WebFREE EP4: Path to Becoming a web3 developer

WebFREE EP4: Path to Becoming a web3 developer

July 21, 2023

As the digital world pivots towards decentralization and the adoption of blockchain tech, Web3 developers are in high demand. In this article, we explore why developers are attracted to web3 and how you might go about exploring this path. We’ll touch on some of the principles of blockchain, and then talk about specific avenues you might want to explore, such as hackathons, bounties, courses, and more. And all for FREE!

Why work in web3?

Web3 development isn't just about employing new technology. It's about joining a transformative movement and shaping the future of the Internet. Thanks to blockchain, traditional business models give way to peer-to-peer transacting, data privacy is respected, and users regain control over their digital identities. As a Web3 developer, you will be building transparent, secure, and democratized systems that redefine our online interactions. This is the frontier.

Extraordinary growth

There are now approximately 23 thousand software developers actively working in web3. That is below 1% of all the software developers in the world. It seems like such a small, almost insignificant number, but if you look at the growth rate, it may not look as insignificant.

The number of software developers in the world has been growing steadily for many years. In 2020 there were 24.5 million, today, there are 27.7 million, 11% growth in three years.

In crypto, the number of developers has been increasing at a less steady pace. Usually, a bull market attracts a new cohort of enthusiasts who end up building through the following bear market and creating the applications that become the foundation of the next bull run, and then the cycle repeats. It was very clearly observable in the 2016-2020 cycle, which had sown the seeds of the DeFi summer of 2020 and the NFT summer of 2021. The number of developers in that period has gone from 2 thousand in 2017 to 12 thousand in 2020

We are now in the next cycle that in 2021-2022 attracted thousands more developers. The total number peaked in late 2022 at around 26 thousand. And while the economic environment in 2023 is very different from 2021, both macro and in crypto in particular, the majority of developers that have joined the industry during the bull run are sticking around, and we’re currently at 23 thousand, which is 48% growth in just two years. Now, that is significant.Philosophy of web3

Web3 aims to take the next step in the evolution of the Internet by promoting decentralization, user sovereignty, and data privacy. These principles are at the core of all the development in the web3 space and manifest in a number of ways.


Decentralization redistributes control from a single authority to multiple independent entities. The concept of decentralization permeates the entire ecosystem, from Layer 1 protocols (blockchains themselves) to applications and even communities around them. Unlike Web2's centralized, company-controlled model, Web3 enables peer-to-peer interactions. This helps web3 reduce single-point failures, enhance systems’ resilience, and protect the participants from the abuse of power by the centralized intermediary (that can collect data or revoke permission to participate in the system). 


Decentralization relies on the self-sovereignty of the ecosystem participants. Web3 empowers users to control their personal data, digital identities, and of course, assets. This is one of the important areas of growth for the blockchain industry, as educating and preparing the users for true self-sovereignty is not a trivial task.


Blockchain's trustless nature allows for secure, private interactions. Parties can transact directly with one another, utilizing cryptography for security and without relying on intermediaries. This peer-to-peer mechanism minimizes the data shared with third parties, bolstering privacy. However, blockchains are public and may expose transaction details. Hence developing more advanced privacy solutions that take the nature of blockchain into consideration (e.g. zero knowledge tech) is another area of significant growth within the blockchain space.

How to start your career as a developer in web3?

Whether you are an experienced developer or a beginner, there are plenty of paths you can take to learn new skills and build a network of relationships that will help you get your web3 career going.  Most people who work in web3 believe that we need more people to help us build the future we envision, so we make sure to welcome and support the new arrivals. You can find local meetups, hackathons, protocol grants, or Discord servers to learn and meet people, you’ll see that you will find this space very open, inviting, and collaborative.

Learn web3

There is a trove of learning materials produced almost by each and every protocol and application, as well as Discord servers where team members and other developers can help you navigate the new terrain. 

  • Alchemy University - Alchemy provides a simple (and FREE) path through three courses from coding basics, to blockchain fundamentals, and, finally, to building your own web3 projects.
  • Encode - Encode focuses on web3 education. Through bootcamps, hackathons, events, and AMAs, Encode introduces developers to new protocols and tools, it also creates networking opportunities and can even help with your fundraising efforts.

Contribute to web3 

Building in the open

One of the core tenants of web3 is building in the open. The idea is to cultivate a transparent, inclusive, and community-driven development environment where anyone can contribute or provide feedback. This can pertain to various aspects of project development, such as design, planning, and tracking. Projects interact with their users and builders through social media, AMAs, public developer calls, town halls, and community events. This allows projects to be more nimble and sensitive to the needs of their community and even crowdsource ideas and solutions, reducing exposure to single points of failure. For the users and builders, this allows them to have a direct impact on the decision-making processes and even contribute work, building relationships with the project team, and sometimes earning tokens.

Open source

One of the forms of building in the open is open-sourcing the code itself, which is another manifestation of the decentralization concept. Developers from all over the world contribute to and vet the code. Open development establishes trust, as the technology is transparent to users and auditors, it can be a significant competitive advantage in the web3 space because the community values the ability to see and test the code for themselves. The openness makes the solutions more interoperable and enables compounding innovation, which benefits the ecosystem as a whole. 

Contributing to an open-source blockchain project is one of the ways you can learn, up your skills, and create connections that will help you in your web3 career. There are various ways of contributing, not all contributions have to be code related, and the whole idea is that anyone can participate as long as you comply with the principles of the project and communicate with the existing team.

Win in web3


Hackathons provide numerous benefits. They act as a learning platform, facilitating the exploration of new technologies, tools, and development strategies. The environment at these events is both competitive and collaborative. It sharpens your skills and makes you ship under pressure. You get to showcase your abilities, potentially catching the eye of employers or investors. There are, of course, also prizes and bounties that can be quite significant, offering additional income. You get to learn, network, ship, fundraise, and make some money. 

Here are some of the most notable blockchain hackathon organizers:

  • ETH Global is a series of Ethereum ecosystem hackathons that take place all over the world: in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. 
  • ETH Denver is the longest-running (and possibly the most prestigious) Ethereum ecosystem hackathon. In 2023, #BUIDLathon (aka hackathon) was attended by 6,000 competitors, who ended up submitting almost 400 projects for judging. The 18 finalists received over $100K in prize money, and another $1M in bounties & prizes was awarded to all teams.
  • Other ecosystems host their hackathons: Solana, Chainlink, Near, Polkadot, Aptos, Encode, BNB, Bitcoin, and many others.


A bounty is a reward offered by projects to developers who contribute by identifying bugs, security vulnerabilities, or developing new features. Bounties are often offered as part of hackathons, but there are also lists on platforms like GitHub, Gitcoin, Blockworks, or the projects’ websites. You will need to find a bounty to work on, submit your solution, and get your work reviewed.

In conclusion

As you develop your skills and grow your network, you will discover more and more opportunities to explore and contribute to the web3 ecosystem. There are blockchain conferences, meetups, DAOs, Telegram, and Discord groups, where you can find anything that you may need, from career advice to tips on the hottest parties around and free tickets to conferences and events. Stay tuned for more WebFree articles to help you find the best opportunities and tools for your career as a developer in web3!

Meet the writer

Sasha's background as a producer and copyright lawyer gives her a strong foundation for a grounded point of view on the crypto industry. She makes complex stories relatable and memorable, whether in writing, audio, or video.
Sasha Barrie
Creator of How2Web3 and WCBH podcasts.
Full stack content maker. Lawyer by training, producer by trade, and a web3 idealist at heart.