July 4, 2022

How To Become a Blockchain Developer in 2022 | Web3 & Decentralization


Blockchain. Web3. Decentralization. What does it all mean!? I'm still figuring that out and getting more comfortable with it all. I'm especially interested in learning about what opportunities exist for aspiring developers and professional developers alike.

So, I invited on a blockchain developer that definitely has a passion for paving the way for web3 and decentralized technology. We dove into what his day-to-day was like, how you can become a blockchain developer and all of the different career paths and technologies involved.

I'll level with you, on a personal level, this stuff excites me. I'm a huge fan of decentralizing a lot of our data and infrastructure and what that'll even look like in the future. Anyways, if you're curious about how to get into this area of software engineering, you should definitely check out this episode.

Roberto Cantu (guest):
Twitter - https://twitter.com/0xRobertoCantu
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rcantu92

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Transcript

Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another web development podcast where we help aspiring developers, sketch ups and junior developers grow in this podcast episode. We're gonna be talking about how to become a blockchain developer, what it's even like day to day. You're gonna love it. You're gonna hate it. I brought on Roberto, who is a blockchain developer himself. Uh, it seems pretty passionate about it. We had a little conversation last time and, um, I'm gonna give you a heads up. Fair warning. I'm gonna ask a lot of questions. I'm going to need, uh, a lot of definitions. So, you know, some of you that are watching this, you might already know some of these terms, but I'm here to learn as well. And hopefully this will help some, uh, beginners that don't quite understand some of this, but, uh, Roberto,

Roberto Cantu:

how's it going? Good, Don. Thank you for having me looking forward to this ever since we spoke initially. So I suppose let's, let's get the ball rolling and I hope to be as informative as I would like. You're gonna do great. I know

Don Hansen:

you are. Um, okay. Let's uh, kind of just jump into like who you are. What's uh, what's your experience? What are you doing right now?

Roberto Cantu:

As you hinted at I'm a dev. Crypto web three blockchain space. And I, I guess to dive into a bit into my personal story of how I got into this as some of your guests, uh, in the episode that I've checked out, I had a non dev technical background. I actually, for some years was, uh, on track to be a licensed architect here in the state of Texas until around 2017. I had a software engineer friend, uh, introduced me to Bitcoin. At the time I didn't, I didn't know much about it. I, he asked me if I knew what it was and I told him it's sort of like PayPal. No. And he said, well, no, but you're not that far off. And he gave me the spiel or some drinks and. Naturally, as I tend to do often I went home, ordered some books and just started learning about it. And I just kept going deeper and deeper down this rabbit hole. As I, as I just kept learning more and more. And I was pretty sold on the idea initially, I guess the use case that really sold it to me was just international money transfer. I have, I have a family that sends money to Mexico, for example. So I know how those fees play into this and. And like the idea then was a lot of, oh, well the fees to transact on the Bitcoin blockchain aren't that high. And then no one can confiscate your funds. And initially it kind of clicked in my head that, oh, if I wanted to send money to my aunt, for example, and she just happened to know how to then convert it to their currency, it would cut out the middleman like Western union or something like that. And the, the idea. It was pretty simple use case and I was sold on it. I learned more about it. And then that's when I came across Ethereum and the idea of decentralized applications. And I, I, it didn't take much for me to realize this is the future, I guess, cuz I was in college when, um, I guess smartphones became ubiquitous and then social media just took off and this seemed like it could become the next wave of just apps in general and then already understanding the, the benefits of blockchain. So, uh, adding that layer to apps in general just seemed like. Uh, how do I explain this? I don't know, just a very simple thing that I, I felt could just change a lot of things and I realized, okay, this is what I want to do almost overnight decided I, I would like to, at some point, pivot my career from designing buildings, to working in this very, very nice and space. I kept learning more about Ethereum and I reached a point where the next logical step for me was to get it really into the technical. So I, I. Read as much like more technical, uh, blogs and things of that nature to fully understand it. And at some point it just made sense that I needed to code. And I actually, years ago, around 2016, I attempted to learn how to write front ends and websites and whatnot, just for fun. But I don't think the carrot was big enough for me to stick with it and like overcome the frustration of a newcomer. So I abandoned. Earlier on, but this time I was pretty determined to really learn how to code and then as it so happened, uh, around the time when I was considering just leaving my job, cuz uh, I was in a fortunate position to where I had funds to sustain myself for some time. And I wanted to go all in. I came across a, a ad for a bootcamp that focused on FinTech and a portion of this bootcamp was gonna focus on, on blockchain and the serum. After debating it for some time and realizing that if I didn't like it, I could leave the bootcamp and, and just get my money back. I decided I would give it a shot. I started. , uh, it was, it was kind of, um, tough at first and it was very, very Python heavy, which wasn't even the language that I had even dabbled with in the beginning. But once I, I got my feet underneath me, I kind of picked it up kind of quickly. And then I realized in certain respects, my brain might just. Think or it's aligned in how you might write code in general. So that helped. And when we got to the portion of the course that dealt with Ethereum and writing smart contracts, I just fell in love. I finished the bootcamp and then I just kept learning on my own. I did some Ethereum specific tutorials and courses. And from there I started building personal projects. Started participating in hackathons in, in the theater and space and just, uh, started listening a podcast related to the space. And that then led me down this whole other rabbit hole for resources on how to fully transition. So I, I, I then participated in, on a sort of another bootcamp that focused more on the security side of this space and how to write secure. And I guess this might be one of the terms that we dive into at some point, but I also, uh, was a mentee on this. Do. Uh, decentralized autonomous organization is, is acronym. And the, the styles, the idea behind it was that they would help, uh, web two devs transition to web three, and they'd provide resources and they'd pay you where the mentor and I wasn't a web two dev, but I. No one had to know. Right. So I applied and, and, and I got paired with a mentor and then we started working together. And at, by that point I was kind of okay with JavaScript and through this mentorship, I learned type script. I, while I was paired with the mentor, I came across a, a job listing for internship. I decided, well, let me give it a shot. And actually in the job listing, I said was catered more towards recent grads or current students. And by that point I was way outta school, but I figured that it's not my job to turn myself away. Someone's job is to filter application. So if I'm not the person that they would want, they could just easily turn me away. I would have no problem with it, but why, why would I discount myself to begin with? So I applied, they interviewed me and. Uh, I got into the internship and now that I was in, in, in the industry that I wanted to, I just decided I really, really would like to. Work here full time and it wasn't guaranteed. It was just the internship. They mentioned that it's possible to be brought on full-time at the, after the internship's completion, but not guaranteed. So I wanted to stack the chips as best as I could in my favor. And just, I don't know, took in as much work as I could put, started producing code, cuz that was even even optional. And I feel they saw the value or, uh, potential as. and they offered me the full-time position. I got it. And I've been there ever since. And I, I absolutely love it. It's my dream job. I'm pretty, pretty lucky that I, I really stuck with it cuz there was points when it was kind of tough to, to proceed, but it was all worth it. So if this is some, if you feel as strongly as, as I do and, and you really want to get in the space, like yes, you'll encounter obstacles like you do with most things, but. It's worth it. Like the space is very interesting. A lot is going on. So if you're trying to get into it and you feel similar to I did, I, I can't recommend it at all, but okay. Yeah. I guess that would be a somewhat quick ish summary of how I ended up in my current position. Got,

