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Cover image for How to Get Into Ethereum | Crypto | Web3 as a Developer

How to Get Into Ethereum | Crypto | Web3 as a Developer

dabit3 profile image Nader Dabit ・10 min read

Cover image by Lennon Cheng on Unsplash

I have been talking about my move into the Web3 / Ethereum / crypto space since making the switch from a traditional web, mobile, and cloud background.

Since making the move, the number of people that have reached out to me who are also thinking about doing the same has been pretty shocking. It's really great to see so many other people interested and if I'm being honest – it feels validating to know that so many others are also on the fence and so deeply interested in the space as well.

As for me, well I was nervous about making the career switch. Moving into a completely new area of specialization, with a technology I was still getting ramped up on, and a community I was not yet involved with, was a big leap compared to a very comfortable role with a FAANG company that paid really well (and a team that I really loved).

After over a month I can say that I not only have zero regrets with the change, I'm the happiest I've been in a long time and am excited and energized with the things I have the opportunity to work on everyday.

I decided to write this post to give a blueprint for anyone looking to get into blockchain, crypto, Ethereum, and Web3 from a traditional development background. I can point people to this blog post the next time I get asked how to get into the space.

This post will be a living digital garden that will evolve with feedback from others, recommendations, and my own personal growth, exploration, and evolution.

This post will be broken up into a few main parts.

  1. Technologies and resources to learn
  2. Tradeoffs and considerations
  3. People to follow
  4. Companies hiring and doing interesting stuff
  5. General tips and landing a job

Technologies and resources

The things I'm most interested in are usually a function of where I predict technology will be in the somewhat near future and where I see the current momentum being, so that's what I will focus on here (and is what I am doing personally).

To me, the most exciting parts of this space are decentralization, DeFi, governance / DAOs, and decentralized web infrastructure.

Because of this, I'm focusing on both Ethereum development as well as Solidity because with the Solidity programming language you can program smart contracts for Ethereum as well as for many other EVM compatible blockchains. As of this writing, Ethereum also has the powerful and important combination of momentum, developer mindshare, and existing production dapps.

Ethereum is also currently moving to a new consensus mechanism, proof of stake, which addresses the environmental concerns I used to have about how cryptocurrency works at a core level.

Once you learn how everything works fundamentally, I encourage you to then check out other blockchains and projects outside of Ethereum and EVM to give you a better understanding of the industry as a whole, and to see if there are other projects that attract you or that you may believe are better approaches to achieving the goal that is Web3. Consider looking into Solana, Polkadot, Near, or Hedera.

To get started learning blockchain development with Ethereum and Solidity, I suggest you do the folllowing:

1. Read the Ethereum docs

Scan through the Ethereum docs and be sure to check out the section Intro to Ethereum as well as anything else that catches your eye.

Also be sure to check out the dapp showcase to get a good understanding of the successful apps being built and used in the current ecosystem.

2. Read the Solidity documentation

The Solidity docs are a really good place to get started, especially solidity by example which gives you a few examples of popular smart contracts like voting, an auction, remote purchase, and micropayments.

You can copy and paste these contracts in the Remix IDE to start executing and modifying them to see how they work.

I also did a video walkthrough of the voting contract here.

3. Get comfortable with the Remix IDE

It's really easy to play around with and start building smart contracts without having to set up any type of development environment by using the Remix IDE, part of the Remix Project which is funded by the Ethereum Foundation.

This Remix IDE allows you to create, edit, and execute smart contracts directly from your browser. It offers a perfect environment for learning how solidity works and is great for building out various types of smart contracts and playing around with them as you are learning both solidity as well as how to interact with Ethereum

4. Try building out a full stack dapp

In addition to Solidity, the other parts of the the development stack include a local Ethereum environment like Hardhat or Truffle, a wallet like Metamask as well as a client-side library that allows you to interact with the blockchain, like either Ethers.js or Web3.js.

To understand how all of this all fits together, it's useful to build out a full stack dapp on this stack from scratch, setting up the front end project as well as the local development environment and deploying, running, and interacting with a smart contract on the blockchain.

Two introductory courses to get you going with this are:

1. Ethereum Programming Tutorial - DeFi, Solidity, Truffle, Web3.js

2. The Complete Guide to Full Stack Ethereum Development

5. Consider reading these books

The space itself moves very quickly, so technical books often get out of date just as quickly. The fundamentals of what Web3 is though have not changed much at all, and there are a few really great books that helped me not only grasp the current state of everything, they also helped open my eyes to the future possibilities and opportunities that lie within it.

Token Economy - How the Web3 reinvents the internet

If you only read one of these books, this is the one I'd say is the most important. It is a masterful deep dive into all of the shortcomings of the web as we know it, what Web3 aims to be, how it will affect various parts of our lives as we know it, and what needs to happen for this vision to be realized.

You can view the book here.

The Infinite Machine - How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum

This is the amazing story of how Ethereum came to be, walking you through the history of it all. It is a very thorough and entertaining account of the origin story of Ethereum, I highly recommend checking it out.

You can view the book here.

New Village - Power Back to People

This is a really cool story of how blockchain technologies and decentralization will affect the future of the world.

You can view the book here

How to DeFi

As you can probably tell by the title, this book focuses on how you can start using DeFi today and gives you a good understanding about how it can be used today as well as some applications of it that we will see at some time in the future.

You can view the book here

The Spatial Web

The Spatial Web is a book that explores the future of the web and all of the implications of not only Web3 and decentralization, but how everything will come together to enable things that we may have not yet considered, and does a good job weighing the positive and negatives as well as ways that we may be able to address any negative outcomes of what is to come.

