How to start your career in web3 as a developer?

Favour Onuoha
9 min readMar 19, 2023

A step-by-step guide to starting your career in web3.

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Introduction

So you want to start a career as a web3 developer? Web3 is a relatively new concept, and the demand for web3 developers, be it frontend or backend, grows by the day.

With web developer salaries averaging $150K/year, web3 has seen a massive boom in adoption by developer communities worldwide.

Being a web3 developer comes with a few perks, and you get to:

  • Learn new technology.
  • Meet new people in the field.
  • Have a massive salary boost.

Maybe you’re already a web2 developer, or perhaps you’re not a developer at all. Not to worry, because this article will discuss:

  • Web3 in general.
  • Web3 requirements and roadmap.
  • How to get started as a web3 developer as an absolute beginner.

Web1 and Web2

Before we get into web3, it’s essential to understand the predecessors of the current internet and how they differ from one another.

Web1

In the beginning, the world wide web (www) was born. The internet wasn’t as exciting and bloated as it is now. Websites were primarily static HTML content, and users couldn’t interact with the content of these websites in any way. The majority of these websites were informative. Most of them were sites where businesses advertise their products and services, personal websites, etc.

Web2

If you have a Google, Facebook, or Snapchat account, you must have a fair idea of what web2 is. In contrast to web1, web2 allows users to interact with web pages. You can like posts, share your own and other people’s content, and do various other things. This version of the web is said to be more social and interactive.

Web2 is referred to as the read-and-write web, and it got the name because web2 sites enable people to be content creators.

For example, you can read my articles like you’re doing right now, and you can also choose to comment and tell me if you liked my writing or not 😀

WTF is web3 anyway?

Before eating from the web3 bowl, it’s good to understand how the food was prepared and what ingredients were used.

First, let’s know this, web3 is not a replacement for web2 (the current web), but rather an addition.

Web3 only exists to counter the problems that we, the people, face in the web2 era.

So wtf is web3? Web3 is simply a decentralized internet where no one has control. Every user has control over their data and content. No platform will track our activity or sell our data to anyone because there is no data to sell.

Apps built on web3 do not require sensitive user information like usernames, locations, dates of birth, favorite foods, and favorite colors. All this is made possible through blockchain technology.

Getting started

Web3 development is similar to regular web development, with a few additions/enhancements.

To easily make a smooth transition into web3 action, you should first understand essential web development. Of course, you can jump right into web3 without first learning web2, but that’s not recommended because you’ll almost certainly encounter situations where you’ll need some web2 concepts.

Learning web3 without first knowing web2 will leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. Often, being confused while learning web development is when most people give up on web development and complain about how difficult it is.

So to stay on the safer side, understand the basics of web2 by learning the fundamental programming languages used:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • JavaScript (Often abbreviated as JS)

There is also a boatload of excellent courses and tutorials available for learning web2. But if you’re like me and prefer free goodies, just go to YouTube and look for some tutorial videos.

Learning Roadmap

Here’s an outline of the steps you should take to kickstart your journey to becoming a web3 developer. We will delve deeper into every one of these stages in this article.

  • Understand the terms
  • Know how the blockchain works
  • Learn about smart contracts
  • Build projects
  • Apply for a job
  • Understand the terms

I must say, web3 came with some pretty huge terms which you should familiarize yourself with. Let’s talk about a few of these terms.

Terms used in the ecosystem

You should do more research into these terms because there’s more to them, and this article does not go into the more essential details.

Blockchain

A blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that uses cryptography to store data blocks linked together in a chronological structure.

Blockchains work to ensure two main things. They essentially:

  • ensure that data integrity is preserved.
  • data is transparent.

Blockchain technology was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto to facilitate the Bitcoin protocol. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to ensure that all transactions are secured and transparent.

Every single Bitcoin ever transacted can be traced to where they all originated from, even if they’ve been split up and transacted a million times. Although after 10+ years, this would be a daunting task to achieve.

Security and Transparency are the excellent effectiveness of blockchain technology.

Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized blockchain with Smart Contract functionalities.

In fact, the Ethereum blockchain was the first-ever blockchain to introduce Smart Contracts into the blockchain world.

The introduction of Smart Contracts started the Web3 era we all hear of today.

Ether ($ETH) is the native currency of the Ethereum protocol.

dApps (Decentralized Apps)

These apps have a backend that runs on the blockchain or a decentralized network. Their backend is mostly intelligent contracts written in Solidity. Their frontend is built with React or any other javascript frontend framework.

Cryptocurrencies and Tokens

Crypto tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that represents an asset or specific use and has its own blockchain. Tokens can be used to make investments, store value, or purchase.

DeFi (Decentralized Finance)

DeFi, as the name suggests, is a decentralized peer-to-peer financial system running on the blockchain, primarily the Ethereum blockchain. With DeFi, you can do whatever financial institutions do today, including:

  • Investments
  • Lending and Borrowing
  • Buying insurance
  • Earning interests
  • Trading assets, and so on

DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations)

DAOs are more like the traditional companies or organizations we have today. The only difference is the rules and regulations of the organization are written in an immutable smart contract. Transparency is ensured since the code for the contract is kept on a public ledger. Also, there is no single authority governing the organization. Instead, the DAO is run by the shareholders. To become a shareholder, you must own the DAOs official token, which gives you the right to vote on decisions in the organization.

