The Ultimate Guide on How to Get a Job in Crypto
Blockchain careers are booming. Since Bitcoin started rallying at the end of 2020, interest in blockchain jobs and careers has increased significantly. Since Talent Protocol helps talent onboard into Web3, we wanted to provide a killer resource on how to get a job in crypto. A lot of people have asked for this, so here’s the guide that will cover everything about getting a job in crypto:
- 2021 crypto job market trends: the five main trends
- Why people quit their jobs to work in crypto: data and first-hand experience
- What are cryptocurrency jobs: a breakdown of all crypto jobs, skills required and estimated salaries
- How to get a job in crypto: hard skills, soft skills, and the recruitment process
- Where to find crypto jobs: networking, job boards, and more
- What are the best crypto companies to work for
- The best resources to learn about crypto
A preface before we start: this article uses working in crypto or blockchain or Web3 interchangeably. The difference is just semantics.
2021 crypto job market trends
Unsurprisingly, in 2021 the blockchain industry grew according to every possible indicator:
Funding for projects is up
Blockchain VCs are investing heavily. Funding has increased over 500% compared to 2019 and probably more than 1000% compared to the last Bitcoin bull run! Of course, where there’s a lot of funding, there are a lot of jobs…
Job postings have skyrocketed
Job listings for blockchain jobs are exploding, the platform Cryptocurrencyjobs.co has seen its paid listings grow by 15X in the last year. Job postings on Indeed.com have doubled in the past year, paid US posts on LinkedIn have grown by 600% year-on-year. Wherever you look, companies are hiring like crazy, and if crypto prices rise again, hiring will rise again, too. And it’s not only startups that are hiring. The Bank of England, the Mossad, and JP Morgan all have posted blockchain-related job postings in the past. But not only postings are up…
Searches for crypto jobs have exploded too
While postings peaked at the beginning of 2021 and have been constant or slightly down at a high level since, interest has been growing this year. Crypto-related searches on Indeed are up 300% since September 2020. In India, 10,000 jobs have been created, and experienced talent commands high salaries. The difference between this hiring frenzy and previous spikes in interest is that this time, not only developers are needed.
Blockchain careers are not only for developers
Crypto and blockchain jobs are now expanding beyond software development. While they still make up most of the job postings, Indeed has found that non-IT-related jobs have risen more in the last year. Roughly speaking, one out of every two people working in the crypto and blockchain sector works in IT, and the rest are marketers, salespeople, finance, accounting, HR, and operations. So, pretty much like in every other industry.
One thing, however, is different, and that is remote work culture.
Remote work is dominant
Not only are developers working remotely, but so are many others. This share is probably even higher for Web3 startups like Talent Protocol. Most of the DeFi space works remotely, except for a few notable exceptions like Aave, who have offices in London.
Now we know interest in crypto jobs is up, but why is that? Let’s find out.
Why people quit their jobs to work in crypto
What the data says
A Web2 escapist published a great article in the Business Insider (believe it or not), detailing how he left his early adopter tech startup job to pursue a career in Web3. He outlined two reasons:
- Web3 allows you to sell your skills directly since transaction costs are lower nowadays, making it feasible to have your own micro-economy if you have a valuable skill. With these intermediaries out of the way, you have more autonomy and take ownership of your work.
- There is no end product for many crypto startups. Instead, the goal is to be able to define, document, and transact ownership of assets with no external intermediaries. Put simply, you have much more creative freedom, and you’re building cool shit.
Then there is the fact that Web3 pays better salaries. According to AngelList data from 2018, median salaries in the US were 10% higher for both technical and non-technical jobs. Given the data is pretty old and the space is booming, that figure is probably at least as high in 2021.
As we already saw, Web3 is also remote-friendly. 37% of jobs were tagged remote-friendly in the same 2018 data set, compared to 14% of non-crypto jobs. Post-Covid, that figure is probably also higher for both.
On a personal note, there are several reasons why someone would start working in Web3. First, the space is fairly idealistic, and people strongly believe they are part of a bigger movement that will change the world. This comes with a sense of we’re-all-in-this-together, so most competition or rivalry is tongue-in-cheek. Someone else’s success might actually help your own company, meaning you cheer each other on. You really feel like you are working on something meaningful.
