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Earlywork #27: How To Break Into Crypto Careers
Featuring interviews with Kerman Kohli (Founder @ ARCx), Daniel Bar (Founder @ bitfwd), Jake Fitzgerald (Contributor @ Lyra) + Paul Pounendis (Founder @ Adelaide Blockchain)
Ello ello Earlyworkers!
Delivered to your (virtual) door today is Earlywork #27, a careers newsletter providing free career resources for young Australians in the tech & startup landscape.
Trying out a new approach to showcasing top resources and roles shared in the Earlywork Community. Let us know what you think!
This week, we’ll be diving into a career path that 5 years ago might’ve sounded insane…
If you’re not already part of the crew, subscribe now to keep a pulse on our latest stories and conversations:
💡Weekly Cheeky Tip
Investing in crypto is now weirdly… normal.
Bus shelter posters tell you to invest in Bitcoin, personal finance blogs have started including crypto as an ingredient of investment strategy, and the occasional Uber driver will give a hot take on an altcoin.
But when it comes to working in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, this is still a fairly murky, unclear world.
There’s not a clear narrative in most formal career resources on how people land jobs here.
That’s why we decided to ask several top founders and operators in the Australian crypto space on the top skills & experiences they’d recommend for landing a role in the industry:
Kerman is the founder of a crypto startup called ARCx that essentially issues autonomous loans against valuable collateral you hold (ETH/BTC). They’ve raised over $7m to date from some of the top investors in the crypto industry + their community, and have a team of 6 full-time employees.
Getting plugged into the right conversations. Signup to Twitter and start following the major projects and people. Join the Discords you find interesting.
Buy some Ether and actually play around with the products on a test-net or main-net itself. Use Binance Smart Chain if you find gas costs are a bit too high.
Write about your experiences as you go through them. Your writing is your resume in crypto.
You don’t need to be technical or crazy good at one particular thing, just be curious and do your best to add value wherever you think you can. Don’t ask for anything, just do high-quality work and before you know it you’ll break in.
Here’s a great thread if you want something even more detailed:
Daniel is the Founder of bitfwd, a Blockchain and FinTech venture network and education community with the mission of supporting projects through tech pilots, hackathons, global ecosystem building and funding. He’s also an Impact Entrepreneur Fellow through the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.
👨🏼🤝👨🏿Community 1st 👯♂️: Crypto communities and people in crypto are generally interested to help out and educate. Reach out and ask for advice or help. The only stupid question is the one not asked.
📲🦔 Explore Products: Start experimenting with products you find interesting, don't worry about the consequences initially, treat it as play. Your curious mind is an invaluable asset.
☯️ Decentralized Autonomous Organization: Search for #DAOs and join their chat channels on Discord, Telegram or telepathic comms. Create meaningful memes, contribute to the discussions meaningfully. As a contributor to #DAO, you'll get to be a part of an entity that manages treasury and makes an impact on the crypto ecosystem and the world. The best part, you'll learn a ton while contributing.
🚀 Win and help win: Collaborate with those who already "win". Ask someone you like to join as an apprentice.
📖 Read: If you're into reading books: Mastering Bitcoin & Mastering Ethereum, a16z Crypto Canon, and others.
👩🏻💻Developer skills: Sign up for free online basic crypto relevant programming if you're keen to learn in a fun way: Cryptozombies or ConsenSys Academy.
Jake Fitzgerald, Contributor @ Lyra (Ex-WhatsApp)
Jake recently left a Software Engineering role at WhatsApp in Silicon Valley to join Lyra, a decentralized protocol for trading options based in Sydney. They're looking for 2-3 engineers, solidity / web3 experience preferred but not required. Email email@example.com for more info or reach out on LinkedIn.
Develop a technical understanding of the technology and protocols. This includes the various blockchains (starting with Bitcoin and Ethereum), the ERC standards like ERC-20 (tokens) and ERC-721 (NTFs) and the big DeFi protocols like Uniswap, Aave and Compound. Combine this with an understanding of the traditional financial system and you’ll be able to spot promising projects.
Engage with communities of promising, early-stage DAOs. Ask thoughtful questions to core contributors that demonstrate long-term thinking and a deep understanding of what they are building. If you’re non-technical, become a moderator of a new project’s Discord. If you are technical, start making small open-source contributions to their repositories. With so much noise from people asking about airdrops or “wen token”, it’s easy to stand out in young communities.
As a full-stack engineer looking to enter the space, don’t feel like you have to jump straight into smart contract development. You can start by building interfaces with web3 and NodeJS to get an understanding of the inputs and outputs of smart contracts, and then move down the stack into working on smart contracts.
