At a desk in his apartment in Goregaon, a suburb in Mumbai, Sanjeeb Dey stares at the screen before him. “This is for my cryptocurrency bot,” says the 22-year-old, who graduated from Mumbai University with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering in electronics and telecommunications earlier this year. Dey has also been acquiring a parallel education online. “I signed up for an online degree in data science and programming that’s offered by IIT Madras as I have been interested in the software side of things and these courses weren’t available in my electronics and telecommunications engineering programme”.
But the area that has him absolutely captivated right now is blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, he says excitedly talking about the many applications of the technology that’s a part of Web3.
Dey is not alone. Chatter on social media offers some indication of the excitement around the opportunities in this area. Twitter has been abuzz with discussions around everything from whether it will really become possible to buy and sell NFTs on Twitter to what transpired at UNFOLD 2022, a Web3 event in Bangalore that was hosted by Indian crypto investment platforms CoinDCX to showcase India’s role in building a new internet economy.
What is Web3 or Web 3.0?
Web3 refers to the idea of a decentralised internet, where users – rather than internet behemoths – control the data. Conceptualised in a paper by Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Woods in 2014, it has come to refer to a user-owned Internet where people can communicate and exchange value without relying on trusted intermediaries. The Web3 technology stack includes decentralised applications (dApps), cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and blockchains.
‘Web3 is a technology slowly coming to use and which is being built as we speak,’ says Anshu Patni, CEO, Web 3.0 and gaming, Mythoverse Studios, whose recent appointment to this role was in line with the company’s foray into the Web3.0 space. The studio aims to develop more immersive experiences for its audience inspired by stories from Indian mythology. ‘It’s in a very early stage, and like every other technology, it will take time to come to complete form. Our job as digital citizens is to use it, keep creating a feedback loop for those who are building it and beware of the things that don’t work for us. But this technology exists because there is a need to move to a better, safer and decentralised form of the web,’ she says.
According to a report published in September 2021 by crypto exchange WazirX and industry body NASSCOM, the cryptotech industry already employs 50,000 individuals in India and has registered a growth of 39% in the preceding five years. As per a Times of India story, India has a great opportunity to lead the world in Web3, leading adopters of Web3 solutions, and companies like Polygon and FalconX.
Like any other industry, when you build something new, opportunities for allied positions in marketing, design, etc., are also created, and that’s exactly what’s happening with the Web3 ecosystem
–Anshu Patni, CEO, Web 3.0 and gaming, Mythoverse Studio
Preparing for Web 3 opportunities
Employment opportunities in this space will tick all the boxes that surveys have found appeal to millennials and generation-Xers: flexibility, the scope for advancement (independent of seniority) and alignment with values. To name a few. “I have been signing up for courses online to pick up the technical skills for Web3 development and I have already started building small projects to showcase my skill set,” says Dey, who, in addition to his crypto trading bot, has also built a token faucet as proof of concept. For the uninitiated, a token faucet refers to a reward system, wherein one receives token sums of a cryptocurrency in exchange for performing easy tasks like solving quizzes or watching ads.
To do all this, he relied on various courses available online – including one on Solidity, a key programming language for Web3, which now dominates his screen. Dey relied on Coursera, a US-based open online course provider founded by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. as well as various free tutorials and bootcamps, such as offered by sites like CryptoZombies and even on YouTube.
For the uninitiated, a token faucet refers to a reward system, wherein one receives token sums of a cryptocurrency in exchange for performing easy tasks like solving quizzes or watching ads.
Dey is on the right track. Aspirants in this field have many choices available to them to learn and upgrade skills, and Patni recommends taking advantage of the various sources of learning, not just online courses offered by ed-tech firms. “Between Youtube, Twitter, newsletters, Discord, Reddit etc., aspirants can access well-put information and opinions. Whether you want to learn how to write a white paper or whether you wish to learn Solidity (a language primarily used for smart contracts), it’s all there. So before you spend a significant amount of money on a course, commit yourself to spend some time learning on the internet from the multiple available free resources,” she says.
Jobs in Web3
Patni also points out that Web3 has created massive work opportunities in tech as well as non-tech roles, especially for programmers and developers in India. “However, like any other industry, when you build something new, opportunities for allied positions in marketing, design, etc., are also created, and that’s exactly what’s happening with the Web3 ecosystem,” she says.
In India, most of those interested in working in this space, have their eyes pegged on cryptocurrencies, metaverse, and NFT (non-fungible tokens). As Dey says, ‘I like the transparency blockchains will bring in. Besides, I appreciate the fact that Web3 employers give more weightage to skills than to qualifications, and that there is great potential for advancement for growth as more companies around the world shift to Web3’.
Patni confirms there’s a huge requirement for people to fill the positions Dey is all geared up to grab. In fact, Dey falls right into the age bracket that dominates the Web3 workforce, according to a global survey conducted by cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin in June-July 2022. The report, titled, ‘Journey into Web3,’ shows that 59% of surveyed professionals who have worked in Web3-related industries are under the age of 30.
Here’s a quick look at the number of Web3 jobs available on Naukri.
Addressing regulatory norms
Experts are hopeful that the Indian government will iron out some regulatory details so as to make the environment more hospitable to Web3 enterprises. However, according to a NASSCOM report, as of April 2022, India already has 450 Web3 startups, with $1.3Bn of investments and the country also accounts for 11 per cent of the world’s crypto and Web3 talent, which makes it the third-largest such market. And it’s just the beginning. A few months ago, Harsh Bharwani, CEO & MD, Jetking Infotrain, authored an article for All Things Talent, in which he lists the sort of opportunities the sector holds.
‘Ask any Web3 founder, and you will know there’s a massive demand for programmers and developers,’ says Patni. ‘With all companies wanting to build metaverse projects, there is also a good demand for gaming talent in Web3. So, on a generic note, a profile where you can build something is always a good role to look at,’ she says.
Web 3 courses to check out
As Patni says, there are a number of good courses available and it’s a good idea to start with one you can avail of without digging into your pockets. Here are some to get you started:
This is a list of vetted community tutorials, categorised by topic.
If you’re curious about cryptocurrencies but you don’t know where to start, this may be a good place to do so.
This free course on Coursera will equip you with the information you need to understand the fundamentals of blockchain and apply these concepts to the blockchain.
This comprehensive Github course covers all the contents of the Blockchain-based Systems Engineering lectures held at the Technical University of Munich.
Web3 skills might just become the next big thing in the job market and the ones who have them, are surely going to be the most sought after talent.