Becoming a blockchain engineer is the most fun, rewarding, and exhilarating choice I’ve and my colleagues have ever made. And we’ve already blazed the trail for you to get started! In this article, we will show you exactly how to learn to become a blockchain engineer, from beginner to professional.
Spoiler alert, here is the exact blueprint we are going to cover to get you to a successful blockchain engineer:
The Four Steps
- Understand why you should become a blockchain engineer
- Take a Blockchain Course
- Join a Hackathon, the Community, & Build
- Start your own protocol, Take a job, Freelance & Contribute
If you make it this far, you’ve done it! Although, I’ll add a bonus step 5 that we will talk about soon.
5. You’ve made it! Keep learning!
That’s it! These are the exact steps you need to take to become a blockchain engineer!
You can also watch our YouTube Video on this topic here.
Step 1. Understand Why
Now, I’m a firm believer that you can learn to do anything with the following steps:
- Set a specific outcome
- Understand exactly why you NEED that outcome
- Make a plan
- Take massive action
- Periodically reflect and iterate on your action
We already know what our outcome is: become a blockchain engineer. We could make it more specific like “Get a job that pays $175,000/year by next Christmas” or “Start a DeFi protocol that has $100M is assets by next Thanksgiving”, but for the most part we know what our outcome is.
But we need to know why we want this before we start. When we have a bad day or we get tired, this “why” is the fuel, the powerhouse of determination that we can call upon to keep us focused, and compel us to continue the journey. The stronger your “why” the better you’ll be at staying vigilant with your routines.
I’ve already written on why you should become a blockchain engineer, but we can do a quick recap:
- 🌎 Create an impact on the world that will last forever
- 💨 Create a faster, digitally immersive, world
- 💸 Relandscape the future of finance
- 🦖 Remove centralized tyranny from traditional agreements
- 🧑🔬 Work with bleeding-edge technology
- ✅ Become a leader in the space, quick
- 👩👩👧👦 Join an exciting, budding, collaborative community
- 💰 Experience insane economic opportunity
We are building the future of digital interactions
Blockchain makes interacting with each other more accountable, transparent, efficient, fair, and community lead.
Blockchain and smart contracts solve countless problems, and you can learn more from What is a Smart Contract.
The Communities are an Absolute Blast
It feels good when such a massive community of people all wants you to be successful. Because if you’re successful, you help them be successful.
And of course, get paid.
According to the Hired State of Software Engineering Salaries of 2021, the average blockchain engineer was the second-highest paid kind of software engineer in London, even above NLP, Search, and Machine Learning.
And focusing on how much you can get paid is probably the weakest part, all the other reasons are easily better reasons.
Step 2. Take a Blockchain Course
If you haven’t taken a course yet. Don’t even read step 3. Read this section, and then pick a course and go.
Blockchain is a brand new world, and there is a lot of tech you need to catch up on if you’re starting from scratch, a blockchain course is going to be the most efficient, fastest, and easiest way to jump in and get started. Just do at least one to get you the fundamentals down. And lucky for you, we have a list of suggestions on where to get started no matter where you’re starting from!
But the best part is, you can still catch up to the current blockchain trends faster than any other software engineering industry. Why? Well, it’s only been around for ~10 years! And nearly turning complete smart contracts have been around even less! There is no engineer who has 10 years of experience with you. Every other industry there is, except blockchain. College degrees are nice, but honestly, everyone is just looking at what you’ve done. If you have a degree from Harvard that’s cool… but can you deploy an upgradeable smart contract using
delegatecall? That’s cooler.
It doesn’t matter which one, pick one, and get started.
Analysis paralysis, fear of failure, and imposter syndrome are the most defeating factors to getting started in this space, but they can be all overcome. Just by reading this article, you are welcomed into the blockchain space!
Take all those preconceived notions about you being unsure what to do, or where to go, and toss them out the damn window. You’re in a learning phase here. Just get started on taking massive action!
Set aside 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Just create a routine for learning, and you’ll find yourself done with the tutorial, and back on this article for the next step!
Important Tools To Learn:
In all of these courses, here are the tools you will learn/should learn. If they don’t teach some of these tools, drop the course immediately and pick a different one.
- Solidity | The language of 90% of smart contracts
- Openzeppelin | The unofficial standard library of solidity
- Chainlink | Oracle connection for hybrid smart contracts
Important Deployment Frameworks (pick one and go!)
- Remix | The go-to starting point
- Apeworx | The python framework
- Foundry | The command line framework
- Basic Cryptography and Consensus | How blockchains work
- Blockchain Wallets & Gas| How to interact with blockchains
- Solidity Basics | Everything solidity
- NFTs | Art and unique tokens on-chain
- DAOs | Decentralized autonomous organizations
- DeFi | Decentralized Finance
- Upgradeability | How to “change” your smart contracts
- Testnets | Integration testing in blockchain
- Etherscan & Block explorers | How to “see” what happens on-chain
- Alchemy & Node-As-A-Service | Connecting to the network
- Moralis | Full Stack Application Suite
First, let’s start with solidity courses, since solidity covers about 90% of blockchain development at the moment, and is easily the most popular language. Solidity is the language made for the Ethereum network, and many blockchains have adopted solidity and “the EVM” for building smart contract applications.
Suggested Solidity Courses
- Cryptozombies | A gamified version of learning about smart contracts, solidity, this is constantly rated as one of THE starting places for learning solidity and smart contracts.
- Alchemy University | Previously Chainshot, there are few educators in this space that make free content as up to date, powerful, and effective as them.
Additionally, anything listed from any of these sites:
- Ethereum.org | There are a ton of games, courses, and more on the Ethereum org website to get started!
- useWeb3 | Another amazing curated list of tutorials, content, and educational material about the blockchain space!
