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How to become a Blockchain Developer in 2023? - for free
Resources & tips based on my two-year adventure in the blockchain space
If you've been messaging me with questions like, "How do I start with blockchain development?" or "What's the first step to becoming a smart contract developer?" – then this post is for you.
Although I've recently taken a short break from blogging as my understanding of various niche concepts expands, I found myself eager to look back on my two-year adventure into the blockchain space (wow, time flies!) and resources for folks getting started today.
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In this post I want to share my top learning resources & some tips worth considering as you get started.
Looking back: some tips
Before we get into the resources, let me share a few things I've learned (the hard way):
Don't avoid the techy/complicated stuff that looks scary. The blockchain industry can be intimidating with its technical terms and complex ideas. But it's not as complicated as it looks. It's mostly about getting familiar with the new terminology. Once you grasp these, you'll realize it's not all that scary. As with most things in tech, concepts are lot easier than they look. For me, this was learning about Maximal Extractable Value (MEV). I'm not an expert, but once I opened a simple article, read the basics, and watched a few podcasts, I started to delve more into it.
Specialize, specialize, specialize. Trying to learn a bit of everything in a new field like blockchain is tempting, especially given the fact that there can be very few resources on specific topics. But specializing can make a real difference. Choose an area you're interested in, such as smart contract security, protocol development, or MEV, and deep dive into it. I believe that being an expert in one area is more valuable and opens more doors than knowing a little about everything. Also - don't worry; you can always expand your areas of expertise as you move forward.
Start contributing to open-source projects. Numerous open-source projects in the blockchain space offer opportunities to contribute, learn, and network with other developers. Most projects and protocols themselves are even open-source by nature. You can easily find yourself interacting with leading contributors! Start small, most possibly with an issue labelled "good first issue." Contributions don't need to be groundbreaking—a README expansion, a test case addition, or even code comments can be valuable. Documentation work isn't the most glamorous, but it's vital - its also where I got started. Here’s how you do it: find an interesting project which you'd like to contribute, first check out the "Contribution Guidelines" on their GitHub repo which will guide you through the process of contributing.
Don't try to go to every event. When you start in the blockchain/crypto space, you'll find people going from one event to another. There are so many events. It can feel like you need to attend them all. The FOMO is real. I’d suggest to pick a few that interest you the most and go to just them. Spend the rest of your time learning, building and applying what you've learned. Look into ETH Globals schedule or find events in your home city. (also: hackathons > events)
The tips I've shared above can help you choose a clear path as you advance your career or just personal learning journey. After you've got the learning and want to jump full-time in, you can check out this post on how to get a job in web3.
Now, let's get to the resources.
My top picks to learn about Blockchain Development in 2023
First things first, you do not need to pay anything to become a blockchain developer (in my opinion, any developer). There’s a massive amount of free & top-notch content out there. Kudos to all the people creating such valuable resources! 🙌
So, let's get to it.
If you want to become a smart contract developer I’d highly suggest to check it out. Here are some pointers on why I think this course is a great place to get started:
No Background Knowledge Required: This course isn't exclusively for developers. You don't need any prior knowledge - it even guides you through setting up GitHub. If you're a developer, you can, of course, skip these parts.
Well-structured Curriculum: It covers the fundamentals of blockchain and guides you step-by-step through the development process. It's great for establishing a strong foundation and gaining a clear understanding of core concepts. Patrick often summarizes and provides pointers at the end of each section as well which I found very helpful. His use of analogies also simplifies complex concepts.
Covers Advanced Concepts: The course delves into the details many resources overlook, like writing tests, writing gas-efficient smart contracts and emphasizing their importance. Understanding testing, auditing, and crucial aspects took me longer to get into than I expected. That's one reason I appreciate this course and Patrick's content.
Updated Information and Tools: Patrick frequently uses AI throughout the course and demonstrates how to write good prompts and troubleshoot errors. The course also covers Foundry, a recent toolkit in the web3 space that has gained significant popularity over the past year.
