You’ve decided to make the jump! You discovered the fascinating world of blockchain, crypto, and ready to learn how to get a job in web3.
It’s no secret that the space has taken a hit with the bear market, but product managers, marketers, and creative professionals currently working in web3 have an interesting perspective:
Bear markets are for building and hiring, position yourself now!
Do your own research, and don’t blindly follow what people say on Twitter. Capital is still there and companies are hiring.
You’ve got to trust that the four fundamental innovations of web3 will make their way into companies as features. A new game like Sorare will use NFT technology to create a better user experience. Public infrastructures like police departments will build blockchain-based portals to allow anyone to write up complaints without compromise. Platforms will more widely use wallets as a login functionality. Social networks will use NFTs to reward members contributions.
Certainly without any mention of the underlying technology, infrastructure, or buzzword.
No buzz, just work
Ultimately, the technology is slowly tested, and adopted through various use cases.
To achieve this work, companies with capital - such as Dapper Labs, Yuga Labs, Alchemy, Webedia, Polygon, and others in a16z portfolio - are still hiring. New ones, like Farcaster, seize the bear-market opportunity to build a sufficiently decentralized social network, onboarding users one by one.
While the space has become more silent, it opens its doors to a wider talent pool. If you want a creative adventure, it is the perfect time to evaluate which use case truly interests you, which teams you fit best with, and upskill by contributing intentionally. Woody is here to guide you and help get a job in web3, so let’s start!
TL;DR - An evergreen method to break into web3
The method to switch careers is evergreen, and here are the key steps:
- 1) Define your favorite problems
- 2) Do your (deep-dive) research
- 3) Contribute and build your street credibility
Let's get started!
1) Define your favorite problems in web3
After transitioning from the automotive industry to the tech industry, Simon became a product manager to work closely with tech teams on machine learning and deeptech products. The common thread to his career choices was always the complexity of the product regardless of the industry.
He quickly fell in love with the promises of blockchain technology. Instead of getting scattered in his job search, he applied to companies that had the most complex products: Layer 1s, physical wallets with security challenges, and B2B solutions. He now works at Starton.io, a tech product for developers wanting to implement web3 into their web2 apps.
Will Lawrence has always been interested in payments and financial infrastructures. This interest first led him to become PM at Whatsapp Payment Team, where he focused on P2P payments in Brazil and compliance platforms that were supporting anti-money laundering. When looking for his next step, he said:
I wanted to solve some of the problems I had encountered trying to build payment products in emerging markets. While many have built on top of existing rails in the past, I was excited by blockchains’ abilities to build new ones altogether. For that reason, I knew I wanted to dive into the area of new financial infrastructure with blockchain.
Will didn’t choose his job because of hype, but an area he had personal conviction in. He now works at Paxos as PM to modernize financial infra using blockchain.
After working 5+ years in recruitment service, I felt frustrated not working closer to the product, alongside creative teams. I wanted to help build creative tools or even join an animation studio. That’s how I discovered the world of gaming and web3. I joined a gaming studio and helped them launch a play-to-earn game.
What all three of us had in common? Specific problems we were curious about.
Taking the time to define your favorite problems is one of the best investments you can make into becoming a better thinker (Ness Labs)
But also make life decisions such as landing your dream job with more conviction and personal alignment. The best career choices come with intentionality.
How to define your own list
Block 30 minutes on your calendar, and take the time to craft a list of problems you deeply care about from your past work experiences and personal interests. This article offers the following list of questions that can help narrow your favorite problems:
What are the topics you most enjoy learning about?
What are interesting ideas you know of but can’t fully grasp?
What are societal challenges you feel drawn to?
What are web3 values you believe most in?
How would you improve your current experience on the internet?
What are skills you wish you had?
What are the most important challenges in your field?
Did you notice any recurring patterns in your work?
What aspects of society do you find puzzling?
If you had a crystal ball and could travel to the future, what would you want to see?