Paul Pounendis (Founder & President @ Adelaide Blockchain)
Paul is the Founder and President of Adelaide Blockchain Incorporated, a student-run, not-for-profit, blockchain organisation in South Australia, focused on education and engagement of blockchain technology for industry professionals, businesses, academics, students and the general public. He also previously served as the youngest board member of Blockchain Australia.
Meeting people and contributing to conversations at local industry meetups and even international conferences is an absolute must. Also, joining Twitter, following important thought leaders and contributing to conversation, or even creating your own content, is an incredibly powerful way to engage and build a profile for yourself. Many prominent figureheads in crypto have Twitter to thank for starting their careers!
Understanding the basics of how Bitcoin and other crypto assets work is critical in beginning to navigate the industry, allowing you to back yourself in conversation. Focus on Bitcoin and Proof of Work first, then learn about Ethereum and other consensus mechanisms like Proof of Stake. Expand further by learning about layer 2 scaling solutions and the basics of DeFi; plus more!
If you have a background in software development, get to learning solidity and building some basic dApps. By far the most scarce asset is developer talent. Take initiative in contributing to the open-source crypto projects that interest you the most. You’ll be surprised how quickly a few portfolio pieces and keen interest can get you hired!
🌏 Earlywork Community
👀 Key Updates
What’s been happening in the community?
First In-Person Social: We were stoked to host our first in-person community meetup in Sydney @ Ryan’s Bar with 25+ of you beautiful humans turning up!! A big thanks to all those who came! We’re staying COVID-safe for now, but keen for the next one.
Angel Investing Masterclass: We were super grateful to have Doug Oliver (Head of Platform @ TEN13 Ventures) run a live masterclass for the community on his lessons learned from angel investing and breaking into startups + VC. Stay tuned for a write-up of the key insights here!
New channels! We’ve launched several fresh spaces in our Slack community based on your feedback to kickstart chatter.
#social-impact: Discussing how to make a positive impact on the planet through tech, startups, and your career more broadly.
#questions: A go-to Q&A channel for any questions about tech, startups and beyond, to help young people in tech & startups share knowledge and advice with one another.
#job-search: Sharing tips and resources around applications, interviews and negotiating offers.
📚 Trending Topics
Our favourite reads and resources being discussed in the Earlywork community.
Rainmaking SDG Compass: Visualised insights into which UN Sustainable Development Goals are currently most served and least served by startups. A great resource for those looking to understand where they can make the most impact.
Top Product Management Twitter Threads: A compilation of 250+ Twitter threads from top product managers.
How to Break Into Venture Capital (AfterWork Ventures): An insightful newsletter from our friends at AfterWork Ventures, showcasing real, unlikely paths into VC.
The Shazam Story: The remarkable story of how Shazam started before smartphones and the dot-com boom, and its long road to where it is today.
Money As An Instrument of Change: A super interesting talk from Chamath Palihapitiya (Founder and CEO of Social Capital) on our moral imperative to get money in order to use it for making a difference.
💼 Top Gigs
3 of our favourite roles shared in the community recently. Join here to access our job channels.
1. Growth Operations Associate, Partly (Christchurch, NZ + Remote)
2. Strategy Graduate, Airwallex (Melbourne)
3. Investment Operations Analyst, Airtree(Sydney)
If you’re not already a member, hop on over to join in on discussions with other young Aussies in tech & startups, stay up to date with industry news & events, and find/share job opportunities.
1️⃣ 🕐 💪 One Minute Hustle
We are back once again with One Minute Hustle, a bite-sized interview with an emerging Australian young startup founder or operator. This week, let’s get inside the noggin of an Earlywork community member building a product in the medical space using… hypnosis!?
Arni Mittal, Product Engineer @ Mindset Health
How did you get started? I helped develop the initial cross-platform (single codebase for iOS and Android) for Mindset Health, and recently have focused a lot more on our users, their journeys and ultimately building a better product for all.
In the past - I completed a PM internship at Atlassian to help them build more actionable notifications, and held several software development roles across Monash University and Arup while studying.
I’ve also completed many hackathons (one of which led to my job at Monash) and side projects (e.g. apps, e-commerce, contracting). I am always working on something new, big or small.
Why do you do what you do? I love being at a startup since it helps me learn very fast by doing, which happens to be how I learn best. I pair this with books, blogs by leaders in industry and newsletters (like Earlywork 😉). I joined Mindset Health because of the calibre of the team, product, investors and hyper-growth!
The company has also consistently grown 20% every month for the last 2 years and is backed by prominent investors worldwide. We are turning modern medicine into something more personal than just pills/prescriptions in a way that is 10x cheaper. This mission really resonated with me, having benefitted tremendously from practices like mindfulness in the past.