You can view the book here

A couple of solidity books:

Hands-On Smart Contract Development with Solidity and Ethereum
Mastering Ethereum

6. Podcasts

Here are some good podcasts:

7. YouTube channels

I've also begun doing videos and tutorials on Ethereum and Solidity, so consider checking out my YouTube.

Tradeoffs and considerations

There are always considerations to think about when making a career transition, but especially when considering this space.

There are a lot of positives, but there are also unknowns as well as negatives. Let's talk about some of them.

Nascent

While there are many existing dapps and companies already flourishing, this space is very much still coming into existence in many ways.

There are a lot of problems that still have yet to be solved, and there are no clear answers for many questions you'll have. The problems being solved are often complex, sometimes combining one or more aspects of distributed systems, game theory, cryptography, economics, social and political science, identity, psychology, and more.

Because of this, there are still things that cannot yet be built with the existing solutions that are available.

I personally think this is one of the more exciting things about all of it it, but it's not for everyone.

Volatile

Many of the projects are built around various types of tokens. The value of many of these tokens rises and falls dramatically, and you often see that people gain and lose excitement in the entire space based on these swings.

If you are not fundamentally bought into the ideas behind decentralization itself, you may find these ups and downs mentally taxing.

Speculation

Because a lot of people only buy into certain tokens in a speculative way, it attracts some people who are in it only for the money.

You see things like scammers trying to get over on people and steal their money, endless talk about price swings from people who are speculating, and outright scam projects that often discredit the industry as a whole.

This is an annoying part of it and I don't really see it going away anytime soon.

This thread

I would also check out this thread, though I have not experienced all of these things, he is definitely shining a light on some of the things I have seen.

People to follow on Twitter

Here are a few people who you may consider following on Twitter:

Vitalik
Ashleigh Schapp
Arthur Hayes
Stani Kulechov
Gloria Kimbwala
Niran Babalola
Ric Burton
Dennison Bertram
Mana Silvora
Austin Griffith
Santiago Palladino
Zaki Manian
Anthony Sassano

I also found this comprehensive list created by someone on Twitter.

A few people on my team at Edge & Node:
Yaniv Tal
Tegan Kline
Eva Beylin
Adam Fuller
Brandon Ramirez

Teams doing interesting stuff (and hiring)

Compound
Uniswap
Chainlink
Skynet Labs
Aave
Matic
Livepeer
Consensys
ENS
OpenZeppelin
Foundation
Zora
Synthetix
Digital Currency Group

You can also find a pretty decent list of job opportunities in cryptocurrency here

Also, my team at Edge & Node is hiring!

General tips and landing a job

There are many areas within the space that you can focus on and provide a positive impact on a team. I'd look into the different areas like governance, DeFi, NFTs, and decentralized web protocols to see what interests you the most and then focus on it.

There are a lot of opportunities and a lot of ways to stand out and get noticed. If you find an interesting project and would like to get involved, jump right into their community and ecosystem and start learning, then see where you may be able to help out. Join their Discord or look at their GitHub issues to find ways that you can contribute.

This will give you an opportunity to meet people involved in the project and will open up discussions for potentially landing a role with them. In fact, it is very common for people within the teams to take notice of active community participants, they will then often reach out and try to recruit you without you even applying.

The pay is usually good. Depending on where you are coming from, it could be more or less, but it's probably not going to be at the high levels of what you see at FAANG companies. There is probably more potential upside. Most companies offer a combination of base pay + equity in the form of their digital token, so if you stick around and can help make the project successful and the value of the token goes up, you can often make more than what you would in many other areas.

Conclusion

Discussion (8)

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wekkel profile image
Wekkel

Great to see a post aimed at getting apps on blockchains like Ethereum.

For website development, Nimiq can be an interesting project. Nimiq aims to be a cryptocurrency network for fast and near free payments. Nothing new there.

But the unique aspect is that it all runs in a browser. Your user does not have to install anything. Just point and click and they have a wallet. It takes 30 seconds to create one.

The link is: wallet.nimiq.com/

The crazy aspect is that the connection to the network is direct. There is no server handling the connection and pruning the data for the user. A 100% direct connection in a few seconds, all in the browser. A very nice feat and ideal for integration in web apps.

For talented web devs like you, it should be easy to incorporate Nimiq in a webpage. Like a game or a shop. Some examples of games that use NIM as currency. Make a wallet and you can earn some playing the games.

nimtris.com/
nquar.com/

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dirkolbrich profile image
Dirk Olbrich

Here are some more links you might consider before choosing the dark side:

drewdevault.com/2021/04/26/Cryptoc...

twitter.com/grey_istrue/status/139...

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apostoins profile image
apostoins • Edited

Will BTC recover from this? I think that Ethereum is becoming something bigger will affect the stability of BTC on the market, and it won't be so powerful. I don't care about the competitiveness of these two cryptocurrencies because I use and have both of them. I don't care who will be the leader because practically, I won't lose anything. For me, the most important not to change the transactions policies. They need to remain anonymous. I even use the bitcoin tumbler to Stay anonymous while making bitcoin transactions.


mycryptomixer.com/

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basharabdullah profile image
Bashar Abdullah

Diving into Ethereum nowadays and this will come in handy. Thanks

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schabaani profile image
Amir Shabani

Hi Nader
Great post :)
I have one question. As a react native developer, how many opportunities are available to be a Dapp developer. I don't want to quit mobile development.

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muzammilaalpha profile image
muzammilaalpha

keep sharing!

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kreamsonline profile image
Akeem Brown

Thank you this is well needed as i am trying to change careers :)

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theowlsden profile image
Shaquil Maria

Great article!

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