Don Hansen:

yeah. All right. That's awesome that you find your dream job.

Roberto Cantu:

Yeah. It's, it's not even a job that I like or, oh, okay. This works now. It's like literally what I wanted to do ever since that time around 2017, early 2018, where I decided I want to be in this space. And years later, I finally finally got, got there and it's uh, yeah, I mean, you know, you have tough days and whatnot. It's not always great. It's never, I don't regret the decision to just 180 pivot my career entirely. And it, it worked out for me.

Don Hansen:

A lot of people don't find what you found. And I feel like, especially when you started learning about it, I mean, it, it sounds like the deeper you dove into it, the more you felt attracted to diving into decentralized technology and, um, learning quite a bit about it. I honestly. am not really aware of any coding boot camps that even focus on this. I've heard of a few, uh, but people even ask me, you know, are coding boot camps that focus on blockchain technology and writing smart contracts, et cetera. Are they even legit? Do you feel like in the coding boot camp space, there are a lot of low quality coding boot camps in this space.

Roberto Cantu:

in, in this space specifically, I guess, similar to, to what you're hinting at. I, myself actually don't know of many either. Okay. Um, so like me kind of being in this space and, and very active in crypto Twitter as we call it, I, I actually don't hear a lot of people kind of mention boot camps, but one kind of ethos that does. Resonate across the spaces. You can learn this stuff. The, the technology's so new and there's so much resources there that the space is pretty open to people joining. It's just, you kind of have to prove your worth and you find the, the right engineers that put out resources and you can get pretty far along without having a bootcamp. And oftentimes they are structured in a way when it's where it seems like you're not just taking this from here and then idea from here and like trying to make it all work together. So it's like a top down course, like, Hey, you'll get up to speed on like the current tech deck. That's very common in the space, but even then it's, uh, it it's it's, it can be its own thing or its own obstacle to try to just find those resources if you're not already in the space. So I think that might be one of the harder things just getting started. If you're very, very far removed is just finding the good resources more or less. Cuz now that I'm in. And I know which engineers working on which projects and like, if they're active on Twitter, there's a lot of resources. You just kind of have to find it. But once you find the resources, you can get up to speed fairly, fairly quickly. And there's a lot of good quality resources out there. And actually, um, I. Since since, uh, since we're just speaking, I can't think of many off the top of my head, but I could, after the interview, at some point in the future, I could email you if you want some resources and you can push it to your audience. Cuz like, like I mentioned in our pre-interview I would love to. Have that, or push that forward to people. So they don't kind of have to find their own way and just trying to make sense of it all on their own, kind of like I, how I did in the beginning. And, and it, it would be great cuz I similar to other people in this space, of course, I, I want to welcome more people that are here for the technology and not just, uh, when number go up and, and. Talking about price all the time.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. Yeah. D definitely feel free to email me. We could even do it like a pin comment or I could put it in the description. Um, so kind of what you're describing. So in the web development space, um, I know a lot of people don't want to hear it, but it's the truth and that's all I tell. Um, so self-taught. Very hard to do. Most people don't achieve it or web development, um, and entry level spaces become very oversaturated. It's hard to get into. Right? Yeah. And so essentially, a lot of these self-taught web developers are kind of, like you said, for blockchain developers, you have to prove you're worth and that's difficult. And that takes a lot of self-discipline and resourcefulness and finding those resources and building a. Supportive network around you finding supportive communities. There's a lot that you have to do. So realistically, do you think the, uh, web three space is really accessible to people

Roberto Cantu:

that

Don Hansen:

aren't going to go to a coding bootcamp that are self.

