How to Get a Remote Blockchain Developer Job (Web3) in 2022

Landing a typical remote developer job is tough as a newcomer, yet fairly achievable after you’ve gotten a few years of professional experience.

But what about in the crypto industry? In this article, I’ll go deep into the nitty gritty of what it takes to land a remote blockchain developer job, and I how I snagged one in less than 3 weeks.

Why crypto developer jobs are quickly growing in supply

Most remote dev jobs are of the web2 era, consisting of frontend UI development and backend development dealing with server infrastructure and databases.

On the other hand, the surge in popularity of crypto and blockchain has now launched us into the web3 era.

At the end of the day, the blockchain is all about “smart contracts”– immutable code that can directly manipulate financial assets.

In web3, you don’t need a 3rd party like Stripe or PayPal to handle funds– your code can do it directly with cryptocurrencies. This has made blockchain jobs become particularly lucrative and quickly grow in supply. Although there is a lot of hysteria and hype in crypto blockchain tech, it might truly become “the next web”.

Developer roles in blockchain actually have a lot of overlap with web2, because blockchain tech is relatively slow, lacks privacy, and can be expensive to use frequently. Most successful blockchain projects are a synergy between web2 and web3.

The most popular blockchain ecosystem is Ethereum. It has a thriving and mature community with plenty of helpful resources.

The overall sentiment towards crypto developer jobs is that it’s a mystical field where only the brightest minds in the world have a shot at landing a gig. But, that’s not entirely true.

In reality, the demand for skilled blockchain engineers (there are many unskilled ones!) far outweighs the supply. Every day there are new blockchain jobs being posted, with companies eager to build new blockchain-based apps.

What it takes to land a blockchain developer job

If you come from the world of web2, then entering the blockchain space is definitely achievable. But before you start applying for crypto jobs, you should understand the skills and responsibilities required for each role.

Frontend Blockchain Developer

Every web app needs a pretty UI. For web3 blockchain apps, this fact doesn’t change. Whether it’s a traditional web app or a fancy blockchain app, either way you’d build out a user interface that fetches data from a backend source.

But for a blockchain app, you’ll need to be comfortable interacting with crypto wallets.

A “wallet” in the world of crypto is a place that stores the private key to a blockchain account. It’s essentially like the login credentials to a bank account. Writing code to interact with a wallet is not difficult, but understanding the role that wallets play in the crypto space might be challenging at first.

You’ll often need to interact with smart contracts directly– bypassing any REST or GraphQL API server. With the most popular blockchain being Ethereum, this means using a library like ethers.js to evoke smart contract functions through a connected wallet. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but conceptually it’s different than web2.

While being an expert at writing smart contracts is not necessary as a frontend dev, it is tremendously helpful to be able to read and write simple contracts.

Quick tips to get started as a frontend blockchain developer:

  • Learn traditional frontend web dev and React.js
  • Install Metamask wallet, make an account, buy NFTs
  • Write a basic Solidity smart contract and use ethers.js on the frontend to interact with the contract

Backend Blockchain Developer

The backend developer perspective of blockchain is actually nothing surprising. For any given crypto project, there might not even be a need for a traditional backend system.

Since a smart contract on the blockchain serves as both an application and data storage, many web3 apps take the form of dapps– apps that are truly decentralized because they don’t rely on a central backend API system.

But for any mainstream blockchain app, there is definitely a requirement for a centralized backend infrastructure.

Typically, the backend of a web3 project is just a traditional backend API with endpoints and databases– maybe organized in microservices. This provides improved performance and the ability to economically store user data. Blockchain storage is expensive. Cloud storage is cheap.

You may need to interact with contracts through the backend system and index data in a database. Familiarity with wallets and smart contracts is less important for backend blockchain developers, but still strongly recommended and often required.

Quick tips to get started as a backend blockchain developer:

  • Learn to build a traditional SaaS platform with Docker, microservices, user auth, and apply industry best practices
  • Install Metamask wallet, create an account, buy some NFTs
  • Write a basic Solidity smart contract, interact with it via ethers.js on the server side, and via 3rd party APIs like Etherscan

Smart Contract Developer

Now this is where things get more exciting, sort of. As a smart contract developer, you’ll need to work with new programming languages and get intimately comfortable with how blockchains work.

Coding smart contracts is the most important responsibility in the crypto industry.

With Ethereum as the king of blockchain ecosystems, you’ll need to know the Solidity programming language and understand the EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine)– being able to write upgradable contracts and safely manage financial assets like tokens.

Security vulnerabilities in smart contracts are a well known threat in the blockchain space, and result in millions of dollars worth of lost funds every year. Understanding reentry attacks and other common hacks is paramount to being a reputable and successful smart contract dev.

At that point, you’ll be able to write contracts for any other EVM-based chains like Polygon, Avalanche and Arbitrum. Same code, different chain.

Lastly– as a smart contract dev– you should be able to write unit tests with one of the common frameworks, such as Truffle or Hardhat. This will give you and your peers confidence in the functionality and security of the code.

Quick tips to get started as a smart contract developer:

  • Learn Solidity at an advanced level, upgradable contracts, security audit best practices, etc.
  • Deploy contracts to testnet and mainnet
  • Get familiar with the EVM concept and Layer-2 chains, deploy to an L2
  • Create an ERC-20 token contract and an ERC-721 NFT contract
  • Write units tests to test contract functionality + security
  • Use IPFS (e.g. Pinata) for NFT file storage

How I landed blockchain developer job in less than 3 weeks

I come from a traditional web2 background, having built full stack applications with Javascript and Golang for 7 years. I had extensive experience with infrastructure as well, creating dockerized applications deployed via Kubernetes.

I got laid off from my web2 job, then decided to make a career change and shift towards being a web3 blockchain engineer.

After that, I built an app focused on NFT smart contracts, with the goal of teaching myself about blockchain tech. With Ethereum being the most mainstream of blockchains, I learned the Solidity language to write Ethereum contracts, along with how to deploy contracts, and how to write automated units tests for them.

But then I took it a step further by learning the Tezos blockchain. I repeated the same steps, learning the LIGO language to write contracts, deploying them to the Tezos blockchain, and writing unit tests for them using a local blockchain Node.

Through the hands-on experience of building the NFT app and immersing myself in blockchain tech, I helped dozens of non-technical users deploy their own smart contracts to the blockchain. And in the process, I got fairly confident in my abilities to work in web3. I had spent around 7 months building and learning blockchain.

But before I started my job hunt, I wrote a detailed blog article about my deep dive into blockchain technology on Ethereum and Tezos. This would provide me with credibility in the craft and give me an edge over other candidates.

When I applied for remote blockchain jobs, I aimed for backend positions which were in alignment with my past professional experience, I put the NFT app on my resume, and I also shared the blog article with hiring managers. Then I started applying for jobs at the web3.careers jobs listing website.

I was picky about the kind of job that I wanted. And after no more than 3 weeks, I landed my first remote backend blockchain engineer role.

How hard is it to get a remote blockchain job?

I didn’t say it was easy, but there’s a path forward for those who are highly motivated and want to make the career transition towards the crypto industry.

I think that it’s probably a bit tougher to get a remote blockchain dev job compared to a traditional remote dev job. The remote jobs market is already quite competitive, and the appeal of crypto makes remote crypto jobs even more so.

And yet, there are few web3 engineers who are truly experts in their craft. As a senior software engineer, you only need to push a little bit further and immerse yourself into web3 to become a bonafide blockchain engineer. You should have at least 3 to 5 years of engineering experience under your belt to have a solid chance.

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