1 year ago I took the leap into blockchain, with a very vague idea of what it was. I wasn't here for DeFi Summer 2020, and never knew what an AMM was. I literally only knew about Bitcoin. I had a rough idea that blockchain would be huge, but I didn't know exactly how that would be the case.
There are many of you bright, curious young people out there that I have, online or in person, crossed paths with, in LSE, in Singapore, and beyond. Some wonder if this industry holds promise. Some feel inclined to try it out, but "don't know where to start". Most others don't care. This post is targeted at people who want to try out working in blockchain, or at least are toying with the idea.
I know of no other industry where young people like you and I are granted with so much responsiblity. Most projects would consider themselves "startups" -- they have a flat organizational structure and you get a bird's eye view of how the entire project operates. Teams are often cross-functional so you can dip your toes into marketing, product, business development, and even technical roles. The experience of working in a startup is also useful if you want to start your own venture, whether in or out of Web3.0.
Even if you don’t go into the Web3.0 industry, most roles allow you to adopt a skillset that is employable outside of Web3.0. During my time at Nansen, I spent a ton of time using Matplotlib in Python and running SQL queries, all of which would be useful in any career relating to data analysis. I learnt about marketing from first principles at Switcheo, and familiarised myself with tools like Google Analytics. They don't teach these in schools.
Knowledge in Web3.0 itself is very much distributed and transparent. Remember the golden rule: You can learn anything in Web3.0 if you take the effort to find the place to do so.
You are most likely to find what you’re looking to learn in Telegram groups, following people on twitter, and joining discord groups for projects. I spend way too much time there. It's where the best minds and builders in Web3.0 are on, and you should get on there too. Sorry if you only have LinkedIn, you’re ngmi. So:
From then on, I suggest a few starting points, depending on what area you lean more strongly towards….
I recommend reading investment memo's from various funds (here's one collection I'm biased towards). These greatly expand your thinking, and help you understand how the best investors think about their investments.
I also find research reports from Messari, Delphi Digital, and The Block extemely useful for understanding a certain theme or project in Web3.0. Some content is paywalled, but you don’t need necessarily need access to them to learn. They’re just helpful
Read the documentation of projects that interest you. These are often posted on gitbook, and they give a more detailed and nuanced explanation of how the protocol operates. Eventually you should also get to the whitepapers, which truly allow you to grasp the workings of a decentralized application from first principles.
There are also educational blogs that go one step beyond the content you see on Coinbase/Binance/Coingecko. I recommend
I generally don’t watch youtube videos because most of them frame crypto as a get-rich-quick scheme.
When I first started learning solidity there was only CryptoZombies and a few courses on Udemy. Now, there are so many ways to learn dapp-building
If you're already familiar with at least one or more languages, just jump in! If you’re up for a challenge, try Rust, the development language for Solana and NEAR. I’d consider Rust more challenging because there aren’t that many resources to learn from.
The most important thing for learning programming is to be patient. I've been programming intermittently for 4+ years now... You won't become a magician coder overnight, and you'll probably feel like giving up along the way. Stick with it.
There are always accelerators out there looking to for builders! Here are some programmes I’d recommend you look into. These are all global and remote, so you can join wherever you are.
In fact, if you are already building an MVP yourself and get started right away with decentralized crowdfunding platform Gitcoin, or Dorahacks. You can also reach out to me if you’re looking for ideas on what to build!
Don’t forget to check in on hackathons too. You’d want to subscribe to EthGlobal
There are many ways to participate in Web3.0, even alongside you having a full time job! You can join a project that operates more like a traditional startup, work for a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), or simply do freelance work by being a contributor across various projects. This depends on what you’re looking for.
Complete bounties and tasks for other projects. This usually entails things like technical documentation writing, doing medium posts, translation work, and building data dashboards.
My personal advice is that what team you join matters more than the work you are doing. If you want to be a software engineer, there’s no reason why you can’t start with doing Business Devt/Product, and then slowly learn the ropes in the company/project you’ve joined. I think marketing/growth/community related roles provide a great starting point for those looking to learn more about the industry. Here’s some handy places to find some work.
Web3.0 is the future. And you’ve have everything you need to get started. Remember that the best way to learn is to try things out for yourself and learn from others. Here’s a short story I really like, from a podcast with Simon, CEO of Index Coop
One of the best success stories [RE Hiring] ever is one of the guys who works closely with on BD, Michael Mantenga*, MRings, follow him on Twitter. He had just graduated from university in South Africa and we had our first onboarding call in January and he reached out to me. He said, “Hey Simon. I’m learning about crypto. I’m not super savvy on it but I’d love to help out and learn about it.” He didn’t have some traditional work background of some Fortune 500 company. He started coming to every single meeting. Every single call he would say, “Simon, how can I help out?” From there, he started being doing some outreach to projects and getting conversations started. "
Everyone can get started with Web3.0, wherever you are, whatever your age.
Then he started doing proposals. The first three months of proposals he wrote, the community would shoot them down and say, “No, we’re not doing this. This is too small. This isn’t good enough.” Then he got one proposal; we partnered with PoolTogether and he got that through. And then he got another proposal through, and another proposal through. Now, he’s one of the two people I rely on the absolute most to get things done. He’s an absolute rockstar and one of the most respected members of the community.
Everyone can grow
We have one of our core members from South Africa and a university graduate working with a top 10 MBA in New York City working with someone in Malaysia, and everybody is bringing different perspectives. Everybody’s bringing different approaches. We’re really working on it to solve problems together. That’s an incredible testament to the strength of this model.
If you’ve enjoyed this, I write more about Web3.0 on my substack. See you on-chain :)