Roberto Cantu:

Self-taught in the terms of like self-taught web three crypto kind of like text tech or just in general,

Don Hansen:

self-taught in Esen essentially, um, gathering a bunch of articles, random courses, books, um, a little bit cheaper courses that aren't structured in a way like a coding bootcamp would be structured in like a start to finish way. Right? Yeah. That's what I mean.

Roberto Cantu:

Yeah. Um, I want to say, well, one it's possible for sure. And I've seen it like on Twitter and people. Oh, thanks to this course. I, I got in and I had no cutting background, but I, I also want to be wary of the fact that I don't know if it's kind of like selection bias or something along those nature where it's like, I don't have like the. Numbers to say how, like the percentage of the likelihood, but from what I see, I see enough people say it. And so one, it, it is possible, but like you mentioned, it's pretty, pretty difficult. And also there's, um, it's just, I feel there's also another obstacle of just conceptually understanding the space in general. Like, cuz you not only have to learn the technicals of like the tools we use and languages, but you also then like before that you have to accept. Uh, what the space is promoting in general, like the benefits of like, oh, why is a blockchain beneficial or, um, other things like that that you kind of have to accept and that's its own kind of thing. And then, um, also understanding just how like a blockchain works in general bef at the same time, why you're actually learning a new language or framework library, those sort of things. So it's like kind of parallel pass on, on things you have to learn. But I think it. It's for sure possible. I just, since I didn't go the web dev rap route, I can't really compare, but sure. It, I would say it. Yeah. It's, uh, pretty challenging. And I mean, my journey, I had a lot of instances where I got pretty, like I, I would hit the, the wall and it would question me whether I wanted to continue, but. So, uh, as you hint into that, I love the space and I, I never really wavered. It's just, there was tough times when you're just, am I really learning anything, especially when it felt I was more by myself and I really kind of found my way into the space and, and joined Twitter and things of that nature, uh, of that nature. If that answers your, if your question.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, it does well, and that's realistic because. I mean, not everyone is in the same financial situation and really putting and investing your time into something. Uh, you know, a lot of people want a real, okay. So let me correct this. A lot of people need a realistic expectation of what it's going to take. And sometimes that just means you're not gonna get into this space within three months. It's going to take longer. Right. Because some people sell that dream. It's amazing. Right. We we're desperate for all these developers. Um, come on in, you're gonna get a job right away. Hi. It's like, and then they financially plan with. You know, really heightened optimism. Yeah. And then they kind of have to drop off, go back to their old position, et cetera. So I'm a big believer in realistic expectations. And if it takes a little bit longer and you are interested, you're probably gonna get that position eventually. Yeah. That's, you know, that's my personal belief, but so I'm actually glad you shared that. So I guess my question though is what, for the self-taught people that are getting into this space that might not be able to go to a coding boot. Um, actually, um, how much her coding boot camps for this space?

Roberto Cantu:

Um, I can't really say like, uh, there's one that I came across earlier in my journey and the price I wanna say was, I don't know, let's say 1200 to $1,500, but it wasn't like this six month intensive. It was just like a shorter one. And I feel like those are catered more to people that already have some sort of experience. I can't think of many that are just from zero to a dev and, and web three or crypto, but that was a, the, the one that I do remember coming across. I believe it's called chain shot. Uh, I don't know if they're still around. It was, it was a couple of years ago, but I, if I remember correctly, it was around $1,200 and the course, I think they spaced it out to where it would take a couple of weeks, maybe like six or so. so it was, I don't know how in depth and went for example, but it was that one and others that I came across that were similar were catered more to people. Oh, are you familiar with C plus plus or JavaScript or Python? Then you can pick this up easier because you already have an understanding. I just, I can't think of many where it's just, oh, do you have no coding background whatsoever? I'll help you get to. To, uh, blockchain dev and, and so long, but there are courses and certain people that do kind of, uh, have that in mind. And I think they do start from like a earlier start. And those, uh, there's a, I think I mentioned in our pre-interview Patrick Collins, who is a pretty well known engineer in the space. He works with this very well known project called chain link. He has a 32 hour course on YouTube for free. That people seem to love. And I think that one is catered more to, oh, are you just starting? And then in general, he's a good person to follow on Twitter because he's always kind of putting that idea out there. Like, Hey, if you're starting at zero, that's fine. We all, we all started there. So it, it leads me to believe he has that in mind when he puts out content that some people might be start. From absolute zero. So that would be one good person to look into, but in terms of specific boot camps, I just, unfortunately I can't think of many, um, and so much less a price point other than the one that I mentioned. Got it.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Probably cheaper than a lot of web development, coding, bootcamps, to be honest, um, probably a little bit more accessible, but for people that are getting into the space that might not be able to drop thousands on a coding bootcamp, what can they do to increase the chances of them actually getting into the space and, you know, pushing through a lot of the, the tough plateaus and, um, finding the right resources, everything that you need to do, what, yeah, what's some

