Originally written for Des Femme’s inaugural Magazine, republished here!
Four years ago, both of us first fell down the crypto rabbit hole. We had fire in our bellies and experience on our resumes but no clear roadmap for building a career in this emerging industry. Fast-forward to today, we are both thriving at two successful crypto startups.
There’s a myth that the blockchain industry is only for technical folks and developers. In reality, there is a huge demand for talent across the spectrum. There are many opportunities to carve out a unique and fulfilling career where passion and dedication are valued over pedigree and past work experience. Here are a few actionable steps for landing your first job in crypto.
Get your hands dirty
The crypto industry moves at a breakneck speed with ever-evolving concepts and technological breakthroughs. It is natural to feel intimidated and overwhelmed. Our advice: figure out what aspect of the industry excites you and start there. Are you concerned about the surveillance state? Explore the privacy-focused projects. Is self-sovereign identity and data your jam? Dive into the infrastructure projects that are building Web 3.0. Do you have a background in economics? You might enjoy learning about game theory implementations and incentive mechanisms. Do you love art? Try minting your first NFT. With roots in emerging countries like India and Venezuela, we were immediately fascinated by alternate forms of monetary systems and economic empowerment.
Learn by doing. Download a wallet, make transactions, test out decentralized apps and ask plenty of questions along the way. Join your favorite project’s discord, dig through educational resources and beginner-friendly guides, perform tasks and earn crypto through programs like 1729, Earn, or Rabbithole.
Find your friends
No one is an expert in crypto. Approach this industry with genuine curiosity and commitment and you will find more than enough people willing to engage and support you. Your crypto buddies will help you navigate everything from seed phrases to gas prices. They’ll also be there to engage in deep conversations about money, power, and how technology reshapes society. When you’re ready to start applying, your crypto friends might also help you with references, connections, and background on the teams you’re hoping to join. That’s not to say you won’t find toxic trolls and hostile behavior, but if you know where to look, you will be surprised at the diversity of people attracted to and building in this space.
Build a network. Attend conferences, meetups, and hackathons. Join communities that share your values. Connect with industry players on common topics of interest. Here are a few of our favorite events and groups to get you started: she256, Women in Blockchain, Blockchain Latinx, CryptoSprings, Blockchain Education Network.
Build a personal brand
The best way to learn is to explain it to others. The benefits are multifold. You get to make connections, enhance your understanding of the subject, and in the process build your personal brand and portfolio which you can leverage while applying for jobs. Do not try to imitate, bring your authentic self to the content you create and contributions you make.
Create content. Choose the medium that makes the most sense for you; be it through bite-sized threads on social media, long-form writing through blogs, audio, or video content. Host an event or interview an expert, write ELI5 guides or share your personal learning journey. And don’t be afraid to engage with industry leaders on “Crypto Twitter”.
You are ready to apply!
Using the technology will help you understand what gaps exist in the crypto landscape and where you can add value. Building a network will give you a group of colleagues who can open doors and make introductions. Creating a personal brand will help you stand out from other applicants. Now you are ready to land your first job in crypto.
Go get that dream job. Let people know you are looking. Groups like she256 and Blockchain Association have job boards for their member companies. Digital Currency Group, Polychain Capital, and Paradigm Fund have job boards for their portfolio companies. Apply to jobs even if you meet only 70% of the requirements.
Reach out, respectfully. Once you’ve identified your target roles, reach out to people you know at the company or people in your network. You might be surprised who replies back to a DM on Twitter (that’s how Elena landed an interview at Hiro) or is willing to make an intro (that’s how Manasi landed an interview at Skynet).
Be prepared. When you apply, consider tailoring your resume to showcase the original content you have created related to your favorite projects or tools. If you get an interview, do your homework and read the last three blog posts from the company or team. Don’t be discouraged at the first sign of rejection.
Down the rabbit hole
The crypto industry will benefit from diverse voices and perspectives. If you are passionate, curious, and humble, you will add value. The past few years have been a wild ride but also some of the most fulfilling moments of our careers. The best time to jump down the rabbit hole is right now. What are you waiting for?