4 months ago I decided to do a deep dive into web3.
I was completely new to the space.
I didn't even know what a blockchain was.
Today, I work two different web3 jobs.
One as a developer, and the other as a technical writer.
I also give talks, and have even done a panel at Google's devfest .
But how did I do it?
The short answer is: I made mistakes and learned.
My web3 journey
When I first got into web3, I thought it was very simple.
You build things, follow tutorials, and add projects to your resumé. And once you do that, you apply for web3 jobs and start earning 6-figures right away.
Wrong. It's never that simple.
But alas, that's what I did.
I followed all the tutorials, minted an NFT. Created my own cryptocurrency, and even made my own decentralized application.
Creating those three projects took me a month. And at that point, I naively thought I was ready to apply for a job.
I paid a professional resumé writer to write my resumé, and I started confidently applying for web3 jobs.
Nothing could have prepared me for the rejection.
I was denied an interview 15 times.
Although I had a degree in Computer Science, my skills in web3 weren't yet advanced enough for the positions I was applying for.
Looking back, it was obvious that 1-month of tutorials wasn't going to get me far enough. But when you see 18-year-olds making your yearly salary in a single day in the web3 space, you become less rational.
After a couple of weeks of applying, I was finally given an interview with a notable company.
The interview went ✨horribly✨. It was clear that they were looking for a senior web3 developer.
What does it take to get a job in web3?
I realized that tasks like:
- Minting NFTs
- Creating cryptocurrencies
- Making DApps
Were only just scratching the surface of web3.
They are the basics, and although it may be possible to get opportunities with those skills alone, the standards set by developer communities like ETH Global (through which many companies hire web3 devs) are certainly higher.
More advanced web3 topics would include:
- Smart contract security
- Gas optimization
- Design patterns
So in order to easily land a job as a backend smart contract developer in web3, knowing more advanced topics would definitely help.
This is in stark contrast to what you see on Twitter and other mainstream media outlets.
When web3 is talked about, it's almost exclusively NFT projects and crypto-gains.
This makes it easy for aspiring developers to think that web3 (backend development) is easier than it actually is. In reality, it's more difficult.
There is a lack of opportunities available for junior developers in the web3 space.
It would seem that, when it comes to backend smart-contract development, most companies are looking for more advanced developers.
There are even DAOs that are willing to pay you for contributing to open source.
So to answer the question "what does it take to get a job in web3"? I would say that if you are looking for a high-paying backend or full-stack developer role related to smart contracts, you'd better know some advanced web3 topics.
At the very least, you should have a high-level understanding of the topic that is related to the specific job your employer is hiring for.
So if you are being brought on for token development, don't just learn how to mint tokens.
- Token Economics
- Ecosystem tooling
- Cryptography primitives
And even if you don't have a high-level understanding of all of those topics (most people don't) at least know that they exist.
But how do you get to this point?
The fastest way, in my opinion, is to join a web3 developer group.
Think of it this way, it's way more efficient to learn with others than it is to learn by yourself.
For example, if you are in a group of 3-4 people, and one guy makes a mistake, and teaches the rest of the group; suddenly you are farther ahead than you would've been on your own.
Taking it a step further, I want you to imagine you make 100 mistakes in 2 months of learning, that's potentially a great deal of progress.
However, if you are in a group of 5 people, and each member of the group makes 100 mistakes in the same time frame, and teaches each other, suddenly you have 500 mistakes worth of learning in the same amount of time.
That's the trick I used in order to progress faster in the field.
And it worked.
I was able to progress considerably faster than my peers who were self-teaching.
Currently, there are a number of good web3 developer groups out there.
I plan on writing an entire article on web3 development groups in the future, so more on that later.
Other jobs in web3
A common misconception is that you need to be super technical in order to get a job in web3.
But that isn't true.
Yes, we just talked about how you need be to somewhat advanced to land a high-paying job as a backend developer, but it is definitely possible to get a high-paying job in web3 as a pure frontend developer or even in a non-technical role.
Some of these jobs include:
- Developer Advocate/Developer Relations
- Frontend Web3 Developer
- Web3 Marketing
- Web3 Consultant
- Technical Writer
The beauty of these non-backend developer roles is that they pay well, and might be more enjoyable for less technically oriented people.
