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Guide To Starting a Career in Web3

At Davos 2022, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy, Dante Disparte, made a powerful case for working in Web3. “Web3 is powering trillions in economic activity and we are only nearing the starting line,” said Disparte. Despite these promising words, building a career in Web3 might sound daunting.

Deep dive
January 31, 2023
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Start a Career in Web3

Blockchain is hard, and Web3 has a steeper learning curve than many spaces. But don’t be intimidated—the challenge is an opportunity to contribute to the future of the global economy and learn about this transformational technology.

Why Transition From Web2 to a Career in Web3?

Web3 professionals, by and large, seem to be happy with their careers. According to a survey from KuCoin, 79% of people with a career in Web3 say they are “very happy” or “quite happy” to be working in Web3. Here are some of the reasons why professionals are enjoying their careers in Web3—and why you might, too. 

Be a Part of Global Change 

Blockchain technology and smart contracts are a disruptive force powering a new wave of globalization. If the internet created global information systems, blockchain is working on global currencies, global governance, and new applications that transcend borders. 

A Web3 career gives you the opportunity to work at the forefront of innovation and contribute to the decentralized future. If you have concerns about big tech, government overreach, or growing economic inequality, a career in Web3 gives you a chance to work on new approaches to address these challenges. That has attracted a passionate community because what’s at stake matters. Your work could impact the lives of millions, or even billions, of people. 

Many Opportunities for Remote Work

In 2022, 97% of employees said they would “like to work remotely, at least some of the time,” for the rest of their careers. It’s clear that remote work isn’t going anywhere, and if you are like the majority of employees and want flexibility in where you work, you will find few industries more remote-friendly than Web3.

Web3 projects are designed around accessibility and building open projects that anyone can access and use from anywhere in the world. This global ambition often spills over into the hiring philosophy of Web3 startups, and many Web3 startups hire skilled people from all over the world (Hiro included).

Web3 gives you lots of opportunities to find remote jobs because Web3 companies tend to have a globally distributed workforce, often by necessity. When you have customers all over the world, and when you operate in an industry that operates 24/7/365, it’s useful to have a distributed team that can work across all timezones.

Gain Ownership in Projects You Work On

Beyond salaries, Web3 projects also tend to earmark some of their project tokens to the team. These tokens are often subject to cliffs and vesting schedules. 

Team tokens help Web3 employees build their wealth if the project grows or if the ecosystem the project is built on grows. This compensation package is often in addition to traditional stock options in the company, giving employees more of an upside in the project’s success, but importantly is also an asset that is often much more liquid than a secondary market for startup shares. Note: In these instances, token issuances may be similar to an employee RTU stock grant and may be taxed accordingly. Consult a tax advisor or a securities lawyer, do your own research, etc. 

Earn Cryptocurrency

If you are interested in starting a Web3 career, there’s a good chance that you are interested in acquiring cryptocurrency. Many Web3 startups provide their employees with the option to get paid in cryptocurrency directly in their paychecks instead of fiat. Earning crypto provides you with an easier path to diversifying your portfolio and getting access to an exciting new asset class. 

What Are Some Common Web3 Jobs?

The Web3 space is so new and growing so quickly that many Web3 startups can’t hire fast enough. Between 2020 and 2021, job postings in the U.S. for roles containing Web3 terms such as “Bitcoin,” “blockchain,” and “cryptocurrency” surged by 395% compared to a 98% increase in job postings in the wider tech industry. The surge in Web3 jobs is also in part a response to the large amount of VC capital that has entered the space in the past few years.

In Q3 2022, data from Cointelegraph Research showed VCs invested $4.98 billion across 338 deals in the crypto and blockchain industry despite the prevailing crypto winter. In total, the Web3 industry still recorded a total of $34.31 billion in VC funding across 1,477 deals in the first nine months of 2022. VCs are still placing big bets on Web3, and this gives Web3 companies the funding they need to hire and scale the team, creating plenty of opportunities for people interested in building a career in this exciting industry.

Technical Jobs in Web3

By “technical jobs,” we’re talking code. These jobs will require you to work with computer code, hardware, networking, or maintenance systems. Technical jobs in Web3 will either have you working on the protocol (blockchain) side or the dApp (decentralized application) side. On the protocol side, you’ll work on a blockchain or the infrastructure and ancillary services that support it. On the application side, you’ll work on building decentralized applications more narrowly targeted to a subset of consumers.

Non-Technical Jobs in Web3

Blockchain is cutting-edge technology that needs a lot of technical hires to bring its decentralized vision to the mainstream public, but the space also needs lots of people with expertise in other domains to succeed. Whether it’s business development, operations, people management, marketing, or sales, there are plenty of job opportunities to transfer skills and experience from more traditional Web2 work environments to a Web3 company. Building a successful Web3 career will still require you to familiarize yourself with the industry, the competitive landscape, and what user expectations are, but you don’t need a degree in cryptography for your career to flourish.

