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Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize industries from finance to healthcare, but a shortage of skilled developers has become a major challenge for companies looking to implement blockchain solutions.
Demand for developers to build out Web3 is increasing, but many traditional Web2 developers are still hesitant to venture into unfamiliar territory. Perceptions of the space as dangerous inspire skepticism, and the lack of accessible programming languages, frameworks, and education prevents future developers from getting involved.
The need for blockchain education
One of the main challenges facing the blockchain industry is the lack of formal education and training programs specifically focused on blockchain technology. Many developers may have a general understanding of blockchain but lack the specific skills and knowledge needed to develop blockchain applications. This has led to a significant shortage of skilled developers, which can make it difficult for companies to find the talent they need to build and deploy these solutions.
As a rapidly evolving industry, blockchain and Web3 represent an exciting arena for developers to advance their careers. In 2022 there were more than 25,000 active developersand more than 61,000 developers contributed code for the first time — the highest number on record — to demonstrate the value locked in space.
Learning the Web3 coding languages is clearly a hurdle for intrigued Web2 developers. From a tool and engagement standpoint, Web3 significantly lowers the bar for developers. Developers accustomed to Web2’s seamless tooling solutions are met by a less mature and more complex ecosystem. Entering the space requires a significant investment from the developer. Unless developers are fully convinced of Web3’s long-term prospects, why commit to learning Web3 languages that are considered notoriously time consuming throughout the industry? Those who want to develop on Ethereum or other Web3 chains really need to believe in blockchain’s potential and vision to undertake the Web3 developer’s journey. The industry needs to recognize this and provide developer support systems.
The Web3 mentality
Migration to Web3 involves more than learning new coding languages; one also needs to develop a Web3 developer mindset. Early involvement in space contributed to tribalism, a complex phenomenon with positive and negative effects on the crypto community.
However, it is inappropriate to doubt where the visionaries and communities come from. For a new technology to succeed, you need true believers to take a stand with fervor. So without such tribalism and those who persevered despite opposing views, the industry would not be where it is today.
While Web3’s founders are revered in their tribes, so are those at the helm of Big Tech companies. Rightly or wrongly, figureheads like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos need no introduction for their longstanding technology fanaticism, so the treatment of those who have donated breakthrough open source technology to society should be no different.
For leaders like Vitalik Buterin of Ethereum and Ethan Buchman of Cosmos, it is a democratic virtue that the developer communities contributing to the next generation of the Internet are firm in their beliefs. It’s true that major crypto debates often take on a tone of religious zeal and fervor rarely seen elsewhere, but this underlying passion is the foundation of the decades-long movement for a better web.
Security in Web3
What other reasons are making Web2 developers wary of the space? On the edge, developers see other developers negatively impacted by security risks. From this they conclude that Web3 is an immature environment full of risks. Indeed, there are many security risks and many Web3 developers are subject to building on inadequate systems that can be easily exploited.
Some of the crypto industry’s most memorable building blocks, such as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), are still maturing. New iterations will continue to evolve, but many developers need more security education to safely innovate on these platforms.
This is where we need to train developers to avoid falling into security traps that prevent compounding and growth. How do we navigate to get people into a space where they need to program in a more secure way? That is the challenge facing the industry. Improving tooling and debugging experiences is essential if developers are to bridge the gap from Web2 to Web3, but we also need more secure execution engines and more education.
Web3 envisions a world where millions of developers can build decentralized applications that billions of users can interact with every day. For this to become a reality, the industry needs to lure more developers into the Web3 space by simplifying the onboarding process so that they see it as a valuable opportunity, both economically and philosophically. The next generation of developers may be Web3 natives, but investing in the established Web2 developers who can lay the foundations for a distributed web with the skills in their toolkits cannot be ignored.
Diego Lizarazo is Director of Developer Relations at Agorical.
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