If you are active in the web3 community and know the gist of how everything works, it is possible for you to make a lot of money in the space purely based on the fact that not a lot of people have knowledge of web3 right now.
But how do you get that knowledge? And how do you qualify for these roles?
A lot of it comes down to 2 things:
- Being active in the community (e.g. NFT Twitter spaces).
- Prior experience.
For example, if you are a frontend developer who spends 5 hours a day speaking on NFT Twitter spaces, you'll most likely run into opportunities to freelance on an NFT project.
And as you do more and more of these freelance gigs, you'll build your network enough to get recommended for an actual job. Or at the very least, gain enough experience to apply for positions like this:
But even for non-developer roles (e.g. Technical Writing), it is possible to get recommended for a job primarily because you are active in the community and seem knowledgeable about the subject.
For example, the web3 technical writing job that I currently have was something that I got because I was active in the community.
Similarly, it's possible to qualify for non-technical jobs like Developer Relations simply by being active in the web3 community and building in public.
If you have some experience as a developer, possess good people skills, and make educational content, it is possible to land a job in Developer Relations.
For reference, here are the requirements for a Developer Relations job in my city.
What's amazing about this position is that advanced knowledge of web3 isn't required.
They quite literally say that there is "no need to be an experienced senior developer", and that you only need to have some "involvement in DAOs [and have] built some dApps" before.
These standards are lower than what you'd find in a typical web3 backend developer role.
Despite that, these web3 jobs actually pay really well. It's not unheard of for people in Developer Relations to earn 6 figures.
For frontend developers, designing a frontend for web3 is pretty much the same as designing a frontend in web2. Except in web3, you usually get paid more.
So as you can see, there are opportunities for even non-technical people to make a lot of money in the web3 space. The best advice I have to land roles like this is to learn, be active in the community and get yourself out there.
Getting yourself out there
When I first started learning web3, I'd spend about 4-5 hours in NFT Twitter spaces... Every. Single. Day.
The purpose of doing that was to familiarize myself with the lingo of web3.
Terms like Layer2, ERC20, and Metaverse would be thrown around a lot and I made it my job to understand what all of those meant.
I spoke in as many spaces as I could. I would introduce myself as a developer and that would result in people contacting me to do freelance work on their NFT projects.
This was invaluable to my growth and built my reputation.
Now I am at the point where, because I am known as skilled and trustworthy, I get multiple requests for paid freelance work every single week.
Once you start becoming known in the web3 community, doors will open up for you. The vast majority of the web3 community exists on Twitter and Discord, so make sure you are familiar with those two apps.
Telegram is also an important social app to get into, but you can be successful without it.
You might be wondering, which spaces should I join for networking?
One space I recommend is NFT Princess' "NFT Developer Q&A".
This space occurs every Tuesday and is useful if you are a developer trying to get known in the community. People will ask you questions, and if you answer in an intelligent way, people will notice.
Content creation can also help you land a job. For example, you can become a Web3 writer for Hashnode .
My friend Jen Stein was able to land a job with PlayBoy's web3 team simply by being active in the web3 community
Probably the best way to get known in the space is to do well in a hackathon. Hackathons are a great place to network because they tend to have partnerships with companies that offer prizes and opportunities.
Make sure you choose a good team if it's a team-based hackathon.
Honestly, I could write a whole separate article about techniques you can use to get known in the web3 community.
What's important to know for this article is that getting yourself out there is really important for non-technical roles and freelance work.
Multiple people, including myself, have been offered non-technical jobs purely because they were active participants in the web3 community.
Thank you for reading.
If I wanted you to get anything out of this article it's that: backend development roles in web3 tend to be more advanced.
There is a lack of junior web3 backend roles available in the space, at least when it comes to salary industry jobs.
So if you are planning to enter this part of the field, make sure you invest some time in learning some higher-level concepts in web3 and also build higher-level projects for your resumé.
For non-technical roles, it's possible to get hired primarily based on your involvement in the web3 community.
It's still important to study web3.
But also focus on being active in the web3 community.
For frontend developer roles, your responsibilities are very similar to what they are in web2.