Roberto Cantu:

advice. Uh, one, I guess, find your way into the space. So like, how do I say this? Cause it, it really did help me one finding like the right podcast to focused more on the projects themselves and, and the tech behind it all, not just, oh, I'm a trader and I'll teach you how to podcast. Uh, I guess it's all subjective. Right? And the ones that I, I really like are, is called Bankless is one of 'em that I follow. And there's another one that's on YouTube, the daily way. So both of these are more specific to Ethereum. And if you're, if you're wanting to go to say a different blockchain, like Solana and build on that, I, I can't really help you there, but I'm assuming there's resources as well. So I guess most of what I'm saying is more on the Ethereum side of things, but those are two podcasts that I follow. And then, so they'll interview founders of projects. And if one of 'em resonates with you, you can go to the project site, read documentation, read their code. That's actually live on the blockchain and, and see what, what they're writing with. So that will help, but they also just put out good resources and. From there, you get an insight of who's who in the space. And if, uh, I do also recommend getting on Twitter, crypto Twitter is its own thing. It's, uh, there's a lot of good resources there if you follow the right people. So you get a sense of who are good people to follow in from there, people retweet other people. And at some point you'll probably start finding the star engineer. That are just very good, uh, follows to have. And then from there, they'll probably have resources, block posts dealing with, uh, uh, blockchain secure, uh, specific security aspects of things, or just like I was mentioning, uh, Patrick Collins. He puts out a lot of good content and I think it, I think that would be a big, big step one to take, just find your way into the space where you're surround. Virtually by by the community. And then you'll kind of via osmosis pick up a lot of good things. Cause like I said, it, it really, really did help me out. And also did you just stay up to date with everything because the space moves very, very quickly. and in real time on Twitter, you just know what's happening. But, um, I think, I think that would be one, one big thing. I would say in terms of, oh, if you're starting from absolute zero and, and don't have money for a bootcamp, find your, find your way in the space. And also you can start with the, um, the YouTube course I mentioned, which is 32 hours is pretty, pretty intensive. And from there, um, probably the same channel might have other videos or. You can search Patrick Collins on YouTube. He'll probably have other resources. And then there's other YouTubes that I stumbled across earlier in my journey. Um, DAP university is another one that has tutorials on, on athere and then eat the blocks. It is another one. I, I just don't, uh, I haven't checked out their channel as of late. I don't, I don't know how if the content has held up, but at least when I did it was good. And now you have like newer people that I see, like, uh, Patrick Collins that I was bringing up. So there's a lot of good free resources out there. Definitely. So if you don't have money to kind of find a course, uh, don't be discouraged. You can find a good resource for free. Okay.

Don Hansen:

I think a lot of people are going. They're probably writing down those resources, to be honest, whether they're, I would hope so. yeah. And that's kind of why I wanted to dig into that a little bit, because I it's hard to, you know, with such a fast moving and new space. I mean like web development, we can't even get a consensus on best courses or anything like that. And, you know, web development has been a thing for a long time. Yeah. So with the, you know, web 3.0, I, I mean, How do you really trust a resource? How do you know you're heading in the right direction? Um, so I think the resources that you provided are, are gonna be a lot very helpful for

Roberto Cantu:

people. Yeah. Yeah. I think so too. Cause it's helped me for sure. And then, like I mentioned, if after, after our interview, I, I remember other resources I can always send ' to you.

Don Hansen:

That sounds good. Um, So with web development, you know, there are different stacks that you can learn, right? And I think two prominent ones, at least in the us are bite done and JavaScript, if you wanna like label it as like a full stack curriculums and courses, but, um, you can choose different stacks and different companies will adopt different stacks and languages. So with this space, with the crypto space, what are the variety. Of stacks of languages that you can learn. Uh, like I, I guess what are the different directions you can take to get into this space, working on different, uh, working with different technologies?

Roberto Cantu:

Yeah. Uh, if I'm understanding correctly, it's kind of, oh, what's a good text stack for someone to look into if they want to get into the space. Is that correct? Is that kind of what you're getting?

Don Hansen:

Let's let's start with this because I think this question is gonna be more relevant before we get to that. Um, what about just decentralized technology in general? So you are a blockchain developer. You said you've done a little work with, um, building out smart contracts, right? It almost feels like, and I, you know, I see, uh, tons of, I, I thought I saw tons of jobs where you can even just. You know, these, uh, these apps need front ends, right? So you learn front end, you can pick up react and you use type scripts specifically. So what are the different types of jobs you can have in this decentralized space? As a

Roberto Cantu:

programmer? Yeah, I, I guess that's a very good question because there's different areas that people might not know about. I feel the one that's kind of ubiquitous and that people really gravitate towards, which is kind of what pulled me at first is, uh, kind of, uh, what I would to be more specific say is like a smart contract engineer. Or, or developer, and those are the ones actually writing the contracts that get deployed on chain that you interact with if it's app, which would serve as the backend, essentially. So that's one and. Then you have like, you're hinting it. You also have devs that have to work on the front end. And so because of that, you have to know how the two interact, right. So that would be, I guess, another job, which is more, I guess, there there's still terms that are interchangeable in a lot of ways, but so for the sake of clarity, what I would label that, and I've seen other people refer to as more of like a DAP or. Developer. And when you kind of do both, which is like a full stack, but it's a little bit of that and a little bit of the front end, or you can just be strictly front end, uh, depth. Right? So those, those would be two, two very common ones. And then I suppose the ones that are just related to the space in general, which is kind of more where I lie. And so I guess to more. Uh, explain more in detail, how I'm in the space is, uh, we write bots is what we call 'em. They're essentially scripts that. Monitor apps on chain for a certain action that take place, our bots pick up on, on this, and then people get alerted to what's happening. And so how that's useful is if you're familiar in the space you hear about, oh, this app got hacked for $10 million and it, the funds were just drained from this smart contract. And it's because the funds just literally are living in the code. If you find a bug. Can extract the, the money from the contract, then it's here essentially, right? It's like cash. You can't reverse it. So what, what we do is we try to detect that as it's happening in real time. So, so I don't necessarily, these days write a lot of contracts myself. I read a lot of contracts, then know how to write my bot to interact with them. So prior to me getting my internship, I didn't even know this was a, a thing. And I learned about it. One, it excited me. This is in the space because like, like most people I hear about these exploits all the time. So now we're monitoring at least them happening in real time. And people are alerted that, Hey, your app is being drained of its money currently right now. So if they have a plan in place, they can act on it. At the very least they would be alerted that it's happening. So that would be like another job that I didn't know was a thing. And then you have people working on the actual blockchain itself rather. On top of it, right? Like on the app layer. So that would be another aspect of it. And then I guess, to get even more like on the, on the other side of the spectrum, then you have like more people on the cryptography side of things, which is, as far as I'm concerned is very, very technical. And I don't, I don't think that's just something that someone's starting from zero can really get you unless it's, they're very, very patient. So there's a lot of different areas to. The space, but I think the most common one and the one that I've seen the most resources for are either, uh, smart contract engineer slash dev, or if you're working with the front end and the, the contract itself,