The community is full of people that just want to build something cool and are not primarily motivated by money. This is probably similar to regular startups, though the bonding over a common vision is stronger in the Web3 space. Politicians and normies not understanding the space reenforces this fortress mentality, although it also hinders its mainstream adoption.
Lastly, Web3 is, of course, incredibly fast-moving. No other space has trends pop up and fizzle out within days. When prices moon or crater, veterans in the industry just shrug. Every day, something is happening, which gives you this instant gratification but also keeps you motivated at work because the same could happen to the project you are working on.
What are cryptocurrency jobs?
What are entry-level crypto jobs?
If you think of an entry-level crypto job, you probably think of a developer. That’s true, but there are many more options. Entry-level crypto jobs can be:
- Content writers
- Community managers
- Product managers
- Business development managers
Let’s go through all of them, what they do, what skills are required for these jobs, and how much you can make.
What is a blockchain developer?
Probably the most well-known and sought-after role. Developers are the people making the entire thing run in the first place by coding the applications everyone uses. Many Web3 startups start by coding a minimum viable product that solves an existing problem and then turn to the community for testing and feedback. That’s why a lot of early-stage Web3 startups can consist of developers and no other roles.
Coding skills. What exactly will depend on the role and the solution being built but think Smart Contract Development (Solidity, Rust) plus some more familiar ones like Frontend (React, Vue, …) and backend frameworks (nodejs, python, ruby, …), REST, RPC, GraphQL and others.
(the author is not a developer so if something’s missing, it’s not on purpose)
How much can you make
Expect somewhere between $70K and $200K depending on your qualifications and experience with blockchain coding.
What is a blockchain analyst?
Blockchain analysts come in different shapes and forms. Still, if you want to work as one, it will most likely be at a bigger company like BlockFi or established FinTech companies dealing with blockchain technology. Analysts compile, organize, and manage data and connect the product team with client data. These jobs will be similar to standard business intelligence roles you find in other tech or financial companies.
Data analytics experience and experience with business intelligence and data visualization tools. Python, SQL, but also PowerPoint are musts.
How much can you make
$50K to $150K depending on your seniority and the size of the company.
What is a blockchain marketer?
Blockchain marketers are generally senior positions that sit atop the community and social media managers, writers, and business development managers. They combine skills and requirements from these three positions and drive the development and execution of marketing strategies, form partnerships with other projects, organize and host events, and manage the entry-level positions doing the grunt work.
You need marketing experience, specifically crypto marketing experience. While there is overlap between traditional online marketing and crypto marketing, the blockchain space relies heavily on social media and community building in channels like Telegram and Discord. Good crypto marketers know how to design and execute campaigns and are aware of subtle differences between projects.
How much can you make
Marketers can make between $50K and $150K a year, depending on their level of experience.
What is a blockchain content writer and what do they do?
A content writer produces written content for the project’s site and social media channels to increase visibility and engagement. You write and proofread articles (like this one), social media posts, press releases, website copy, and internal materials. A technical writer explaining product features and writing tutorials is slightly different. A content writer is more promotional and writes for the general audience, while a technical writer is more informational and technical and writes for developers and possibly investors.
You need writing experience, plain and simple. Nothing improves your writing skills as much as writing, so if you want this role, try yourself at explaining blockchain concepts in articles, writing tweets, and practicing writing in different voices (more journalistic or more promotional). Being a good storyteller is extremely valuable and will make you stand out. So will being able to simplify complex concepts. SEO writing is not that important, but it’s still useful to know best SEO practices.
How much can you make
Depending on whether you work part-time or full-time, you can make anywhere between $5K and $45K a year.
What is a blockchain community manager?
Community managers are entry-level crypto jobs, but being a good community manager can actually be quite demanding. Since many blockchain startups are built by grassroots movements, building and nurturing a community is integral to a company’s success. Community managers are at the first point of contact for fans, token holders, and potential buyers. A good manager builds a relationship with the community by picking the right moderators for Discord and Telegram, organizing events, listening to and engaging with the community, and connecting to the rest of the team. Depending on the role, a community manager can also manage social media accounts and publish content there.