- Chainlink Bootcamp | A smart contract Bootcamp curated with tutorials and material for learning about web3.
- Solidity-By-Example | Not exactly a course, but one of the best educational sites out there for quick and effective learning.
Paid Courses, sometimes, a little more hands-on learning is important:
- Consensys Bootcamp | One of the oldest courses in the space, they know what they are doing!
- Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer’s Guide | A bit outdated at this point, but this is what I originally learned on! Still gives a lot of fantastic fundamentals that last no matter what.
- Dapp University | They make TONS of amazing free content, here is their Bootcamp for even more knowledge!
- Eat The Blocks | Another group that makes tons of free content, and they have a Bootcamp that will teach even more!
- Ivan on Tech Academy | This, along with Moralis teaches the skills to be a master in the full stack blockchain world.
Have you taken a course yet? It doesn’t matter which one. Do not proceed to step 3 until you’ve completed at least 1 course! It doesn’t even have to be from this list!
Step 3. Join a Hackathon, the Community, & Build!
You’ve taken a course, right?
At this point, the main thing to do is to try out your skills for real and connect with other builders.
Make some type of project. It doesn’t matter what. It might seem scary at first, you might feel like you’re not ready. But that’s ok. Join a hackathon, and join a community to start learning more, learning faster, and trying out your skills.
Don’t get caught up in tutorial hell, where all you do is tutorials! Get outside your comfort zone. If what you’re doing is familiar, you’re not challenging yourself enough!
The quickest way for you to learn now is to start building things. Anything.
Make something — Hackathons
Give yourself a deadline. One of the easiest ways to force yourself to make something is to join a hackathon. Many full-blown projects even start as hackathon projects, like 1inch or Instadapp. Hackathons are coding competitions that range from a couple of days to a few weeks. You can win money, but most engineers use them to try to learn something new! I’ve already written about why everyone should join a smart contract hackathon as well. Some of the best blockchain hackathons on the planet are:
- ETH Global Hackathons
- Chainlink Hackathons
- ETH Denver Hackathons
- Devfolio Blockchain Hackathons
- ETH India
These will also build your GitHub, GitLab, or bitbucket profile, so when you go to start getting jobs, people will be able to see what you’ve done in the past! Put everything that you do on something like GitHub!
Join something — Community
The community is easily one of the best parts of the blockchain space. Join a community to ask questions, bounce ideas, and stay up to date on new advances, new stuff happens in this space every week! Some of my favorites are:
- 🐤Crypto Twitter | (Often referred to as “CT”) and you can follow me 😃
- 🤖 r/ethdev | For amazing conversations and sharing
- 🌈 Developer DAO | For syncing with other devs in the space
- 👷🏿♀️ Hardhat Discord | For amazing tooling talk
- 🦄 Enter Ethereum Discord | For Ethereum talks!
- 🐍 Python Blockchain Discord | For Python loving blockchain talk
- ⛓ Chainlink Discord | For chatting about hybrid smart contracts
- 🐉 Openzeppelin Forum | For questions about really anything
- 🦖 Smart Contract Research Forum | For any smart contract research
The list of communities goes on and on and on….
Reach out for help
The community is the best resource for helping you out of those weird things that will trip you up. When you run into any technical issue, follow this document to learn how to get past it:
- ChatGPT It
- Google it
- Ask a question on Peeranha, Stack Overflow, or Stack Exchange
- Make an issue on their GitHub repo
- Ask on Reddit, discord, a forum, anywhere!
Even more people to follow
In addition to those I mentioned above, there are a ton of people looking to make this space even better!
- Austin Griffith | One of the OG wizards, easily one of the most energetic and helpful people in the entire space.
- Nader Dabit | A full-stack wizard of the blockchain space.
- Rekt.news | Security exploits explained in a fun way.
- Vitalik | Of course! The founder of Ethereum!
- Evan Van Ness | Founder of WeekInEthereum News
This list also goes on and on… There are so many helpful people in this space!
Step 4. Go Deeper
Apply for jobs
- Freelance for grants & work
- Start your own protocol
- Anything else…
At this point, you’re in. You’re deep in, and you are about to start getting paid for all you’ve done. There are a ton of ways to start getting paid for your skill.
Apply for Jobs
Once you are at this point, and you want to start connecting with a protocol, start applying! You literally find blockchain developer job boards everywhere. Here are some examples:
And so much more… Or, you can reach out to protocols that you like and see if they are hiring!
Freelance for Grants
Decentralized protocols have treasuries that are dying for work to make them better. If you have an idea for a protocol, apply for a grant! One of the best places to find grants out “in the wild” is on gitcoin, but often protocols will have grant programs as well:
And so much more. You can typically find freelance jobs just about anywhere as well.
Start your own protocol
Everything in this space is still new, and there are tons of protocols yet to be built. Hackathons are amazing jumping-off points for building new protocols if you have no idea where to start. You can also look at this list of 77 Hybrid Smart Contract use Cases if you’re stumped on ideas.
Literally, maybe 0.5% of this industry has been created. We are so early. There is so much to build.
Step 5. Keep Learning
We’ve already gone over so much here, but the last step is to keep learning. This space changes quickly, and new advances come out every day.
You’ll constantly learn something new by diving in and following these tips.
Everyone’s path into this space is different. Maybe you take 6 courses and then jump right into a job. Maybe you start directly from trying to build your own protocol and learn pieces of courses along the way. There is no “right” way to do this. There is also no wrong way.
This is a space that we absolutely love and is full of life, activity, economic opportunity, and a chance to really make a lasting impact on the planet. I sincerely hope to see you in the community building and growing, and maybe one day we can meet each other.
This isn’t going away, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Guest article was written by Patrick Collins