Don Hansen:

that was super helpful. , Roberto Cantu: I'm glad. But yeah, like I mentioned, it's just there there's once you get in the space, you realize all of these other things that you didn't know, and it's just from getting deeper, deeper into like, what's going. And like I mentioned, I, I didn't know my job existed prior to me getting it and then realizing, oh, actually this is very helpful for this space in general. And now I, I get to be one of the people like working on this, and it's very, very rewarding that, you know, in a way I'm contributing to keeping people's money safe. What's your day to day, like at your job.

Roberto Cantu:

All right. Awesome. uh, let's, let's talk about this. So I guess day to like from morning to evening, It, it really varies. So I can give like a sort of timeline of what me working on a project might look, look, look like, because I, I think that'd be a little more informative and it takes the course of, let's say a week to two weeks or so. So we have a client if, if you're in this space and you're familiar with certain apps, let's say like application like uni swap or compound, they, they reach out to my company and they say, okay, we need a bot that, uh, that monitors our. Our app and we get that. And either they already have something in mind that they want is monitored. In that case, we just work with what they give us, but if they don't, we start, um, looking through their code and understanding what service they offer. And then we start writing down ideas of what would be good things to monitor on their app. And then we come with it, we send them a proposal. Hey, these are the bots that we think would be helpful for you and a rough timeline of how long it'll take. And then they either. Or they don't. And if they do, then we begin riding the bots and that's when we really get deeper into their code and understanding how our bot will interact with the, their contracts deployed on chain. And that takes the course of, uh, it depends how many, but several days to a week, two weeks or so, and in two weeks would be a long time. And after that, then we deliver them to the client and then depending on how they wanna do it, we can deploy the bots, our. Or, or they can't, we give 'em the tools to do so. And I guess to give a slight example of a day, we start off with a meeting say, Hey, this is what we, or we are currently, are there any issues? And then just more back and forth. And then outside of that, just coding away. But yeah, I guess day to day in a lot of ways it could be similar, but that would be the timeline of, of how we handle a project that comes through.

Don Hansen:

Makes sense. You're very, yeah. I, I think you're very driven based on the problem, even just like a very vague general problem. Well, like all the problems that decentralized technology can't fix, you're very driven and pulled to that from what it sounds like, you know, and that kind of fuels you to really enjoy your job. It sounds like you feel like you have a purpose. You feel like you're providing value to the world. definitely seem pretty mission driven. What do

Roberto Cantu:

you hate about your job right now? Hate, I don't know that there's a thing that I hate per se. It's such a strong word. It is. Uh, yeah, like, even as you said it, like, nothing really came to mind. Mm-hmm but there are, I guess when days are. Like, what about those days makes it tough. And it's just, I think it would be that the space is new, that there might be some sort of new contract standard that's in place. And I don't hear about it, but a coworker does. And he said, or he might say, Hey, I think we should implement like, interacting with this type of contract, for example. So then I've almost. Well, I can't really progress on our project. I have to have to step outside, study this new thing and then come back. And oftentimes I feel like that might happen too often. And while I love learning about it, it is just. It's almost me wanting to go, like guys, slow down. Like I'm, I, I love that we're developing in all these different directions, but just I have a job to do. I can't like my job. Isn't always just to stay up to date. And then, then cuz that would become it like its own part-time job outside of my job. But. Even on those days. Um, I don't know. It's just, it's fascinating about how this space is developing, but like at times it can be overwhelming and it makes me then really have to pause and figure out priorities and, and sometimes you realize. This sounds great. I just, right now we're on the time crunch and I can't step outside to look up this more optimized solution for what we're doing. Let me make note of that and I'll revisit it on the weekend, for example, but it's, it's like a never ending loop of. Continuous learning at the same time while I have to deliver something on time. So if I didn't have my job and I was just learning about all of this, oh, I would be super happy, but trying to balance the both is its own sort of thing. But usually when I do take the time to learn it, I'm just so much better at my job for it. Right. And then staying up to date and whatnot. But when it really, when I think I already know how to solve it, and then my coworker says actually there's a much, much better solution. Uh, so and so made a block post. He should check it. And I already know, oh man, this is gonna take the rest of my day. and then just learning how that works and then bringing it with me to our current project. And then once I'm trying to work, work with it, all these new obstacles, and it's such a new thing that like resources out there are kind of like limited. So it's a lot of trial and error. So although this space is new and, and, and very exciting because of it. I guess that would be the other side of that coin that it, it takes just trial and error because there's not a lot of resources of like, oh, I encountered that problem months ago or whatever. It's like, no, this is a new thing. So you're solving it as we're solving it as well. But even, even that I don't hate. It's just, it makes some days kind of tough. I'll say that that's fair.