Languages and frameworks to learn

As I previously said, you need to understand the basics of web development and the fundamental programming languages used. That is HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In web3, you can be a backend developer, a frontend developer, or even both, just like in traditional web development. Let’s get started with the languages and frameworks you’ll need.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript

Yeah. The big three. These are the fundamental languages you’ll be using to build the front end of dApps.

Becoming a blockchain developer or a web3 developer doesn’t mean dropping everything web2. Basic web2 principles are still required to become a full-stack web3 developer.

Here is an amazing tutorial that teaches you the basics of all three

Learning Duration: 3–6 months

React/Angular/Vue

You’ll also need to be familiar with any JavaScript frontend frameworks — React, Vue, or Angular. This is essential if you want to work on the frontend side of web3.

React is by far the most popular and most used JavaScript frontend framework at the moment, with over 180K+ starts on GitHub. Built and backed by Facebook, React is the first choice for institutions looking to hire web3 developers due to its vast ecosystem and libraries.

Angular, however, has been discontinued leaving Vue JS another popular frontend framework, as the second option for developers to pick for building their dApps.

Due to the popularity of React, it is recommended to learn React as your first frontend end framework.

Here is a great tutorial that teaches you the basics of React

Web3.js/Ethers.js

These JavaScript libraries allow you to interact with smart contracts from the frontend.

ethers.js currently have 4K+ stars on GitHub and keeps growing while web3.js, the most popular of the two has presently over 13K+ stars on GitHub and is powering thousands of dApps in the Web3 ecosystem.

Solidity

Solidity is an object-oriented programming language for writing smart contracts. Its syntax is very similar to JavaScript or C++, so to have a less stressful time learning Solidity, you should have basic programming knowledge in a language like JavaScript or C++.

Suppose you’re more of a backend person, and you do not want to do anything with the frontend. In that case, you can focus on writing Solidity and creating smart contracts.

Leveling up your web3 knowledge

Now that you can understand some web3 dialects, the following steps are to dig deeper into web3 and build your portfolio. Here are some of the ways you can achieve this.

1. Understand how blockchains work

To get started with web3, you must first understand how the blockchain works. Beginning with the Ethereum and the Solidity documentation is good to start.

These docs will explain everything you need to know about blockchain and terms used in the ecosystem, such as gas fees, consensus protocol, transactions, and so on.

2. Learn about Smart contracts

Smart contracts are self-executing computer programs stored on the blockchain. When a set of predetermined conditions on the blockchain are met, the smart contract can execute even without human involvement.

Smart contracts are more like the backend of web3 applications. They can be written into fungible or non-fungible tokens (cryptocurrencies) that can be used to perform blockchain transactions. Smart contracts are typically written in Solidity, but they can also be written in other languages such as:

Many great projects are Smart Contract oriented and are focused on art and DeFi.

NFTs are by far the most popular use cases for Smart Contracts followed by DeFi contracts.

Being able to build both NFT and DeFi contracts will make you an asset in the web3 world.

Some popular NFT projects include:

  • CryptoPunks[Bored Apes Yacht Club
  • Bored Apes Yacht Club
  • CryptoKitties

3. Build projects

Building projects is one of the best ways to learn any programming language/framework. Numerous project ideas range from beginner to intermediate to advanced on the internet. There are also numerous tutorials on YouTube where instructors build real-world web3 apps. You can create simple or even complex projects to test yourself with what you’ve learned.

Some cool beginner project ideas include:

  • Minting dApp.
  • Decentralized Exchange.
  • Message storage dApp.

Next Steps: Building Your Career

Awesome!

By the time you must have gotten to this stage, you would already be a web3 maestro!

This point would be the best time for you to start working on the professional side of web3 development.

The next few points will guide you in building your career in web3.

Work on your resume

You can design your portfolio website to list the projects you’ve worked on; this is super helpful when applying for a job.

You can include test projects you’ve built as well as projects you built via watching tutorials.

Apply for a job

What happens now that you’re familiar with web3, all of its nerdy terms and concepts, as well as the languages and frameworks required to get started with web3 development?

There are numerous websites where you can find full-time, part-time, and remote web3 jobs today.

You can check out sites like:

Freelance

Freelancing is a great way to make a lot of cash as a developer. You essentially work for yourself and can dictate your own working timelines and live a comfortable life.

Unlike a full-time job where you are paid monthly, you would have to always actively follow up with clients and meet deadlines to make ends meet which can sometimes feel relatively slow.

From statistics, Freelancers can make 3X the amount a salaried work can make and this same fact remains the same in web3.

Conclusions

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and I hope you see where your web3 career goes in the near future!

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Favour Onuoha

Web3 DevRel 🥑 at Showwcase | Web3 Technical Writer | Blockchain developer 🌿 Content Creator | JavaScript | Helping people break into web3!