Sorry for the novel.
Been a heavy crypto enthusiast since 2013ish. Love Cardano. Would like to build something useful instead of just being an ADA HODLer. None of my CS buddies know enough to help out. Would like to figure out how to very slowly build up enough dev skills to contribute to this ecosystem. Or just tell me I’m being stupid.
I’ve been a BTC enthusiast since 2013 and bought my first coin in Januaryish 2014. I started with ETH shortly after the initial public sale. Like everyone else, I was immediately infatuated with the idea of a Turing complete programming language attached to a blockchain. Later, I also became aware of the substantial and real scaling challenges faced by PoW protocols. Eventually, I got to the point where I was doing general crypto presentations for different groups. Basically, I’ve spent the last 5 years driving everyone around me crazy with my constant (probably to them) half-jibberish talk about crypto stuff.
When I first heard about the Gen 3 platform coins with PoS protocols, I got that same feeling that I got when I first read about BTC…that same feeling when I first learned about ETH. I consumed all the info I could find on them, and immediately zeroed in on Cardano for the rigor of its academic/scientific approach and what seems to me to be a philosophy of actual problem solving through technical innovation instead of a model that is more wealth-accumulation-for-the-insiders centric.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in capitalist ideals and I find no fault in wealth accumulation. But, it was damn refreshing to hear Charles talk about a Pan-African initiative within the Cardano project. Ultimately, I don’t think providing solutions for coffee farmers in Kenya is necessarily adverse to wealth accumulation by ADA investors in the developed world anyway. In fact, I think it could be argued that creating valuable services for the underserved masses has historically been a great path for financial success. But, in any case, it still feels good to hear that a team behind a coin I’m HODLing, and for which I’m partitioning a lot of mind space, cares about the developing world.
Anyway, I want to thank everyone at IOHK (apparently soon to be IOWYO???) and Emurgo for everything they’re doing and building.
On that topic, I’m very interested in participating in the Cardano project as more than just a HODLer of ADA. I would love to build something useful within the Cardano ecosystem. For me, that is unfortunately a very ambitious goal.
My university and grad school studies have provided me with a great and rewarding career in another field, but not an ounce of dev skills. With that in mind, I’m joining the forums to try to sponge all the information from you guys that I can about how I can slowly accumulate enough dev skills to build a dapp on Cardano.
I’m sure you all see these kinds of lame posts all the time: “I want to build a dapp. Sorry, no dev skills.” My case also isn’t helped much by the fact that I have a great full-time job in another field. But, I’m planning on playing a long game where I try to diligently figure out how to do this bit-by-bit. We’re still pretty early in the Cardano roadmap. So, I figure even if it takes me a few years…I’ll still only be a few years past the relevant Cardano roadmap benchmarks being live. Maybe if I can even build a sort of half-assed version of what I’m trying to build, it will be enough to attract some legit developers to join the cause and eventually work toward an MVP. I directly manage a decently large group of people in my current position and have a pretty strong C.V. in terms of some other skills required to make a startup project successful. I want to build this thing because I want to use it and I know a lot of people (tech and non-tech) who I think would probably get a lot of actual real-world use out of it.
I do have one friend with a legit and recent Comp.Sci. M.S. who is interested in my little project. Unfortunately, he is already working full time in dev and also doesn’t seem to know much at all about crypto, blockchains, or decentralized computing generally. That was a little surprising to me since I assumed this space would fall squarely in the interest wheelhouse of any young guy with his skills. I currently have a great job at a tech startup where there is also a large team of devs. Strangely, I have had the exact same experience with that group. While, they are certainly very smart guys and very in-demand as developers, very few of them seem to know anything at all about the crypto space. I thought people actually working in tech positions were probably consuming the same amount or more crypto-related media as me all these years. My experience so far has been the exact opposite.
In short, no one around me seems like an able quality candidate to help me build anything. So, instead of waiting for this space to get mainstream enough that they are all desperately trying to jump in, I’m just going to start teaching myself. Even if I utterly fail (maybe most would say this is extremely likely), I’ll have gained some skills anyway.
So, I started this plan back in February 2018. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I wrote out a detailed white paper for my project with roadmaps and all that business. Obviously, the tech section was fairly blank since I didn’t know a damn thing. I wrote it with full awareness that ideas are worth nothing if no execution ever occurs. So, don’t worry…I know that white papers are a dime a dozen no matter how much I like my idea.
Didn’t know what language would eventually be the best for a Cardano dapp but found Crypto Zombies and figured a little exposure to Solidity couldn’t possibly hurt.
September 2018. Pitched the white paper to my buddy with the fancy Comp. Sci. M.S. who currently works as a dev. He was really into the idea. But, he doesn’t seem to know much about the crypto space and his time is limited. Have had continued discussions with him about game theory and some very light tokenomics type issues.
October 2018. As a side project, started talking to another buddy who wants to start a staking pool. This was cool because I was the one who introduced him to Cardano. I’m very interested in running a staking pool. But, only so many hours in the day…we’lll see if there’s enough for it.
I also considered looking into the Emurgo/dLab Fellowships since the Medium article said “In most cases, we expect that selected fellows will be developers, but we’re also happy to fund researchers or others who may be learning to develop as part of their journey.” (https://medium.com/dlabvc/dlab-fellowships-15498a9e0859). But, even in a far-fetched bizarre world where I could be in contention for something like that (not at all likely), I really couldn’t leave my current job or current location for a year-long stint in New York where it seems the fellowship would take place. So, I wouldn’t want to take up the time of the selection committee with my trifling application. hahaha
So that’s the road so far.
Obviously, I’m consuming all the general media about Cardano that all Cardano enthusiasts are probably into: the AMAs, the Cardano subreddit, vids and podcasts by Philipe and others, the Cardano developer Telegram group. This is after 5+ years of being ridiculously obsessed with crypto and the blockchain space in general.
Some questions if any of you have the time or inclination:
- What do you guys recommend for me?
- I know there is a long way to go since I’m starting at zero, but how would you guys recommend I attack this dev skill accumulation obstacle?
- Am I being stupid and I should just give up?
- How long would it take if I devote an hour every day and I’m a quick learner?
Any and all feedback/advice will be appreciated. I’m especially interested if someone can give me a really rough ballpark estimation of how long it would take to go from my current near-zero skills to “capable enough to anything useful” on 1 or 2 hours per night. That seems like a super low daily commitment when I read it out loud. But, I’m just trying to be super realistic/conservative so as not to engage in any substantial levels of self-delusion.