2) Do your (deep-dive) research
Articulate web3 use cases
After narrowing down your favorite problems, it is now time to articulate more precisely how it matches with web3 use cases. Here are a few examples:
- Empower the creator economy (musicians, writers, internet citizens!) by helping them own their work online
- Helping drive global adoption of blockchain technology into the corporate environment
- Helping public infrastructures empower citizens with blockchain-based portals
- Building a more robust ecosystem for DAOs to thrive as a new means of work
- Bringing traceability to the shipping industry
- Build marketing tooling dedicated to web3
- Join forces with the underlying foundation of web3, helping build the tech itself in Layer 1s, 2s
- Empower emerging countries with new payment solutions
Congratulations! You’ve now broadly defined your favorite problems to real web3 use cases. This will serve tremendously to contribute intentionally on the right projects and narrow down which companies are most interesting to you in your job search.
Build your “sources of truth”
Let’s say you listed the creator economy (#1!) as your favorite problem.
You’re a creator yourself, and just like musicben, you feel deeply concerned by the challenges creators face earning money and ownership of their creations online. You feel that your values align with this topic, and would like to make a difference.
Well, it’s time to embed yourself in the problem. Dipping your toe in the water versus diving right in is different, you need to get to know the players, understand the challenges and face the problem directly.
You can start with the following:
- Who talks about this topic?
- Where can I find his/her work (YouTube, Newsletter, Twitter, Discord!)?
- What can I learn more about? Which knowledge am I missing?
- What are the companies building in this space?
If we keep the creator economy’s example, you will start following Peter Yang’s work, read about Reddit’s latest NFT introduction which happened to be a great success (and dig all the reasons why!), you might follow musicben on Twitter to learn about his take on music NFTs.
Finally, start identifying existing web3 companies which resonate most with your favorite problems. In the music industry, you will list companies in the artists x web3 space, such as sound.xyz, pianity, Audius. Simon used this list of web3 companies to find complex products such as Layer 1s Infra, DeFi & physical wallet products. You can browse on woody3 too using keywords.
There it is, you are slowly building a personal knowledge base, your own source of truth. These first steps are essential to connect personally with web3 use cases, connect with the right people, contribute intentionally and apply to the right jobs for you.
Identify areas & companies growth potential
Building this knowledge is important for one more reason: understanding if the area and companies you are interested in have growth potential given the current state of crypto. You listed your top areas and companies. Now ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it have enough capital to hire and grow?
- Is it a hyped trend stagnating, or it has the potential for mass adoption?
- What is the product maturity?
- What kind of person would you be working with?
3) Contribute and build your street credibility
You’ve done your research, it’s time to implement it!
Web3 philosophy is about transparency, decentralization, and public contribution. It's like open-source work, but for everything, not tech only. When it comes to hiring, recruiters (and I talk from experience!) are looking for signals you are web3 savvy and proof that you’re skilled in your area of interest.
Again, we don’t expect you to experiment it all.
But if you’re into music & NFTs, we will check if you created and minted NFTs yourself. Mark Tan contributed several months to Odyssey DAO before working full time in web3. He then contributed to Yield Games as well, and that’s how he got his job. You need to have “street credibility”, as it will definitely move the needle in your application.
A few examples of what you can do:
Be a web3 user first. Try your favorite product, understand what works and what doesn’t. Get curious!
Contribute. Choose your contribution according to your skills and favorite problems. If you’re into music, and mostly in marketing, join the community and offer to contribute on content creation. You can publish content, help people on discord, Reddit and explore bounties on Dework.
Document it. Write a blog, be active on twitter, in the forums, or even on Reddit. You don’t have to be an expert to write about your observations, findings, and even your struggles. It all helps to build your credibility and thought leadership. Use tools like DegenScore or Mazury which records your contribution on-chain and is a fun way to showcase your involvement in the space!
Network with people with similar interests. It’s easier than ever with twitter! That’s also how Will Lawrence got his job at Paxos.
Apply. This should be easy as you made connections, connected the dots and identified key players. Subscribe to woody3 and as soon as a job is out, you can apply for it first!
And that’s a wrap, you have the evergreen method to any career change, with your favorite web3 twist.