Is this the right time to look for a job in crypto? [Q&A]
The cryptocurrency markets have been going through a hard time of late with a bear market and big swings in value. So is now the time to apply for a crypto job?
Crypto technology isn't going away, and many more companies are getting involved. We spoke to Bijan Shahrokhi, fintech expert and creator of Product Management Exercises, to find out whether this is a good time to apply for a job in crypto and how to improve your chances of getting one.
BN: Are we likely to see an increase in crypto job opportunities?
BS: Absolutely. You can see a considerable increase; the best evidence is the volume of investment poured into the crypto or Web3 industry.
As you can see, many companies have, during the last bull run, raised a lot of money with the assumption of scaling their products and expansion in the engineering team over the next few years.
In many cases, almost in all cases, these projects will continue growing their teams with the money they’ve raised. It's because that’s the only way for them to be able to pull off delivery as they promise to their investors and continue their trajectory of growth.
So, even if you put a new company in the space for people to join, you can see that the capital for hiring additional talent in the industry is already committed and allocated. A lot of people have been finding good talent in the industry. But because the talent pool is limited it is tough to find good people.
However, it is a supply problem; we don't have a demand problem from a hiring perspective, we simply don’t have enough interested people working in this industry or willing to learn to become an engineer or product manager.
BN: Which skills are particularly relevant to the crypto industry?
BS: I think there are two-parts, firstly a traditional knowledge as an engineer or as a product manager or marketer. The second part though is essential and that is to understand the context and the culture of Web3.
Because Web3 culture is very different from Web2 or regular company culture, people are usually driven by something higher than themselves or their companies, in many cases it’s about disrupting the whole industry, bringing transparency and privacy to it.
The only way you can have that knowledge is to jump right in, then further attend events to get a deep understanding of the cultural norms to understand these protocols and then try to start contributing.
The good thing is that because many crypto projects are open source, you don't have to be full-time to get involved. You can go to an open source project and start contributing as a step to finding a way to grow full-time in the industry. That is one of the beauties of crypto as a whole.
BN: Will we see more demand for 'soft skilled' jobs alongside the more technical roles?
BS: Absolutely. It depends on what you define as soft skills but there is a lot of demand for product management right now; companies must fill the need.
There is a lot of demand on the marketing side too, community management, and operation. Especially given that teams are increasingly remote, figuring out how to provide good HR and procedures is tricky. Also, there’s a lot of demand in the regulatory area like legal and compliance.
These circumstances sometimes surprise people because they automatically see that you perhaps don't respect the law if you are into crypto. But still, a substantial majority of companies have to pay attention to following the rules and regulations. This is why lawyers with Web3 backgrounds are in very high demand.
BN: Exactly what is Web3, and what effect will it have in the long term?
BS: It depends on who you ask because people tend to have different views on this. Web3 is a product that leverages underlying technologies. An individual entity does not own this, and as a result, the data is owned by the particular user. The process of delivering those services happens in a distributed system, that is Web3. It's fascinating because what it does is it changes the power dynamics completely.
Instead of businesses having the upper hand in the customer relationship, the dynamic changes and the user is in charge of their data and can even own the data privately, however limited the access is. So, we put the user as the king rather than the data.
There is no individual entity to change things for users -- for example Facebook changes policies often and they expand the scope of their rights over the user's data. You cannot do this on Web3 because privacy policies are a smart contract. The logic is that no individuals can take advantage of that. It's a journey to get there though, because much of this data is not currently decentralized.
BN: How is increased automation likely to affect the crypto jobs market?
BS: It is the same effect automation has in other jobs because people are moving to do employment with critical thinking. So, I don't see automation affecting many jobs directly, instead it's making things more efficient because automation is a tool, and humans leverage it to produce more intelligent contracts, better product services and other tools. We are a long way from that though because we are still building the foundation of Web3 today.
When automation is more available in crypto things will become more efficient for humans. You can argue that smart contacts are already automating some things, but jobs have not disappeared, indeed more jobs will be created in new ways, capturing value in today's world.