Market conditions and prominent layoffs have undoubtedly changed the employment landscape in the crypto and blockchain industries. Yet, some crypto firms have seen this as an opportunity. Some like OKX are expanding their headcount this crypto winter while job boards are still rife with opportunities.
This piece is part of CoinDesk's Future of Work Week series.
Although conditions have changed, the best advice on how to land a job in crypto has not. CoinDesk interviewed academics, marketing professionals, developers and founders to discover what it takes to bag a coveted job in the crypto space. Here is what we found.
Find the right project, company or organization for you
As crypto and blockchain have matured, so have the practices and philosophies behind managing employees. Reuben Youngblom, managing editor of MIT’s Cryptoeconomic Systems Blockchain Journal & Conference Series, said in an interview with CoinDesk “blockchain is now maturing to the point where the space runs the entire spectrum.”
“On the extreme end, you have some DAOs [decentralized autonomous organizations] that exist where people can go in and don't even need to give up their names to find work. On the other end, there are companies that are a lot more structured and will do a headcount every morning or give employees a time to start the workday,” he said.
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Individuals seeking a job in the crypto or blockchain industries need to consider what work environment is best for them and try to find a company or organization that fits. Crypto job seekers can use job board sites like Glassdoor to read reviews from current and former employees to gain insight.
Get involved for the right reasons
Working in the crypto and blockchain industries can be lucrative. According to job listings site web3.career, the average Web3 salary is $74,000 to $115,000 per year for nontech positions and $100,000 to $142,000 per year for developer positions. While making a potential six-figure salary is nice, chasing a large salary can lead to horrible outcomes for job searchers.
Youngblom has seen firsthand the consequences of chasing salary and prestige. “Those people have a really bad time, and they burn out really quickly, or they don't burn out and they're just miserable.”
A better approach is to think critically about why you are interested in crypto or blockchain and tailor your job search to find the projects, companies or organizations that meet your interests. Troy Retzer, who facilitates partnerships at decentralized finance (DeFi) startup Rook Labs, says that “whenever you find something with real innovation, it’s easy to become obsessed with it.”
Demonstrate your value to the crypto community
“Contribute what you can and be open to learning and be curious and then kind of find ways to level up from there," he said. "Some people start by contributing to [a project’s] Discord, and they're doing it not for pay. All it takes is one experience to be able to turn around and be ready to be professional about it and maybe get paid the next time.”
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Retzer agrees. “Find a project you like, join the Discord, update their FAQ for them … they will see this person is actively contributing to help. You'll get on their radar right away.”
Be aware of the risks
Cryptocurrency and the industries that develop it are inherently volatile. Although some crypto companies are poised to weather these risks, there are unfortunately others that are not. “[H]aving ridden out the storm and 2018 to 2020, that was tough, you know. So I recognize that we may be in for some extended challenges,” said Ong, when asked about the current state of cryptocurrency.
Youngblom supports Ong’s assertion. “I mean, even companies that six months ago, people might have thought were immune, like Coinbase [COIN], they're experiencing massive layoffs. I don't think it's that controversial to say that crypto companies, or blockchain companies in general, are a little more exposed to the vicissitudes of the economy.”
Resources for job hunters
- PompCryptoJobs – a dedicated job board for positions in the crypto industry.
- Web3.career – A crypto job board with aggregated salary data across the industry.
- Discord – The preferred messaging platform of many cryptocurrency projects.
- Glassdoor – A job board that provides users with reviews of companies from current and former employees.
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