What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to become a master of my craft, and that is blockchain/web3 development. Work on a few cool projects and eventually start teaching the next generation.
Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in blockchain & DeFi and what you are currently working on?
My first introduction to blockchain was in 2016 when I started at BitcoinAverage.com where we were calculating the average price of cryptocurrencies by aggregating data from multiple exchanges. I was still on the sidelines of blockchain development because there was no actual Smart Contract or blockchain work, it wasn’t even a dApp, but it was enough to get into web3 at the time.
Since then I mostly worked on my own personal projects to get good at blockchain development over the years.
Then in November 2021, I joined Request Labs and officially started working on Web3 full time. It’s been a very interesting few months because at Request we are building the future of finance and constantly keeping up with the latest trends in the Web3 space.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in DeFi?
Regarding soft skills, I just treat people online just like I would in the real world, by being polite and respectful, that’s all that’s necessary.
Regarding hard tech skills, when you are a software engineer, the code speaks for itself, so you must be a good coder and be willing to learn and spend multiple hours or days on a problem until you get it right.
How do you get things done?
I actually highly recommend the book “Getting Things Done” for getting organized, from apps I use Todoist, and I also sometimes work in Pomodoro intervals.
What’s the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The fact that we are still very early in the web3 world and there are new innovations constantly happening is I would say the best and most challenging part. But that is why web3 is attracting more and more developers, the challenging parts are where innovation happens and that is where the fun is.
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What is different working as an engineer for DeFi & blockchain topics?
From an engineering perspective, the biggest difference is that we have a completely new layer, the blockchain layer, which is this single distributed data store that the whole world is using, so it’s inherently slower than any local Db in traditional Web apps.
So you must account for delays in every step of the way and try to make a good user experience regardless.
What separates someone adequate at your position from someone exceptional?
I think the exceptional engineers are the ones that understand blockchain protocols and smart contracts on a deeper level. By this, I mean the Solidity opcodes and assembly, things like that. Also, security is a big deal in the crypto world because we are working with programmable money here, so having a security mindset, or a cryptography background will give you an advantage for sure.
Tell us about the greatest working day of your life. You're at home in the evening, sitting on your couch and thinking about what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
I can’t think of a specific day but any day where I accomplish my tasks that I had planned for that day is a good day. I also very much enjoy building demos using some new technologies, so any time I get those to work is a good day.
What is your favorite DeFi Project? Among the people you’ve worked/interacted with in DeFi, who do you admire most and why?
From people I’ve interacted with, aside from my colleagues at Request Labs, I admire Austin Griffith because his enthusiasm for learning blockchain development is contagious and he’s built one of the best resources for getting started with Ethereum development called the Eth dev speedrun.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
We see more and more blockchains popping out because of the high gas fees on Ethereum. In the next year or a few years, we all expect to see what Ethereum 2.0 will look like and what L2 solutions will get traction and how all of that will work together.