I think it’s totally possible to become a Cardano smart contract developer from the starting point of guys like you and I. Not at all easy…but possible. I like that since it seems like the most valuable things always require the most work to achieve. Dan Gable said: “You only deserve what you earn.”
I think if someone put 8 hours per day into it, they could get there surprisingly fast. If someone was working full time at their real job but putting in two hours every night, I think it would also be surprising how fast they could get there. Maybe I’m an optimist. But, these languages and systems were written by humans who just put in the time. I also think any human of above average intelligence could learn them with a little time.
I’m only 350/1257 pages through that gigantic Haskell book, and I already feel like I have the beginnings of most of the basic tools I need to begin coding smart contracts in Plutus. I definitely wouldn’t be a great (or even good) smart contract developer. But, I feel like I have already worked on a lot of the basics tools I’ll need. The pieces I’m still extremely blurry on are mainly the blockchain specific pieces of Plutus that aren’t already a part of Haskell. Again, not trying to oversell my very meager skillset or understanding. I’m just happy about the progress I’ve made compared to a few years ago.
On yesterday’s AMA, Charles indicated that Lars Brunjes is going to run something like a 500 person class for 4-6 weeks to turn out a cadre of Plutus developers. It sounds like we’ll have to apply to get in to that program and that it will be pretty strenuous. I’m not even sure if they’ll allow people like you and I with no programming background. But, that might be interesting.
Your question about the front end user side is a really good one. Others probably know way more about that than me. But, the question I have been asking myself for the last few years is this: “What will fill the role of the metamask of the Cardano ecosystem?”. Will it be something built inside Daedalus and Yoroi or a completely separate browser extension/app/dApp/or etc? I think it was on the last Cardano 360 show that I heard something that made me believe that Sebastian and those guys at Emurgo may be working on something that will fit this role right now.
But, I almost feel like I need to know the answer to that question before I even start thinking about the front end user stuff. Maybe everyone else already knows and I’m just in the dark. Hahahaha.
Definitely take anything I say with a grain of salt. But, I’m also very interested in the questions you are exploring.
Maybe we’ll get lucky and someone in the know will pitch in here with some good info.