an innovative blockchain prototype and earned a promotion to a new role in Zürich, Switzerland.

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Paul is now embarking on a new, more security-driven role in Switzerland. “My studies with the University of Liverpool Online have a great deal to do with that,” he says.

He is excited about the continued development of blockchain technology and the opportunities it will provide for people equipped with the specialist skills like those he developed through his online master’s degree.

Cutting edge computer science skills with the University of Liverpool Online

As an experienced IT infrastructure manager with a well-known FMCG brand in the UK, Paul Dunne was not afraid of a challenge.

So, when he decided to advance his professional opportunities through formal education, he was determined to find exactly the right course to suit his interests and career aspirations.

“Most people in tech look at vendor-specific qualifications, which give you a great feel for those specific technologies,” he says. “But I was looking for something all-encompassing. I wanted to get a holistic view of security, and a postgraduate degree was the way to get that more rounded education.”

“The other key for me was flexibility. I needed a course I could take online and fit around my busy days here. The University of Liverpool Online did that, and the content of its modules also piqued my interest, particularly those around big data and the Internet of Things (IoT).”

Driving blockchain innovation during dissertation research

As Paul progressed through the programme, he became increasingly fascinated with blockchain technologies, which he likens to the internet in the early 1990s. He expects it to “disrupt many existing business paradigms” in the next five years, and his dissertation focused on developing a new way to harness blockchain’s capabilities.

He explains: “I had the idea that we could use the Ethereum blockchain for building a distributed application. The Internet of Things struck me as something I could potentially marry with Ethereum to create an artefact that would allow me to manage an IoT network almost autonomously within a blockchain environment.

“I built a private Ethereum chain, then built an IoT network where all my devices were nodes within that chain. The practical application was for me to be able to automatically register and manage the configuration of the nodes within the network. The network would be completely decentralised, and therefore completely resilient.”

“My number one piece of advice is ‘don’t limit yourself’. You’re going to develop skills on the programme that you didn’t think were possible at the start. If you’re disciplined and really want to learn, there’s a huge opportunity.”

Wondering how you can future proof your career? Find out why the computer science programmes at the University of Liverpool Online position students and graduates at the forefront of their field.