Patience, good communication skills, creativity if content needs to be created (e.g. memes), being a “people person” despite only interacting with people in messages. Experience in forum moderation or similar is highly useful, if not mandatory. You also need to be in tune with the latest crypto trends and developments because the community will.
How much can you make
Community managers can make between $40K (entry-level) and $100K (owning social media and community strategy of a bigger project).
What is a blockchain product manager?
This role is similar to product managers in companies outside the blockchain space. Roughly speaking, you will help the developers implement what the marketing guys are telling you the clients want. Product managers analyze and improve existing customer behavior and product functionality, define the strategy for product development, and manage the development and release of new features. More senior positions deal less with the hands-on work and more with building a team and a culture that realizes what the company is trying to do.
Product design experience, meaning interpreting and translating customer wishes and behavior into tangible products they can use. This is a role for designers and creative people (at the entry-level). Senior-level product managers need to have experience delivering successful products and a good understanding of how to translate a problem into a good user experience.
How much can you make
Product designers can roughly expect between $70K and $200K.
What is a blockchain business development manager?
Blockchain BDs are not too distinct from “regular” business development. You have a product, and you need to sell it. The only difference is that in the crypto space, BD is mostly about partnerships between projects. Customer acquisition is done by the marketers and community managers, while BD managers expand a project’s reach and visibility by closing partnership deals.
Sales skills: negotiation, persistence, storytelling, and people management skills. More senior roles also need strategic skills and manage other BD managers. Keep in mind that most selling happens remotely.
How much can you make
Depending on the seniority level and the number of deals closed, between $40K and $200K.
How to get a job in crypto
Skills you need
Now that you know what jobs are out there let’s talk about how to get them. Generally, we can divide skills into hard skills and soft skills. A couple of pieces of general advice first:
If you are looking for an entry-level position, most of what you learned in uni is likely useless. The only really applicable stuff would be IT and Computer Science (obviously) and some economics to understand market dynamics and token incentive designs. You can and will learn more valuable skills by trying things out and educating yourself and participating in the space.
Senior-level positions benefit massively from experience (and everyone else too). Especially for positions like marketing and communications, you will need to unlearn a lot of things if you have never had exposure to the crypto space before. Technical skills are more transferable.
Companies don’t train you explicitly but implicitly. Unless you’re a crypto OG, and not that many have been around since 2017, let alone earlier, you have a lot to learn, and you will learn on the job regardless of your field and experience.
Hard skills depend on the position you are interested in. Want to be a developer? Coding, ideally coding in Solidity. Product manager? Product design (transferable from non-blockchain work). Marketer? Designing and executing marketing campaigns. Most hard skills have their own “crypto spin,” but few are completely new to this space. You also need a general understanding of how blockchains work and ideally also the sub-niche you are in (NFTs, DeFi, exchanges etc.). Again, only crypto vets have been long enough in the space. Everyone else will inevitably learn on the job. Still, some hands-on crypto user knowledge is highly advised.
Has “learning quickly and being adaptable” already been mentioned? If not, this is your number one soft skill that you’ll need every day. Crypto moves insanely fast, and it’s impossible to keep up with every new development. Be humble about what you don’t know since you are going to learn a ton of new things anyway.
It should go without saying that you should be passionate about the space. Crypto is almost a way of life and, in parts, even a cult at this point, so be ready to meet some passionate people. The upside is that it exceeds any other sector when it comes to camaraderie and bonding. You’ll have many “only in crypto” moments.
Lastly, being self-motivated and independent is also a must since so much of the sector is built in a decentralized and remote way. Asynchronous and remote work is the norm for startups and features a great deal for bigger companies as well. On the one hand, you can work any time you want. But on the other hand, you can work anytime. Keep that in mind before you declare remote work the best thing since sliced bread.
What makes a good candidate
Here, as Web3 startup, we can provide first-hand insight from both the startup’s and the candidate’s perspectives. Founders are mainly looking for three things: specific skills, soft skills, and a cultural fit.
