Whether you’re new to crypto or have been in this space for a while, you’ve inevitably run into the phrase “still early.” The phrase is reiterated by traders and builders alike, reflecting that the crypto and Web3 space is still very new.
It’s especially true for Web3 developers. At the start of 2022, a report from Electric Capital found that the majority of developers building Web3 have only been in the space for around a year. What’s even more striking is that less than 1,000 full-time developers were responsible for $100B in total value locked in smart contracts.
Nearly a year after Electric Capital’s report, those who are making the move to Web3 are still very much early. Even despite a crypto bear market, Web3 developers are continuing to build on existing architecture and develop new products. A recent report from Alchemy found that Ethereum smart contract deployment is up 40% since Q1 2022, despite ETH falling 60% in the same time period.
Whether you’re looking to take the next step in your crypto journey, inspired by Web2 to Web3 stories from the likes of Shiv Sakhuja or Varsha Mahadevan, or just looking to gain experience in an emerging field, there’s plenty of opportunity to break into Web3. In this article, we’ll take a look at the tools and steps you need to take to become a Web3 developer.
Understand the fundamentals of Web3
The first step in your journey to becoming a Web3 developer is to gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of Web3. Beyond getting a grasp of what blockchain technology is and how it works, it’s important to understand the evolution of the internet and the fundamentals of Web3.
In the first iteration of the internet, also known as Web1 or the “read” era of the internet, developers built static collections of links and homepages. They could adjust pages or add new links, but the entire experience wasn’t very interactive.
Then came Web2, considered to be the “read/write” version of the internet. Web2 can be best characterized by the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This new version of the internet was designed to be interactive, where developers create profiles and storage mechanisms for users to engage with one another.
In the Web2 world, developers are primarily focused on three main components: front end, back end and data storage. Web3 development has similar main components, but with one key difference: data ownership.
Web3 is best understood as the “read/write/own” phase of the internet. With a focus on ownership, data storage and data management is fundamentally different. Instead of focusing on storing data for a specific website or platform, Web3 developers store data on a blockchain that can be used across all connected platforms.
Web3 also emphasizes decentralization, with the goal of creating an internet that is not owned or controlled by any one individual or entity. This means that data can be accessed and shared more easily, allowing for greater collaboration and transparency. Additionally, Web3 technology allows developers to create applications and tools that can be used to build a more secure and trustless digital infrastructure. With Web3, users have much greater control over their own data, giving them more control over the way it is used.
Develop your Web3 specific skill set
However, not all blockchains have built out code libraries using traditional languages. Due to the specific nature of blockchains, you’ll likely use Web3-specific languages to develop protocols and smart contracts.
One of the best languages to start learning for Web3 is Solidity, a commonly used programming language developed by the Ethereum team. Solidity is a Turing complete, object-oriented programming language that can provide you the best access to building on different chains. Beyond Ethereum, Solidity allows you to develop for any project that is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This means that you’ll be able to build on layer 2 blockchains including Polygon, Optimism and Arbitrum, as well as EVM-compatible blockchains such as Avalanche, Solana and Aurora.
The second-most popular Web3 programming language is Rust. Known for its agile design and high performance, Rust serves as the native programming language for projects like Solana, Polkadot and more. Rust is not only popular in the Web3 space, but has become increasingly popular among developers as well. Last year, a survey of Stack Overflow users found that Rust was the most favored programming language by developers.
Get involved with the community
When it comes to working in Web3, learning about developer trends and getting a developer position doesn’t always happen on places like LinkedIn or Indeed. Instead, the best way to secure a job in Web3 is to get involved in the community and stay up to date on the latest developer trends. Places such as Discord, Reddit and Telegram have active developer communities. Because the majority of Web3 technologies are open source, being active in a community will connect you with builders and users alike who are collaborating on the future of the internet.
Dive deep into influential blockchain projects at Consensus 2023
Since 2015, Consensus has been the meeting place for blockchain developers to reconnect and forge the future of crypto and Web3. Join us at Consensus 2023 to visit Protocol Village, the dedicated meeting spot for founders, developers, token investors and users that features programming, working and networking.
Explore software developments and learn from each other’s successes, problems and experiences at the Protocol Village. The working and networking area offers computer stations for a live hack, whiteboards for coding/brainstorming and other resources for developers to put their work on display.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.