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Blockchain, what it is and why you should care

Blockchain

 

Blockchain technology is emerging to be a significant change in how we interact with information on the Internet, and it may be worth spending some time looking into what it is and, ultimately, how it may shape the work we do. For now, though, let’s define what blockchain technology is and what it is not.

First, it is not a cryptocurrency; it is not Bitcoin, though it is a necessary part of a Bitcoin transaction. According to Wikipedia, “a blockchain, originally block chain, is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.”  To put it most succinctly, a blockchain is a secure distributed ledger system. It was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto to track Bitcoin transactions and provide security, transaction immutability (meaning, the transaction can’t be changed), public anonymity, and to provide a means of maintaining a single digital entity that cannot be copied. In addition, the data it contains is not located in a central server. There is no central database in a blockchain system, and therefore, there is no central authority over that data. Instead, the data in the blockchain is distributed; it is replicated to multiple nodes, each of which contains an exact copy of the blockchain data, the ledger, if you will.

The security of blockchain data is handled with math. Blockchain data is hashed. This is different from typical encryption which requires keys and can be unencrypted with those keys. Hashed data on the other hand, is of a fixed length and cannot be unencrypted, it can only be verified against the hash value generated. Brilliant.org states secure hashing algorithms: “are designed to be one-way functions, meaning that once they’re transformed into their respective hash values, it’s virtually impossible to transform them back into the original data.”

Hashing algorithms are often used to obscure passwords when storing them. The blockchain hash process includes the hash information from the previous, otherwise potentially unrelated, transaction.  Robert Greenfield IV, writing for Medium, states, “Every block has, as its data, the hash of the previous block.” In other words, for a new transaction to be recorded in a blockchain, a previous transaction already within the blockchain is read, the hash data from the existing block is mathematically combined with the new data to be added, and then once confirmed, the new data is added to the blockchain.

The new block is mathematically tied to the last blockchain entry. This link is why the term “chain” is used to describe this technology, and it is this link that provides so much of blockchain technology’s security.  If someone were to hack into a node to modify the data associated with a given transaction, the intended transaction would first need to be unhashed before any data could be changed or deleted but changing it would also require unhashing and changing the previous transaction as well, and the transaction before that, and the transaction before that, and so on.  Further, hashed data calculations must be executed by a node and then confirmed by several other nodes before a new block of data can be added to the chain. This confirmation process prevents a single blockchain record from being modified as the change would not be confirmed by other nodes. According to Imran Bashir in his book Mastering Blockchain, this concept is called Consensus, and it “provides a means of agreeing to a single version of truth by all peers on the blockchain network.”

Currently the EU is investigating whether blockchain technology violates a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is set to go into effect in May. Among other things, this law provides for a user to request all of their personal data to be removed from an online source. Wikipedia, quoting the EU, states, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.”

Less certain is whether this includes encrypted data that cannot be read publicly, like that in a blockchain. According to EU lawyers Natalie Eichler and Thorsten Jansen in their article “Blockchain Data and Data Protection Law: When Anonymous Data Becomes Personal,” this situation gets murky when considering “a recipient of a transfer of this [blockchain] data, who would be able to use the additional source of information to identify the individual persons engaged in a blockchain transaction.” 

As things stand today, if a record in a blockchain must be removed, a fork would need to be created from that record onward. This would then need to be confirmed by several nodes adopting the new fork, and then future transactions would continue on the new fork. It would be a very cumbersome, expensive, and challenging process. It is not yet clear how this situation will be resolved.

Hope this post has been helpful in understanding what blockchain is and isn’t. In future posts, we’ll look at how the EU is dealing with this possible conflict as well as existing and potential blockchain applications and some thoughts about testing blockchain applications.

 

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Top Resume tips to land that dream job

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you have lost a job even before an interview or your resume is letting you down? You could have all the skills and experience to make you the best candidate for a role, but if your resume does not attract enough attention, recruiters are not going to notice it. Did you know that some studies suggest it takes less than ten seconds for hiring managers and recruiters to decide whether or not you are a potential fit for the role? So, what can you do to help your resume attract attention? These are the top three tips you can use to improve your resume – and your job search as well!

