Developers: How to Equip Yourself for a Web 3.0 Future Today
With the recent explosion of NFTs into the public consciousness, the buzz around Web 3.0 is growing. The vision is of a new version of the internet; decentralised, private and removed from the control of Big Tech. The reality remains to be seen.
Whether you believe in the Web3 dream or not, the tech foundations underpinning the idea are almost certainly here to stay. Practical knowledge of the blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrency will be a vital addition to any developer’s toolbelt over the coming years.
That’s why we’re diving into what Web 3.0 really means for developers, and how you can future-proof your career in time for the New Internet.
What is Web 3.0?
Web3 (also known as Web 3.0) is essentially a new phase of the internet. So far, the online landscape has passed through two distinct phases. Web 1.0 refers to the period that roughly falls between 1990 and 2004. At this stage, the internet was merely a method for linking static, non-interactive web pages together.
From 2004 up until the present day is Web 2.0. This is the internet we know and love right now, with all its pros and cons. Think: interactivity, knowledge-sharing, and connectivity. But also data theft, malware and corporate control.
Web3 is a new phase of the internet that’s intended to tackle at least some of these problems. The idea is to move into a decentralised version of the online world, based on the blockchain. Theoretically, this takes the web out of the hands of big tech companies like Google and Facebook and puts it back into the hands of the people.
What is the Key Difference with Web 3.0?
Its’ proponents say Web 3.0 will improve data privacy and ownership online, with anything posted to the internet demonstrably owned by the poster — thanks to the blockchain. This token-based system will underpin every online interaction in Web3, from publishing content to making financial transactions (cryptocurrency). With no centralised control over the internet, Big Tech will lose its influence on what we do online (including widespread data harvesting and privacy infractions).
Web3’s detractors think a little differently. A recent study highlighted privacy issues with the concept itself, based on the fact that blockchain transactions have to be available on a public ledger by definition. The report demonstrated the ease with which supposedly ‘anonymous’ transactions could be traced back to individual users. The proposed lack of centralisation and regulation could also lead to this new version of the internet becoming a Wild West for cybercriminals. Other concerns are environmental; blockchain technology requires enormous energy consumption, giving it a massive carbon footprint.
A more likely scenario will be for Web 2.0 to run alongside Web 3.0 for the near future, with websites hand-picking specific blockchain functionalities (like cryptocurrencies, NFTs and smart contracts).
How Does This Affect Developers?
Here’s a brief list of everything developers need to know about working in Web 3.0.
- Blockchain technology. Web3 is entirely based on the blockchain, so at least an understanding of the concept is essential. There are plenty of free learning resources for the topic online – like Blockchain Theory 101 or Blockhain Technology by edX – which focus on real-world and commercial implementation.
- Cryptocurrency. Crypto is one of the most fundamental applications of the blockchain, so Web3 developers will need to be familiar. Learn about key cryptocurrencies like BitCoin and Ethereum. The whole concept of Web 3.0 was coined (pardon the pun) by Ethereum’s creator, Gavin Wood, and the ETH currency underpins many current NFT transactions. It’s also one of the key software programs for creating decentralised apps (also known as dapps), so will be an important tool in developing for Web 3.0.
- Crypto wallets. Wallets are how you store and manage your cryptocurrencies, but they’re also how you develop and interact with decentralised apps. MetaMask is a good wallet to get started with for developers (here’s a great guide on building your first Web3 app with MetaMask).
- Smart contracts. These blockchain programs are crucial to Web 3.0. They are essentially automated contracts that activate when certain conditions have been met. They facilitate crypto wallets by storing, sending and receiving funds.
They have other uses too. For example, you could write a smart contract into an artwork NFT transaction that automatically grants royalties to the original artist whenever that NFT is sold on. Web 3.0 developers will need to know how to program smart contracts.
Solidity allows you to create EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible smart contracts. Since most development blockchains support EVM, this means you’ll be able to code smart contracts for the majority of the most popular blockchains.
Want to make yourself really popular? Learn Rust too – it’s a low-level language that allows you to code smart contracts for blockchains that don’t support EVM, like Solana.
Future-Proof Your Career
The concept behind Web3 isn’t perfect, but its foundations are compelling. Blockchain technology has already seen huge investment, alongside adoption by major companies and even governments. Millions have already been invested into the technology on the wide-held belief that Web 3.0 is the future. Any developer who wants to make themselves invaluable to clients over the coming years, should take this opportunity to re-skill in Web3 development now.
Already equipped with Web 3.0 skills?
There are companies out there with the culture and values that match your own, and who could potentially offer you the employment package you’re looking for. It’s a candidate’s market right now. If you’re looking for your next challenge, call us today or get in touch via the contact page to find out your options.
Matt is co-director and a specialist software recruiter with an exclusive network of developers built by solid word-of-mouth recommendations. He has developed an excellent understanding of the technical skills and environments within the regional development community and his reputation marks him out as a reliable source of guidance to clients and candidates alike.