Web3 Developer Roadmap: How To Get Started?
The massive efforts that tech firms and big corporations are making to enter the web3 world haven't gone unnoticed by web development professionals – considering the abundant and lucrative job opportunities in web3, the rising interest is understandable.
That said, how does one go about getting their feet wet as an aspiring web3 developer?
Learning web3 and its fundamental technologies, such as blockchain technology, decentralized apps, and smart contracts, may sound daunting, but there's nothing that can't be learned and nothing you can't master.
And you're just in time – we've put together a web3 developer roadmap containing essential resources to build a comprehensive knowledge base to start your journey in web3.
Ready to begin? Let's get started with the basics.
Learn Basics Of Computer Science
There are no barriers to joining web3. Anyone and everyone motivated enough to learn its fundamental concepts can become a web3 developer in time.
That said, if you have the basics of computer science down pat and have a good knowledge of maths, analytical skills, and creative problem-solving skills, you already have the skills needed to give you a distinct advantage in the industry.
Web3 requires knowledge of algorithms and data structures, as well as computer science, programming languages, and blockchain technology.
And if you're a complete and total beginner to such concepts, the venerable Harvard University has one of the best resources to learn the basics of computer science with – namely, its course Introduction to Computer Science.
This is an entry-level online course that teaches students algorithmic thinking, data structures, resources management, cryptography, web development, and software engineering.
This course will give you the foundational knowledge and skill set to develop smart contracts and create decentralized applications. Many web3 developers have taken this course that have since landed careers in web3.
Start With Front End Development
Web3 is centered around the development of decentralized applications known as dapps.
Dapps are a core technology of web3, and every web3 developer must know about them and what technologies make them work.
Every widget you see on a website – such as links, buttons, layouts, and animations, are all facets of front-end development. Prior experience is an advantage.
The same is true for standard web development as it is for web3 – front-end developers are in charge of the look and feel of a web3 dapp, taking the vision and design concepts, implementing it, and making sure said website is optimized for all devices.
That said, there's no better place to start your journey as a web3 developer than with front-end development – especially if you haven't had any prior experience creating standard websites or if you still aren't familiar with basic web concepts.
Here's how to get started.
Learn HTML and CSS
- HTML and CSS are the basic building blocks of every website and decentralized app. Good knowledge of both will allow you to create sleek, aesthetic front-ends and prime you for working with smart contracts.
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is responsible for displaying page content such as links, headings, paragraphs, lists, and buttons.
- On the other hand, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is responsible for the styling. This is where your animations, layouts, and colors come in.
- A great place to learn the basics of HTML and HTML5 is by going through the freeCodeCamp HTML challenges.
- Meanwhile, freeCodeCamp's Responsive Web Design Course is an excellent course you can take to learn the basics of CSS, accessibility, and responsive design – all of which are essential for you to create aesthetic websites optimized for all devices.
- After completing these courses, you should be able to build simple, stylish, and interactive websites and help you start thinking about web programming like a web developer should.
- Before you know it, you'll be creating cutting-edge defi applications and all sorts of dapps that are visually pleasing and optimized for all users.
Should you learn backend development as well?
Now that we have navigated the essential first steps of the web3 developer roadmap let's run it back a bit and review some key concepts before we go any further.
Most of the technical principles involved in web3 backend development remain the same as in standard web development.
Therefore, since dapp front-ends are usually created using web development techniques, it's best to begin with, learning front-end web development first to gain a better understanding of how the internet works before delving into the basic principles of backend development.
Don't get us wrong, though.
A good fundamental understanding of backend development is necessary if you want to write smart contracts and work with them. But it isn't a prerequisite. If you wish to concentrate solely on front-end development, you can totally do so and succeed in the web3 space.
Backend development – which entails working with blockchain architectures and their efficiency in storing data – is a little harder to break into as a complete newbie since the slightest mistake can be extremely costly.
After all, you need to crawl before you walk.
Learn About Blockchain Development
Once you've gotten the basics down pat, it's time to choose which blockchain development platform and ecosystem you wish to work on.
There are plenty of blockchain networks on which you can build decentralized applications and develop smart contracts on, such as Solana blockchain, a blockchain ideal for creating smart contracts. Solana uses Rust as its primary programming language for smart contracts.
