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Starting in college, my goal was to become a doctor. I spent almost my entire undergrad preparing for medical school until my senior year when I decided on a whim to take an Intro to Java course that forced me to revaluate many decisions concerning my career and life aspirations.
I decided to pick up a second major in Computer Science and I ended up enjoying it enough to forget about medical school altogether. Following that decision, I landed a job as a full-stack dev at Tyler Technologies working on state and local government-related web and mobile apps. I was fortunate that my first job gave me the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects providing plenty of experience with new languages and tech stacks that I still use today in Web3.
The very first thing I did was read Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction. I was interested in investing in crypto but felt I didn't understand it enough to do so safely. I decided to read that book to understand the basics and ended up falling in love with the technology. I then spent a lot of time learning via tutorials on Udemy, CryptoZombies, and other excellent resources and once I got some confidence, a friend and I started a project which was a 1v1 gambling dApp that used Chainlink for verifiable randomness. That ended up not going anywhere, but it helped me land a few interviews for Web3 positions, including one at Kwenta. The project also helped my friend get his first job as a full-stack dev in Web2, so I consider that project successful despite it never being used.
One day after work, I was having a conversation with my partner about our future plans and I realized that my then-current job would not be supportive of the life we wanted. I knew that entering the job market would be tough. I didn't want to end up somewhere that I hated, so I made a list of things that I was passionate about that I could prioritize when applying to companies. I have always enjoyed learning about finance and began investing on Etrade when I was in the seventh grade with the money I'd made from cutting grass and walking dogs. I'm also an engineer and deeply enjoy the process of building software. Doing something in the future that would allow me to combine both of those passions was my ultimate goal and that is when I realized Web3 (specifically DeFi) would be the perfect place for me.
I first heard about the EthernautDAO on Twitter. I didn't dig too deeply into it at the time, but much later a friend reached out to me. He explained about these mentorships and that I should apply to be a mentee. I learned that it would be paid and that the mentorship often led to full-time job offers, so it was a perfect opportunity.
Yes! I was chosen by @_jchiaramonte to be his mentee.
It felt amazing. I had been working hard for a long time trying to break into web3 and I knew the mentorship was going to be the final key to getting in full-time. It was difficult because I was still working during my mentorship, but spending my weeknights and weekends working was well worth it.
So far, I have worked at Crypto.com and Kwenta. The biggest difference in my experience has been responsibility. Both jobs expected much more from me in terms of leadership and code quality. The nature of Web3 is unforgiving when it comes to mistakes and that translates to engineers needing to be much more disciplined and security conscious. The second biggest difference is the sense of belonging to a team/protocol/project that values and rewards the best opinions and ideas received from the community. I am currently reading Principles by Ray Dalio and his description of an "Idea Meritocracy" is a pretty good depiction of how DAO's I have interacted with operate.
Depending on where you are in your career, my advice differs. I think that if you are just starting to dive into software development, Web3 might be a little overwhelming. If Web3 is your end goal, skills picked up in Web2 will be valuable once you make that transition. Focusing on improving fundamentals will pay the biggest dividends. If you are a little more experienced and you are seriously considering transitioning, the best advice I can give is to consume as much Web3 content as you can. That might be youtube videos, Udemy courses, podcasts, books, etc. I am also a big fan of hackathons, but I realize they're not always the best option for everyone. Finally, I would recommend taking a deep dive into one or two protocols you enjoy. I was really interested in Uniswap and spent quite a bit of time looking at their smart contracts. Many famous authors have said one of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read more. The same goes for coding. Once you know that Web3 is for you, applying for an EthernautDAO mentorship is a fantastic choice. As I and others have proven, this can be done all while still working in Web2.
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EthernautDAO offers free mentorships to experienced web2 devs trying to break into web3. If this sounds like you, check out the available mentorships in the EthernautDAO Discord and follow us on Twitter to get notified when a new mentorship is available.