284: How to Get a Job in Web3 (Crypto)

This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Happy Monday!

Quick announcement: My friend Khe is launching the next cohort of his "Supercharge Your Productivity" course. His course completely changed how I manage organizational knowledge at Growth Machine, and his course + Building a Second Brain are the only two productivity or personal-output-focused courses I recommend. Check it out!

Alright, on to the newsletter

Getting a Job in Web3 (aka Crypto)

I posted this tweet over the weekend:

I directed it at FAANG employees, but it's true for anyone working in a remotely tech-adjacent company. You have a massive opportunity in front of you to join a Web3 company, and ride the next wave of the Internet.

How do you go after one of those opportunities though? As I mentioned in "The Generational Wealth Opportunity,":

"This is a radically different world than the Headshots, LinkedIn, and Resume world of Web2. If you're not comfortable being interviewed by someone presenting as an Anime character and never having a voice call, you might be a little uncomfortable."

You have to be comfortable doing things a little differently. If you're fixated on formatting your resume and looking for job opportunities on LinkedIn, you can definitely find stuff, but you won't find the really exciting ones.

The best opportunities, the ones where you can work on something you're really excited about and have a shot at getting insanely wealthy, won't be obvious. They might not even be listed anywhere. You have to seek them out yourself.

Skills Web3 Needs

Let's start with the skills the Web3 world needs. Being halfway decent in any of these qualifies you to start pitching yourself for job opportunities. If you don't know how to do any of these... pick one and start learning! Some are definitely easier to learn than others.

Smart Contract Development

This is the big obvious one: good solidity developers can basically work on whatever they want and charge serious money. If you're technically inclined and want to write the high-stakes backend code for the future of money, this is the skill you want.

The downside of course is this will take time to learn how to do well, and you probably want to have some general technical background before diving in. This is also high-stakes work. You don't want to write a contract that gets exploited and lose people millions of dollars.

If you do want to learn solidity though, I have an article for that.

Front End Web Development

Smart contracts are only part of the whole Web3 technical ecosystem. Most of it is actually Javascript! So learning React, Next, Node, etc. is just as useful in Web3 as in Web2.

In fact if you already know JS, you could go study Web3JS, and EthersJS, and probably be able to build apps that interact with smart contracts in a week or two. Congrats! You're a Web3 dev now.

And these devs are seriously in demand too. A lot of people who work on smart contracts don't like doing this more front-end implementation stuff (me included) so many teams need help on this side as well as the contract side.

You could also find a smart contract developer to team up with so you can offer your services as a package deal.

Design

User experience and user interface design is just as big a deal in Web3 as Web2. And one perk about working on design in Web3 is that you get to be a lot funkier with it than you do on Web2 projects.

So if you can make great user interfaces and experiences, and even better if you can help implement them in Javascript, you'll have no shortage of work.

Art

Hand-in-hand with design, there's a huge demand for art in Web3. You don't even have to do your own NFT project, being able to design beautiful artwork for other people's projects is a great way to learn a bunch and earn a share of many projects at once.

Community Management

If you can keep a Discord full of people active, engaged, and excited, you have an extremely valuable skillset for the Web3 world. Most of these projects succeed or fail based on the intensity of their community, and if you can help foster that, you can work on any project you want.

Content (mostly Memes & Articles)

This is the subsection of marketing you'll see a lot of demand for. Projects need good articles explaining what's going on, and they need good memers to run their social media. If you can do all of that, you have a very valuable skillset.

Others?

You can definitely enter the space with other skill sets, but these ones give you the most flexibility. You'll notice that they all require being able to build part of a product fairly independently: either the backend, frontend, or community. Figuring out how your existing skillset might translate to one of those areas is important if you want to make the jump. Or, figuring out what new skillset you want to adopt. I know I'm terrible at community management, so I decided to go down the smart contract route.

Choosing Your Interest

Once you have an idea of what skillset you want to bring in, you can start looking for work opportunities. And finding those great opportunities starts with picking an area of Web3 you're particularly interested in.

Are you curious about Decentralized Finance and want to work on changing how money flows around the world? Focus there.

Are you curious about NFTs and want to change how creators get paid for their work, and how fans can share in the upside of the creators they love? Focus there.

Are you curious about DAOs, and want to change how people collaborate to do great work at scale? Focus there.