Another one would be Ethereum, a hugely popular blockchain with a big community of web3 dapps and developers. The Ethereum blockchain uses Solidity as a smart contract programming language.
Since these two platforms are among the most heavily used blockchain ecosystems for web3, they are great places to begin. Every blockchain ecosystem will offer distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Nevertheless, whichever blockchain you plan to use to develop and deploy smart contracts on, you'll need to learn blockchain fundamentals.
At Metacrafters, we are focusing on teaching you skills that will allow you to get employment in Web3. You can start learning Web3 with our free course, and since we are running on a learn-to-earn model, you will be able to get rewards as you progress!
Another great place to start is UC Berkeley's Blockchain Fundamentals course, which goes on a deep dive into the mechanics of blockchain systems – an essential knowledge area for every web3 developer.
Smart contracts are self-executing programs that are built on the blockchain and run when preset agreements or criteria are met.
They enable the automated performance of transactions so that all stakeholders know the outcome of said transactions with immediate finality – without requiring lost time, backlogs, or third-party involvement.
Smart contracts are used to develop dapps for a variety of purposes, such as decentralized finance (DeFi) operations like investing, lending, staking, and trading, as well as gaming, insurance, health care, and real estate management.
Decentralized applications (dapps) are basically programs built over blockchains.
The core components of a decentralized application are a standard front-end and a backend.
On the other hand, the backend is comprised of a Solidity (Ethereum) or Rust (Solana) built on top of the blockchain as a decentralized data storage source, rather than databases or object storages in traditional (or web2) web development.
In order to understand how the dapp front-end and backend interact, it's important to possess a good knowledge of the basics of backend development and a deep knowledge of the skills needed for front-end development.
Now, it's time to learn programming languages to create smart contracts and implement them in your development process.
Rust gained plenty of mindshare as a smart contract programming language for web3 applications in 2021, coinciding with the rise of Solana. Many web3 developers have since built a variety of dapps on Solana using Rust.
Rust offers a wide array of functionality, web frameworks, tools, and libraries that help web3 developers to build, test, and run dapps efficiently.
A good place to begin learning Rust is Metacrafters. There's a treasure trove of completely free resources to learn Rust with, such as the videos, information about tools, a community where you can learn from fellow developers, and pathways to advanced courses.
On the other hand, if you want to build dapps on Ethereum, you will need to learn Solidity – an object-oriented, high-level language for developing smart contracts and creating dapps.
Learning Solidity is one of the most in-demand skills for web3 developers nowadays, considering that the average salary for a Solidity developer can run up to six digits.
To gain fluency in smart contract development, expertise in Solidity is required because of its status as the pre-eminent smart contract programming language.
Moreover, not only does learning Solidity open doors to exciting and well-paid career opportunities. It also enables you to build robust, full-featured dapps that have the potential to revolutionize industries across the board. Besides the large developer community, Ethereum boasts thousands of dapps you can gain inspiration from.
Learn Web3.js & Ethers.js
Once you've learned how to write smart contracts, it's time to link them with your application front-end.
Plenty of libraries will do that for you, but among the most popular ones used by web3 developers include Web3.js and Ethers.js.
These libraries contain all the necessary modules for you to be able to interact with the blockchain.
Now, when it comes to writing smart contracts, you'll come across several development environments. Truffle Suite is a popular choice for Solidity developers, considering its excellent testing framework and asset pipeline for blockchains that support the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This development environment enables deploying of smart contracts across a variety of blockchain ecosystems.
On the other hand, Rust developers typically use Rustup and Cargo to create a local development environment for writing smart contracts. Rustup is a Rust installer and version management tool, while Cargo serves as Rust's build tool and package manager.
These development environments will help ease your transition to web3 development with ease.
Develop Your First Project
Voila! We've finally come to the point where you have all the necessary skills to become a web3 developer.
It's now time for the rubber to hit the road.
And there's no better way to retain and test your knowledge than by building your first project. There is a variety of templates you can use, to begin with, such as creating your first token, NFT collection, or building your first decentralized marketplace.
The possibilities are endless.
The key takeaway is to act. You can learn all everything there is about web3 development, all the programming languages, front-ends and backends, coding, computer science, and blockchain development – but all of that won't amount to anything without putting all that knowledge and theory into practice. That's where your real education begins.