Although I’m a developer in this area for the past 2 years I didn’t have much experience with Foundry and this course has been super helpful for me personally. There aren’t much detailed resources given how new the tools are so its very valuable to have such a comprehensive resource.
Alchemy University is a platform with different resources to learn about web3 development.
Roadtoweb3: a project-based learning course which allows you to gain hands-on experience. This self-paced course has several projects that increase complexity. You'll find videos and blogs that complement the projects as you go on.
Ethereum Developer Bootcamp: a comprehensive course for any developers looking to transition to the blockchain space. It provides a detailed overview of different concepts- cryptography, smart contracts, to creating a fully functional dApp.
One of the main advantages of Alchemy University is that you don't need to have any prior knowledge, and start with the course that fits you best. There's a very active Discord server where you can find others completing the courses and instructors helping you out with questions you may have on the way. You can meet people completing the same courses and connect with the instructors and builders. Shout out to Vitto and the Alchemy team for all the hard work!
CryptoZombies is a game-based learning platform for blockchain development. Instead of just going through programming concepts, you'll create your own blockchain-based game using Solidity — all in your browser. It's one of the most popular platforms to get started, given how easy it is to open the website on your browser without any additional setup.
As someone who’s learned a lot from CryptoZombies I can say that it's a great choice for those who want to quickly jump into coding and avoid watching video tutorials or any PC setup.
Worth noting that it's a starting point, and once you complete CryptoZombies, you'll likely want to start building projects and learning about more advanced concepts.
Nader's famous tutorial is the first project I watched and completed when I started in the web3 space. His YouTube channel has well-structured and easy-to-understand videos covering a range of development concepts; from building a web3 app using the Lens protocol to exploring social login and account abstraction with Biconomy and even creating AI tools.
It’s not a course, instead you can checkout Nade’s Youtube to find resources on certain projects and protocols to compliment your learnings. This way you can learn about niche areas in the blockchain space, such as identity, social and storage.
In addition to his YouTube content, I highly recommend following Nader on GitHub to stay updated on his latest projects and prototypes. Keeping up with Nader across various platforms will keep you informed about the latest trends in the blockchain space.
SpeedRunEthereum is a set of challenges for developers to get built with Ethereum. If you are a developer who directly wants to start building apps and learn about Ethereum you should check it out.
You'll learn what Ethereum is good at and what it can be used for. You'll be writing code and deploying your smart contracts. There are challenges, such as creating a Multisig, Token Vendor and SVG NFT collection. Once you sign up to SpeedRunEthereum with your wallet, you'll have a builder profile to submit your projects.
It is worth noting that for SpeedRunEthereum you will need to have some knowledge on crypto and have your wallet setup. If you are new, we have you covered. Together with Austin and Carlos, we created a web2 to web3 series for developers to learn about Ethereum & build decentralized applications. The course is made up of 4 sections: Becoming A Power User, Scripting and Smart Contracts, Building Decentralized Apps, Build Your Own Project. We start by creating a crypto wallet and learning about the popular apps used today.
LearnWeb3 is a platform where you can find different educational content on Blockchain and AI. You'll see mini-courses, lessons and degrees.
The Ethereum Developer Degree is a great place for developers looking to get started with blockchain. There are four different tracks in the course, which start from the basics - what's blockchain, what's web3 and then end with the expert path, which has lessons such as - how to create Merkel trees for airdrops, Execute a denial of service on a smart contract.
The lessons and the mini-sections are great for getting more understanding of a specific topic. You can cover the basics and then dive into something more specific.
In conclusion, becoming a blockchain developer in 2023 is an exciting journey, with both challenges and opportunities. While the field may seem intimidating at first, it's important to not run away from complex concepts. Instead choose a resource that fits your style the best and simply start learning at your own pace.
Remember, all these resources are available for free. Also please never ever watch a coding course like a Netflix series; make sure to have your code editor opened and code while following along.
If you have any questions or comments, my DM's are open! Also, please let me know if I need to include any other resources; I'd love to look into ones I’m missing. Happy coding! 😊
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