Specific skills would be knowing the sub-niche you are in and having hands-on knowledge of your hard skill like coding or marketing. Say you want to work for a DeFi protocol, the founder(s) will likely prefer someone that already has DeFi experience or is at least a heavy user. Demonstrable knowledge of the niche goes a long way, and if you can combine knowledge with your skill, maybe through a coded application or experience promoting projects, you are golden. Also, expect a trial exercise during the hiring process to check your knowledge.
Soft skills include being a good communicator, critical thinker, and collaborative. There are no specific tips here. Most companies will screen for this during the interview. Of course, being comfortable with remote work is especially important.
A cultural fit means being aligned with the company’s mission and work culture. Each company is individual, so you’ll simply have to see how you get along with the founders in your interviews.
The recruitment process
From the candidate’s perspective, getting hired in crypto is not too dissimilar from regular companies. You can definitely be more creative and relaxed in your cover letter. The entire industry is very informal, so demonstrating you “speak crypto” is not a disadvantage at all. That doesn’t go for bigger companies, though. They’re very much like regular financial companies in that regard. Apart from that, expect a couple of interview rounds, with maybe exercises along the way. You won’t get questions like “how does Bitcoin work,” but you can expect to be asked about your experience in the sector. If you have little experience, best to be honest about that. Recruitment usually happens within a few weeks.
Where to find crypto jobs
Since crypto pretty much lives on Twitter, this is your best bet to be hired. Create a track record by writing tweets and/or posts that demonstrate your knowledge or at least the learning process. While you are learning, you can reach out to projects on Twitter and offer to volunteer. Especially smaller startups will be happy about any helping hand. Discord servers are a fantastic learning tool and way to connect with people in the space and learn a lot along the way. Joining a few Discord servers of projects you like is a strong suggestion. In general, anything that draws attention to you or creates a track record will be invaluable later on, no matter how small.
Crypto job boards
There are a couple of excellent crypto job boards that will help you find a job and understand what kind of skills are required:
https://cryptojobslist.com/ — Personal favorite thanks to daily updates and amount of info.
https://cryptocurrencyjobs.co/ — As good as the previous one.
https://crypto.jobs/ — Updated regularly but poor user experience.
https://www.crypto-careers.com/ — Regular-ish updates, not as good as the others.
https://pompcryptojobs.com/ — Semi-regular updates.
https://angel.co/company/crypto/jobs — Good, but US-only and account needed.
https://www.cryptojobsdaily.com/ — Semi-regular updates.
https://laborx.com/ — Freelance board for crypto work.
https://jobs.defialliance.co/jobs — Jobs in decentralized finance.
You can also try looking for freelance work on Upwork but be prepared for low rates initially. A much better alternative is Braintrust, a sort of decentralized Upwork for freelancers. Another resourceful way is going to CoinmarketCap, just going coin by coin and checking which projects are hiring (quite a few will be).
What are the best crypto companies to work for?
Depends on what you want since there is no such thing as “the best.” Expect to work hard at startups and at bigger companies. The culture at small projects will be highly informal, almost as if you were working with friends. They’re also more likely to be open and even reliant on guerilla marketing and non-traditional methods. Working for a blockchain-related “tradFi company” will be quite different from that. It comes down to whether you want the full crypto/Web3 experience (small startup) or just be around that sector (bigger company).
The best resources to learn about crypto
The irony of the crypto/Web3 space is that it’s all about decentralization but would actually benefit from a centralized and easy-to-understand resource for newcomers. A couple of excellent beginner resources are:
3Blue1Brown Bitcoin explainer — One of the most popular Bitcoin explainer videos (10M views).
99Bitcoins YouTube Channel — A comprehensive resource to learn about the basics of Bitcoin and beyond.
Finematics YouTube Channel — Excellent visual explainer videos about decentralized finance (and other topics).
Bankless DAO Ultimate Guide — Detailed practical guides to using and learning about cryptocurrency.
Directory about all topics crypto/web3/blockchain — Massive resource by @Darrenlautf, author of “How to Defi,” recommended for intermediate/advanced learners
That should give you more than enough material to begin your journey. Welcome aboard! Let’s do this 🤝