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Illini Blockchain

Why Young People Should Dive Into Web3 (and how to get started)

Web3 is the best industry for ambitious young people who want to grow and make an impact.

It is going to impact nearly every sector over the next two decades. And it provides opportunities otherwise unavailable without decades of experience.

In this short essay, I share 3 reasons why you should start learning about web3 RIGHT NOW and 5 ways to get started.

1. It’s Really F*cking Cool

If you want to work on frontier technology that will change the way the world runs, blockchain is the best place to go.

a. How Do I Know It’s On The Frontier?

If I told an older person I was to go into finance or consulting, they would congratulate me. If I told them I was going into crypto, I would get confused looks. That skepticism is only given to careers on the cutting edge.

And despite bear markets, web3 continues to grow (cc a16z):

b. So, What’s Happening On The Frontier?

Long story short, we’re at the brink of a total transformation of the global economy. Think about it this way. The internet can transfer information around the world instantaneously. As a result, it democratized knowledge to anyone. With blockchain, the new internet (aka web3) can transfer value around the world instantaneously. It will democratize economic opportunity/freedom to anyone. This opens up a ton of use cases that will move the world forward:

And these use cases only rose up in the last 3 years! Like the early internet, we probably don’t know most of the killer use cases of web3 just yet.

Web3 & blockchain is going to change the world. You want to know the best part? Unlike other established industries, young people can have huge influence! This leads me to my second point…

2. There’s A Ton Of Upward Mobility

Choosing a legacy field like finance is choosing a slightly higher floor but much lower ceiling. The story of these fields is already written. Sure, you might climb the corporate ladder. But you’re never going to change the game. You simply can’t catch up to someone who has 40 years of finance experience.

However, in web3, the upside is untapped. Blockchain was invented in 2009. DeFi didn’t become popular until 2020. And NFTs essentially didn’t exist until 2021. Everything is new.

That means you’re still early enough to meaningfully shape the future of the space. The ceiling is as high as you’re willing to work to make it. And this idea applies to almost any skillset.

Many people think that you need to code or be technical to work in web3. They’re wrong. Like any industry, blockchain will require a huge range of skillsets (from marketers to lawyers).

What you do need, however, is a hunger and initiative to learn. There are no blockchain majors or defined paths. This can be intimidating at first. But, that intimidation is your competitive advantage. 99% of people either don’t try to learn or give up soon after starting.

That means they are giving on the fastest growing industry in the world. Like the internet in the 90s, getting ahead of the curve will reap HUGE dividends in the long run.

And young people like Gaby Goldberg are already rising to the top FAST — she’s only 23 and already has profile articles and lots of investing experience. I experienced a hint of this first hand. After only 6 months, I got a job as a growth intern at a DeFi startup valued at over $30 million.

The only thing that limits your success in web3 is your work ethic. It doesn’t matter what major you are in or what country you are from. Anyone with internet can access opportunities within it.

3. It’s Coming Whether You Like It Or Not

Over the last 9 months, 40 of the top 100 public companies have invested ~$6b into web3 companies.

And the most talented people around the world are flocking in droves. Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank sums it up best:

There just can’t be this much intellectual & monetary capital poured into something for us not to expect great outcomes. It’s like the early internet.

And people who dove into the early internet benefitted a ton from their early knowledge about it. Being early to a rapidly growing industry leads to huge (unforeseen) opportunities.

It won’t seem obvious now…but that’s the point. In 10 years though, you might be kicking yourself for not getting in earlier.

Remember: adoption happens slowly, then all at once.

Besides, what do you have to lose? You are young. This is the time to take risks.

Now that we know why you should get into crypto, let’s talk about how to get started:

5 Ways To Get Started In Web3

In general, you should:

  • Always Be Learning — it’s a meritocracy, you need to out merit others
  • Start Investing — get skin in the game & hands-on experience
  • Build A Portfolio — you need a portfolio of work that shows your abilities.

Your portfolio should be tailored to the job you want. If you want to be a researcher/analyst, write articles. If you want to be a dev, build projects. If you want to be a designer, create graphics. You have to put in unseen hours.

1. Join Illini Blockchain: If you are a student at UIUC, join us at Illini Blockchain! Applications close August 29th. We also have public community events throughout the year that open to anyone. Click here to learn more.

For those not at UIUC, there are a few tried and true methods to getting your foot in the door (thanks Mason Nystrom):

2. Become an intern: Interning is the fastest way to find out if you like a field. If you’re a student at any level and have the chance to become an intern I highly recommend it. This is the best option for students looking to learn about crypto and get experience.

3. Join a DAO: Provide value and it’s hard not to get hired or rewarded by a DAO. Social DAOs (FWB, ATXDAO, banklessDAO, & forefront). NFT gated DAOs (nounsdao). Investment DAOs (NEPTUNEDA0 & seedclubhq). Service DAOs (RaidGuild & prtyDAO)

4. Write: Ryan Watkins, Ryan Adams, Kinjal Shah, and more all became names in crypto because they started writing about crypto topics, mostly related to investment or research. One of the highest skills you can leverage is your ability to write. You can start writing by curating content like Darren Lau or breaking down protocols/products like Yash Bora.

5. Network: The crypto world is small compared to any other industry. Networking has become incredibly easy, through Twitter DM or by email. If you are a student, join your blockchain club. If it doesn’t exist, find some friends and start one. That’s what I did!

Once you make a connection, find a way to provide value. People are always searching for things, help them find the information they need.

BONUS! Think differently: Show your skills and knowledge. Employers value people who act on their own and produce cool stuff. Write a newsletter. Make a website. Research super niche topics. But above all, do what interests you.

If you put your nose in emerging industries and learn the skills that industry needs, you will find opportunities. And, finding a way to intertwine the skills you learn with your natural strengths and interests will make you a killer.

Click here to learn more about how to get a job in web3.

If you liked this article, you’ll like my other thoughts. I share them on my Twitter and my newsletter.

Have a great day!

- Luke

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