 Tailor the resume to the Role

No two roles are alike. Hence, tailoring your resume to align with the specific requirements outlined for the role is super important when targeting your next challenge and employer. Tailoring grabs attention and ensures that you will be shortlisted and asked to move forward in the hiring process. The good news is tailoring your resume doesn’t require a lot of extra time. Simply focus on ensuring you are speaking to the top three skills listed in the job posting – both in your Summary statement, and when describing areas of responsibilities assigned to you in prior roles. When your resume does not highlight the skills and experience required for the role, you are less likely to be shortlisted – no matter how well written your resume is. So, take the time to find out exactly what your desired employers are looking for and tweak your resume to make those skills stand out. Relevant job postings and company websites serve as a good starting point to research those requirements.

Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!

It’s true, spelling errors and typos are the most common mistakes noticed by recruiters and hiring managers when reviewing resumes. Ideal candidates are expected to have strong written communication skills – not to mention an eye for detail – so grammar mistakes are a bit NO-NO! It can damage your credibility and make you look sloppy. Take the time to proofread and be sure to have a second pair of eyes review it as well. Relying solely on the spell and grammar checkers just won’t do.

 Format wisely

Always format your resume to ensure that your skills and the aligned experiences are easy to identify.  Don’t let formatting errors like inconsistent fonts and bullets; alignment and embedded tables; and awkward white space distract recruiters from what’s important. Stick to the easy to read fonts and divide your resume sections with bold headings and sufficient spacing, for ease of reading and a professional outlook.

Once you have updated your resume with these tips, you will be ready to make that great first impression and be one step closer to landing your dream job.

If you would like more information about how our Quardev Recruiting team can assist you in your career search, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Email works best. contact@quardev.com. For more information and new job opportunities, click here.

The Value of a LinkedIn Connection

by Kris Minkel, Recruiting Manager

Often, when we receive requests for connections on LinkedIn we tend to just accept or decline that person with a quick glance or thought. However, when you are connecting with someone on LinkedIn, you are gathering a person’s contact information and access to them for professional related inquiries, and vice versa.

How often do you stop and consider if you can work with that person? Is this someone who has an established positive reputation? Is this someone who is connected to people you know and would be recommended by them? Those are just a few things that should cross into our minds. What about removing a connection? LinkedIn is not Facebook although it seems like the two parallel sometimes. People “delete” friends on Facebook for any reason possible. For some of us business is personal but on the LinkedIn platform it’s all about business and should stay that way. 

As a Recruiter I can only think of a few times where I have removed someone who was a connection. One example is recent: I reached out to a person who I connected with and who confirmed an interview with me and my client. But once the interview was scheduled the candidate didn’t show up for the accepted meeting. I called, texted, and e-mailed the person – but no response. The human side of me was worried about their wellbeing. I never heard back and the client decided to pass.

A few weeks later, I received a notification on LinkedIn that this person had accepted a new position. I made the quick decision not to connect with them. Why? Based on the questions posed earlier in this article, this person does not have a positive reputation and they are not someone I can trust or work with. All would be fine if they had simply communicated what happened or what the reason was that they missed the interview, I could understand and work with them in the future. I get that plans change and opportunities arise and people need to go with the best scenario that fits their lives; but communication is key. I simply cannot recommend a person for my professional network that isn’t straightforward and open.

I work hard to create real new connections and to keep people with great reputations and people I have worked with in the past as connections. At its greatest LinkedIn enables our networks share new opportunities or help point us in a positive direction. These connections often recommend your work and your professionalism and if you have a recommendation from a Director, high-level executive or even your prior manager that goes a long way for your reputation.

Most recruiters will view your LinkedIn profile to see who you are connected with, review your work history, education, and any recommendations and then reach out for opportunities that may be a match for you. It is truly a great tool that you can take with you anywhere.

To connect with Quardev on LinkedIn click here.

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