Don Hansen:

I feel like a lot of JavaScript developers. that do complain about all the libraries, conventions, frameworks, everything that keeps coming out could probably feel better about what they do. If they listen to blockchain. Developers talk about getting pulled constantly, like in my opinion, um, I know that drives a lot of JavaScript developers, insane. Um, for me, it's always fun. I like learning about new things, but like you said, When it pulls me away from a project, there's a deadline. That's when the stress starts coming and I'm already in my rhythm. So, um, okay. I appreciate you sharing that.

Roberto Cantu:

Um, I feel like,

Don Hansen:

so I feel like there are some pretty set stacks and standards. Or just kind of like, um, a structure of learning that you probably can follow and yes, it's going to update quite a bit and you need to keep up to date with that, but thinking about the different positions you did talk about what specific technology stacks. should people focus on to get a job in

Roberto Cantu:

this space? Well, the one that for sure, like 100%, I think most people would agree with is at least you're, if you're in the Ethereum side of things is solidity, which is the main smart contract language of Ethereum. There's another one called Viper. Which is kind of, uh, trailing, I guess, in popularity, but solidity is the one that's almost ubiquitous in most projects. There, there are some apps that use Viper, but solidity is the most well known. And so that would be the, the biggest, like get as if you're wanting to get into a space, get as familiar and comfortable with solidity as you can, because that's what the contracts are, are working with. If you're working on the front end, you're gonna have to interact with the deployed solidity contract. Most likely. And the tools that you use to connect the front end to the contract, kind of know, or are built with solidity in mind. So that would be the one. And then for the tools to interact with like the middleman between the front end and the back end would, uh, there, there was one, I think some time ago that was pretty popular called web three JS, but it's, Beener by. By one called ethers JS. And then there's a, like a testing library called hardhat. That's very popular to test your, your contracts, like on a local blockchain that's that's on your machine. I think with those, you probably would get a pretty good start and then also JavaScript and type script, which seems to becoming even more, more popular within this space for, for front end and then writing tests and, and things of that nature, but also, um, Following people like Patrick Collins that I mentioned on YouTube, he seems to very quickly get acclimated to, to new like additions, to like a tech stack. So, so those are ones that are kind of established and then there's new ones that gain popularity and people like him on YouTube will. Probably at some point, make a tutorial for it. And so a as you're learning and, and newer things are coming up, like keep an eye on, on people like him. He'll put out content resources, tutorial, most likely to familiarize yourself, but you, you really can go wrong with those three currently in my opinion. Okay. okay.

Don Hansen:

A lot of good advice. Um, seriously, you're um, We provided tons of tons of value and great advice for aspiring developers. I think you do a really good job, especially because I'm pretty ignorant to this space. And I definitely feel like you're pretty good at, at explaining things and kind of dumbing things down. For people like me that are just even trying to, like you said, it's not even just about the technology, but that it's like understanding like the whole fundamental concept of decentralized technology in gen. Like there's so much to learn. And I think one thing that will attract more people to this space is educators that continue to speak up and kind of just like transition people. Into from their current thought patterns and how they think about the web into, you know, web 3.0 and what that even means. And sometimes it is talking about like, well, what problem is it even solving? You can attract a lot of mission driven, people like that. Um, but also. It's it's possible and you don't really understand decentralized technology yet. I didn't either. Right. And just like really dumbing that down and creating a nice, smooth transition into you. Seeing yourself in a position like this, you seeing yourself working, working with technologies like this.

Roberto Cantu:

Um,

Don Hansen:

I I'll probably pay attention. I'm not a fan of Twitter, so I'm not gonna connect and follow anyone on Twitter, but I do. um, I do follow, I guess if you're not on Twitter and this is, uh, I guess a selfish question, where else can I follow this space to stay up to date?

Roberto Cantu:

Yeah. So. Uh, and that's fair. Uh, Twitter's not for everyone. And then sometimes I question like I'm, I'm on Twitter a lot because you can't really discern even the people you follow that post good resources a lot of time, it can be like, you know, memes and whatnot. And so it's, it's good love, hate sort of thing going on there. But if you're not on Twitter, I would say following on medium. Like, uh, certain projects, protocols, apps, they're pretty active on there. So typically that's what gets linked on Twitter. So if someone has, Hey, we're releasing version two of our app, uh, and they'll give a quick summary thread on Twitter, but usually it's like a link to a medium article explaining it much more in depth. And so if you're kind of trying to bypass Twitter, Just following the right people or projects in on medium. You'll you'll get the, the good resources there, but then again, it. Well, how do I find them? How do I find them on medium and that's its own journey. So, uh, finding, I guess the apps you, you become familiar with that are in the space, following them on medium, and then seeing who some of the authors are, and you can check out, um, the other post, or maybe sometimes in the article themselves, they'll link to other articles and then you can come down and rabbit hole that. So I, I think that would be my approach if I were just, okay, I'm not productive because I'm on Twitter, but I still want to get the information as it comes. That would be how I approach it. It would just be all right, who do I follow on medium? And that would be so an obstacle, but I think that would be a good approach if you're familiar with the space to a certain point and you know, which protocols are pretty popular finding their medium page or profile checking those articles there. And then following engineers there and, and people that post the more in depth, thorough articles on there is, is what I would do if I were just trying to avoid Twitter, which I understand some people do. Yeah, there's there's, uh, it's not always so great on there. Yeah, sure.