Are you curious about Gaming, and want to change how players monetize the value of their in-game work? Focus there.

Those are definitely the big areas, but there are niches for almost any interest you have. If you care about climate change, check out KlimaDAO (investor). If you care about education, check out Optilistic (investor). If you care about replacing email, check out XMTP (investor).

By picking a category you can start to stay on top of that section of the web3 innovation space. Once upon a time you could stay on top of everything in crypto, but not anymore. Even staying on top of DeFi is basically impossible for me now.

Pick a broad niche you're interested in (DeFi, Gaming, NFTs, etc.), then start learning about everything going on in that space and narrowing in on the projects you're interested in. Reruns of Bankless, UpOnly, Unchained, and Modern Finance are helpful for this. So is Twitter (my "helpful crypto twitter" list is a good starting point).

You don't have to be super intense about this for now, nor be overcommited to one area. Just get an idea of where you're interests are. I really only follow DeFi and Gaming, and have basically given up on staying up on NFTs.

Getting Involved

Next you want to actually join some of these communities. That means joining discords.

Whatever topic area you're interested in, find all the top projects and just hop into their discords. You can usually find a link to their Discord on their website. See which ones you enjoy being in, and which projects you keep wanting to learn about, and focus more and more of your energy there.

Don't worry about trying to be active in a dozen communities. That's pretty hard. But you can make a solid contribution to 3-5 in your free time.

One important step: get an interesting profile picture. It doesn't have to be an expensive NFT, but please do not use your headshot. If you do want an NFT that isn't insanely priced, Animetas, Fame Lady Squad, Bad Bunnies, Habbos, are all reasonably priced. If you wanna spend more, I really like Meebits as avatars. They can look like you and they've held value quite well.

Once you've found a few communities you really like, start being a helpful member. Basically, pretend you work there, without being annoying about it. Answer other people's questions, try to help people with troubleshooting, things like that. You just want to be an active face in the community and provide value to it before asking for anything. Can you go straight to asking for work before this? Sure, but you'll bee able to pitch yourself better if you've already demonstrated that you want to help the community.

From there, start to look for opportunities to work with them in a more official capacity. I think the best way to start is to ask for types of gigs:

  • Do you need help on any front end stuff?
  • Do you need more community admins?
  • Do you need any artwork done?

Or pitch specific gigs:

  • I noticed your CSS is broken in these ways, can I fix it?
  • It looks like you don't have super extensive documentation, can I try writing it?
  • I saw you wanted to work on this new feature, can I take a stab at it?

Sometimes they'll have official job listings up too, and you can always go after those, but I find getting really involved in the community and starting off contributing on a gig basis lets you get in super early and create a role for yourself.

If you do want to go after more normal kinds of jobs though, there are those too. Aside from jobs they list on their site, you can ask in Discord if they have any roles they're thinking about hiring for. Or check on crypto-focused job boards like Cryptocurrency Jobs.

Rethinking Work & Jobs

It's tempting to look for the closest analogue to a normal salaried role. Probably a job listing where you get a salary plus some tokens. But I'd encourage you to think about adopting a more Web3 native style of work.

To me that means being primarily committed to one or two projects, but dabbling in helping others you are interested in along the way. And it means investing your income into a basket of DeFi assets that can, ideally, cover a certain percentage of your lifestyle expenses passively without you needing the salary you needed before.

I think it also means being willing to take primarily tokens over USDC or fiat. Something really changes mentally when you get paid in ownership of something, vs. getting paid in dollars. You have to decide if you want to give up ownership in the thing you're working on to buy fancy consumer goods.

So if you have the means, I'd definitely encourage learning the DeFi basics, figuring out how you can get your money to better fund your lifestyle than it is right now, and then work on the projects in Web3 that you think have the long term potential to make a meaningful impact.

Whether that impact is building the new financial layer of the internet, democratizing access to investments, helping creators monetize their work, changing how we work at scale, you have some incredibly exciting opportunities you could help impact.

Have a good week!
Nat

Did You Enjoy This?

Then consider joining the 30,000 other people getting the Monday Medley newsletter. It's a collection of fascinating finds from my week, usually about psychology, technology, health, philosophy, and whatever else catches my interest. I also include new articles and book notes.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.