How To Find a Web3 Job

If you’re now sold on the idea of working in Web3, your next question may be where to find a Web3 job in the first place. The good news is that you can find some Web3 jobs in the same places where you’d look for jobs in any industry, such as on LinkedIn or popular tech job boards like wellfound (formerly AngelList Talent) and GlassDoor. However, to get a job in Web3, you may need to look beyond traditional tech job pipelines and get creative to find your dream Web3 job. Here are some tips to get you started. 

Search Web3 Job Aggregators 

Web3 job platforms aggregate job postings from both blockchain protocols and Web3 startups to help job seekers find positions. On these platforms, you can filter your search by specific roles, employment types, locations, and other parameters. Some popular Web3 job platforms include Web3 Jobs, Remote Web3 Jobs, and Cryptocurrency Jobs

Research VC Job Boards

VC firms often have job boards through which they post open roles in their portfolio companies. Research crypto VCs and visit their websites to see if they post job boards for their companies. 

For instance, Outlier Ventures currently lists more than 200 jobs across its portfolio companies on its job board. Even if a crypto VC doesn’t have a job board, periodically visit their website to look at their updated portfolio (most of the time, VCs will list their investments on their site) and follow funding announcements for Web3 in various trade publications. This can give you an idea of which Web3 companies recently raised capital, and in turn, which companies may be hiring. From there, you can visit those company’s website or contact someone at the company (more on that in a second) to see if they are hiring.

Explore Ecosystem Job Boards and Grants

For blockchain protocols, a non-profit foundation often handles a lot of the maintenance and organizational work for the ecosystem. If you want to build a Web3 career working on the protocol of any blockchain ecosystem, you can find open roles on the career page of its foundation. For example, you can find open roles at the Stacks Foundation here

Also, many blockchain ecosystems have job boards where they list open roles from Web3 companies building atop their blockchain. For example, you can find open positions in many of the startups building on Stacks on the Stacks job board.

Similarly, many ecosystems have ‘grants’ or ‘bounty’ programs through which they list projects that need to be completed. Freelancers and contractors can look through these potential projects and apply for funding to do that work. These kinds of grants are usually not full-time opportunities, but they are a way to earn income and build relationships that could lead to a full-time job down the line. To find these grant boards and bounty programs, visit the website of the non-profit foundations involved with various blockchain ecosystems. You can get started with the Stacks Grants here

Join Web3 Communities

One thing to remember is that Web3 is small, and networking goes a long way. Follow Web3 leaders on social media to learn about the latest updates in the space. Who you follow could post directly about a job opening or more generally about exciting projects in the space. From there, you can kickstart your research into those projects—see if they have a careers page, and DM people to find out if they are hiring.

Likewise, by joining community forums (e.g., Discord, Twitter spaces, and more), you can start to identify well-connected community members. Become active in those community spaces and try to connect with other well-respected members. This sets the stage for you to build relationships with them and ultimately ask if they know of anyone hiring for your specific skill set.

Be Proactive

Another important but often overlooked way to find a Web3 job? Ignore the formal application process and just email the team directly or DM them on social. Some Web3 projects have some roles that require a unique blend of expertise and experience. If you think that you have something to offer outside the scope of conventional job titles, sending an open application or messaging a team lead might be the right way to go. 

Coinbase’s first employee, Olaf Carlson-Wee, cold-emailed in 2013 with an email that essentially read, “I love bitcoin. Here’s my thesis. I’ll do any job.” He got a response asking him to hop on Skype; he got the job and was paid in Bitcoin for three years. 

Often, job boards get crowded with hundreds of automated resume submissions. DMing the hiring manager directly, or any team member you can get a hold of, can be a powerful way to stand out from the pack and show that you are interested in the opportunity and will take the initiative to pursue it.

Be Curious

If there’s any “secret” to finding a career in Web3, it’s this—be genuinely interested in Web3. Working in Web3 is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and it’s not something you do to pass the time. Web3 is hard (blockchains are complicated!), and you will need a genuine interest in order to get up to speed and be an effective employee in the space. Employers will look for genuine interest in Web3 as a strong hire signal. 

Start Your Web3 Career Journey 

There are nuances to finding and working a Web3 job. For example, not only must you weigh the merits of the project you are interviewing for, but you must consider the merits of the blockchain ecosystem in which the project is being built as well.

A key step in building a Web3 career is understanding how the different blockchains compare. From there, you can decide which Web3 ecosystem you find most appealing, become familiar with that blockchain, and begin your job search. We recently wrote a comprehensive guide to introduce you to how these different blockchains compare. Download it below to kickstart your career in Web3:

Download Hiro’s Guide to Blockchain Ecosystems
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