Don Hansen:

I just found every time I logged in, I didn't feel better after I logged in on Twitter and someone gave me, uh, good advice. I need to build filters and I don't think I utilized all the features to be able to filter my feed better. Um, but probably, um, I might try it again in the future, but I feel like there are also people like me that. That no Twitter is full of amazing resources. If you can find the right communities, but, you know, everyone has their, everyone has their platform. They prefer and where they get their

Roberto Cantu:

sources.

Don Hansen:

Um, Who? So I feel like you've given a lot of good information of getting into the space. Um, what it's like, what your day to day is like. Um, you've done a really good job of telling your story for people that are kind of on the fence. Like I might be interested in this. I might not, who would be interested in this and who.

Roberto Cantu:

I guess it sort of depends. Um, if I were to try to guess who would be interested in this, I guess, cause there is a sort of ethos in the space of like a decentralization almost as a philosophy of sorts. And like it ha uh, the space has very libertarian roots and it's kind of built up from there, but I feel sometimes it's still kind of lingers in this space, but if you, if the idea behind, like what brought, uh, blockchain like promotes resonates with you, like, uh, or. Yeah. I think if it resonates with you, I, I think it would be something to look further into, cuz like I was mentioning when I was really sold on the idea was just, oh, I could send money abroad and then I don't have to worry about Western union taking a good chunk of it. Or sometimes they could just C your, your transaction, like, Hey, actually, You can't send money to this person or this account, but like with cryptocurrency, at least if it's decentralized right, you, you can't send it to anyone. No one like, no one's really stopping you. And then you send it as easy as an email. . And so when I really kind of, I guess, swallowed that pill, it just opened my mind to accepting what it had to offer. But if I were from the beginning, if, if I was indifferent to that to begin with, I probably wouldn't have, uh, fallen down the rabbit hole. So I think, and I, I, it kind of does also have this stigma of. Oh, there's a lot of Ponzi and schemes and scams going on. And that's fair. I mean, it's, it's what makes the news sexier. Right, right. When it leaks out of like our own ecosystem and it attracts eyeballs. But if you bypass that and accept that, that's just part of like a nascent space and look what's really there and what it offers. I think you'll, you'll see the value of the people. Or the value that people gravitate towards and why we're kind of really pushing for the space to develop further and become more user friendly or, or not be so complicated to use. And once you're really sold on that, and if you're like me or just wanting to, or you are a deaf already. Why wouldn't you kind of want to contribute to that. And then if you're not the peop, if you're not the person that's gonna be a scammer or a steam, then you're helping the space kind of lose some of that stigma. And it's so early that like your impact now can be very, very big. Like you ha you have that ability because it's newer. So if you're pretty open minded, and then the idea seems intriguing rather than just out. Rejecting it. I think if you look deeper into it, you'll find why a lot of people are so, so passionate about it. And, and then from there, it kind of just, the seed begins growing and you might find yourself wanting to, to be a dev in this space. And at least that was my journey.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That's um, that's really interesting. Um, I can tell you, I don't think I've ever shared this in my podcast before, but I. I very much have a lot of beliefs that lean libertarian. And this is why specifically decentralization is really interesting to me. I've been paying a lot of it. I've been paying a lot of attention to it. Um, I don't know if I'm gonna get involved with it. Like I was even think, honestly, I was thinking about like, if this content creation journey didn't work out right, and I'm going back to a programming position, what do I wanna build? Because I'll be honest. Um, there are applications I worked on cause I, I worked on three product teams for web development. Um, I didn't care about the apps at all. Like I, I didn't care about the problem it was solving. Um, I, I just, I wasn't interested in it and I think I've shot myself in the foot because I didn't pursue in pursue. I, I guess being part of the technical team that would build up a solution of a problem that I actually cared about. And when I do think about web three and where that direction is going, um, it's, it's attractive to me. And I feel like I would like to solve some of the problems that it is solving. Um, and I, I did mention, um, like I do with all my podcast episodes. I don't really, um, dive into politics, so we'll cut this next part outta the episode, if you wanna cut it out. Um, but my question is I've definitely heard and you can correct me. I've heard of the current administration really starting to push for regulation around cryptocurrency specifically. If that's incorrect, let me know. But does that concern you about the future of cryptocurrency?

Roberto Cantu:

I don't, I don't think I'm concerned about regulation in general. It's just kind of how it's executed, because I mean, I think that's true for most things. It is not like a, a black and white in that respect. It's just, do we have people in, in government that are competent with the space to know. How to deal with it or are they just, oh, for the sake of protecting everyone, we're just gonna make it impossible to use or have all these regulations that make it very, very convenient. And I, uh, at least the resources that I follow, like the podcast I mentioned that seems to be like, uh, what they think also. And then, so there's. Politicians that will go on these, go on these shows and they seem like in tune with, with, uh, the space. So it kind of gives me hope that if regulation does come, it won't be overbearing and just stamp out any innovation that's happening in this space going further, but it's just. Ultimately, I, I have no idea how it'll play out because of how politics tends to be sometime. It's just, um, oh, for the sake of, of doing this, that seems like a good thing, but really they're protecting certain interests that are happening behind doors. Right. And so I'm not like against total regulation or any sort of regulation in this space. I think there is a place. it's just how it plays out. And hopefully it's not so overbearing where teams just start leaving the us and then it just starts happening elsewhere. Because actually I think for a while, people were saying that, oh, the us is not very friendly to people wanting to build, uh, decentralized apps. I'm gonna go to Europe or Asia or south America. America's like, I feel globally has a lot of, uh, reputation for innovation coming out of here. So to think that in this kind of niche industry, that's growing, it'll leave because of, of regulation being too hard, early on is kind of saddening to me. And is it, it, it would stem from. Kind of politicians potentially being scared of, um, of what could come out of it and just stamping at, uh, stomping on it too, too early, too harshly. But yeah, I guess there there's people probably all over the spectrum in terms of regulations. in the space. That's just kind of where I lie. I, I welcome some of it and it just kind of depends on how it plays out ultimately. Or maybe I might change my mind, but currently that's kind of where I stand because we, we do kind of want to protect people in certain instances, because to get your Fiat currency and to the space, you need a centralized. So I think regulation could play a friendly, um, ally in that scenario where it still is dealing with money. And beyond that, I feel it's such a new thing when you're strictly in like a ecosystem that only accepts crypto, that they kind of lose their footing of, of how much they understand. And they might stifle it too much early on, but it's such a new space that I can't really say, oh, they should leave that alone entirely or. Okay. There's some regulation to be had there. It's just hopefully people in the space that have been there longer than I have that have more experience or in general have more influence, uh, hopefully they're listened to by the right people and take their suggestions to mind and really consider them when, uh, regulation comes into the space. Uh, I think that would be currently where I lie. Okay. I really

Don Hansen:

appreciate you sharing that. That's interesting. And I bet you. , I bet you people that has been a thought on other people's minds. I mean, even the thought of is web three, legitimately going to be in our futures is on people's minds. And I think exploring, well, what are some things that would prevent it from being in the future or what are some things that will essentially, you know, Take the innovation out of America, you know, really holding or a lot of people in America that want to build up the space. Cause like you said, I don't think a lot of people want to see it pushed out of America. And I, I think, well I say America, I'm thinking United States. Um, so, but yeah, I don't, I don't think people want it to be pushed out. And I think a lot of people, um, I, I, I guess I'm saying a lot of the conversations that come around this, I think are really interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing where it ends up in like two to three years. I'm always paying attention. So,

Roberto Cantu:

um, Yeah. Yeah, I guess, I guess for me, um, sometimes I just feel like I'm not that well versed in just in general how politics may work and like its influence and, and, and things. So I'm kind of hesitant of holding any opinion too strongly and just not wavering. But it's just knowing what sort of things are happening in the, in the space in terms of like scams and then sometimes good teams being persecuted by the government. It's just, no, you're, you're not going after the right people that are actually trying to like harm people or take people's money. Like. I don't know, it's just, it's a very complicated and can be a sensitive subject, but I think there is a place where we can be more allies than just, oh, we're all, we're constantly fighting against the government and ultimately how it plays out. I just hope it's, it's better for, for it in certain respects than. Oh, total chaos or total, you know, uh, just being monitored all the time because it everything's live on chain and you can view it yourself, but there's, there has to be some sort of middle ground where it's a compromise. Not everyone is entirely happy, but not everyone is entirely unhappy either. I think

Don Hansen:

that's a good take. I do. Um, this is a really interesting conversation. I liked learning about this. I think that's it. I wanna respect your time. Cause I think we're about at the end we get a few minutes left. Um, if people want to reach out to you and anything else you wanna shout out, um, what do you wanna share?

Roberto Cantu:

Well, I guess if on Twitter, I'm pretty active on there and I keep in mind that. um, certain people are putting resources. So I make sure to try to retweet or, or at least save certain resources that I, if I encounter someone that, Hey, I'm trying to be a dev in a space, uh, to have resources. So if you're looking for that, I, I try to also share that. And I'm on Twitter under zero X, Roberto Cantu, and on LinkedIn. Roberto Cantu outside of that, I guess I can email you if I have some resources that, uh, you could push to your audience and. Some parting thoughts might just be, if, if one, if you're thinking about getting into the space and you really enjoy it or kind of lost, hopefully this helped and I provided good resources and really just stick with it. It's I absolutely love it. It's it's the best decision I made career wise to date. And if you're kind of skeptical of the space and mostly hear about the scams that does happen. Look beyond that. Like, we're, there's a lot of good people here trying to do good things and we see the potential. So we need more allies. So if you're, if you're a little open minded into seeing what the space offers, just dig a little deeper. You'll, you'll find some, some gems in this space. And I, I hope that I, I. Provided good resources for, for everyone. And so this was, this was a pleasure, like I mentioned, in our initial contact. I, I love talking about my job. I love, I love talking about this space. So to get the opportunity is, is amazing. So thank you, Don. This, this was a lot of fun.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, for sure. I'm glad you came on. Uh I'm honestly, I think this is gonna be an interesting episode, so, but Hey, maybe I'm wrong if you're watching on YouTube, uh, let me know, let us know in the comments. Um, and if you have any questions, um, or, um, if you even have any follow up questions you want me to do more episodes around. This topic specifically? Uh, just, yeah, let me know, but, uh, stick around just for a couple minutes, but Roberto seriously, thank you so much for coming

Roberto Cantu:

on. Thank you. Was very, very, just see everything. Just see.