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Brian H. Hough
Brian H. Hough

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How to Navigate the Web3 and Crypto Dev Scene with Kylee Fields (Nervos Network)

From airdrops to DAOs to building full-stack decentralized applications on the blockchain, there are more opportunities than ever before to get involved in this decentralized future of tech in web3.

In this episode of the Tech Stack Playbook, I sit down with Kylee Fields (@kyleecodes), Tech & Community at Nervos Network, to break down all of the web3 excitement. Today's episode focuses on the web3 developer landscape, thoughts on the evolving blockchain space, some trending topics in crypto, and how anyone can get involved in the space right now.

Since Kylee and I connected on Instagram a little over a year ago, I have been greatly impressed with her passion for tech, coding, and sharing her journey in STEM, blockchain, and software engineering. As a tech influencer and content creator, Kylee brings a unique and insightful experience to the tech industry, especially as someone who is heavily plugged into the blockchain space, so I was of course thrilled when we were finally able to do a LIVE for the Tech Stack Playbook.

This episode is packed with value, so here's a glance at what you'll learn about below, and a series of sections further down in this blog post highlighting the important topics we discussed:

Time stamps:
00:00 Welcoming @kyleecodes to the Tech Stack Playbook
00:55 Setting the scene of today's interview on web3
02:19 How Kylee & I became #devfriends on social media
03:48 Kylee's journey from biology to computer science
07:19 Self-taught developers are information seekers
09:15 The reason for blockchain, crypto, and NFTs current hype
11:33 Why 2021 web3 is so different from 2018 web3
12:46 Comparing the Bill Gates Internet Interview to explaining blockchain
13:50 How crypto is making people question status quo's
14:56 Is crypto just about trading, or something more?
16:15 What digital ownership means
18:20 Etherscan and information verification in a trust-less world
20:54 Working on interoperability & crypto at Nervos Network
22:55 How Nervos Network is solving important web3 challenges
24:24 How Nervos is building for a multi-use web3 future
26:25 What does DevRel (developer relations) look like in web3?
31:35 Kylee's insights on how to build a career in tech
34:20 Tech stacks for web3 + building on Nervos Network
38:36 How can accessibility & inclusion get more people into tech?
43:54 What should devs interested in blockchain look at to get started?
50:42 The excitement of airdrops, DAOs, and $ENS governance tokens
01:00:40 What's been the most rewarding experience learning how to code

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Who is Kylee Codes?

Kylee Fields (who goes by @kyleecodes on social media), started coding in 2018 and has since become a freelance developer, a tech influencer with thousands of followers on social media, and currently runs community at Nervos Network.

Additionally, as a technical community manager, Kylee is studying community building and combining her technical knowledge to serve the ever-growing Nervos Network community. Through technical support, networking, community building events, public appearances, and more, Kylee is on the forefront of the rapidly evolving community management sector in the crypto world.

She started her career off as a biology student and throughout her youth was a fan of tech and the sciences. Kylee found herself specifically fascinated by biology and evolutionary biology through school. However, when she got to college, she was immediately drawn to the flexibility that programmers had in terms of their work schedules and the value developers can bring to the world through their craft.

Similar to STEM, software engineering careers allow you to also solve programs and "engineer" solutions to issues that exist in the world. She decided to align her career path towards computers, thinking it would be a great way to continue her journey into STEM along with a flexible career path. The fact that you can be self-taught was also a huge draw for her, along with the real guarantees of work placements after studying as well. Getting a job can be really difficult in any market, but coding is one that has one of the least barriers to entry for folks that are motivated, driven, and committed to growth, like Kylee has found.

To build her skills and experience, she started freelancing as a WordPress developer. This later led to an internship for BF Products, a supply chain management company, and then most recently Red Hat, an IBM subsidiary software company that provides open source software products to enterprises.

Currently, she manages community for a global blockchain company called Nervos Network. Nervos is an EVM compatible layer 2 solution on Ethereum, that provides a fast, scalable, and familiar platform for building decentralized applications on the blockchain. Overall, Nervos Network is a cutting-edge, interoperable solution for blockchain connectivity, from NFTs and digital assets to cryptocurrencies and tokens, to solve the blockchain β€œTrilemma.” To learn more about the blockchain β€œTrilemma” and how Nervos is solving this, check out this blog post here from Nervos Lead Engineer, Jan Xie.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» How to start your career in software engineering

Kylee's voyage into the web3 and crypto ether is one that I am sure a lot of readers will be interested in. Particularly because of her switch from an earth science (biology) to a computer science (software engineering).

When Kylee and I met virtually during the COVID-19 lockdown, we were taking courses, leveling up our skills, and making networks and connections. However, there were many practical steps Kylee took to build her career and level up.

When she started freelancing as a web developer, she began googling companies in her home town to identify which of their Google Pages had incorrect data, the wrong hours, was not optimized efficiently, and so on. Stringing together these types Freelance gigs led to making $50 at each establishment. This inner drive as a "tech hustler" propelled her to see how the web2, and eventually the web3, space could provide not only job security, but work that can truly make a difference in the world.

This then led to making WordPress sites for local businesses, while she continued going to school and tangentially continued self-teaching. This then led to two internships, the first with BF Products, and then this past summer with Red Hat. She describes her internship with Red Hat as her first doorway into the corporate world where she not only learned so much about open source softwares at scale, but also that it rounded out all of her skillsets coming from a small business background. She had been a fan of open source and Linux products for years, so the chance to really see this up front at Red Hat was very rewarding for her.

Now as a Technical Community Consultant for Nervos Network, Kylee helps to run one of the top crypto and web3 Twitter Spaces "Hashing It Out", as well as assists with the management and growth of Nervos Network's global community.

One of the key takeaways from Kylee's journey into tech is that all the skills you learn at each company compounds. Warren Buffett refers to this as compound interest via learning: "If you are investing in your education and you are learning, you should do that as early as you possibly can, because then it will have time to compound over the longest period" (GoodReads) With Kylee's experiences, they continue to get bigger and bigger in scope and scale, so no doubt, I am excited to see where her career continues to go.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Finding your "Hype Beasts" in Web3

Something that both Kylee and I can attest to is how warm and welcoming the web3 community has been for us and for many currently entering the space. When you are entering a new career, field, or embarking on a new journey in highly technical industry like blockchain, the path to get to where you want to go can seem quite daunting and intimidating. While entering any field can have its ebbs and flows, it's so important to find your "Hype Beasts" β€” the people who pump you up, keep you motivated, peak your academic/technical interests, and keep you trudging through the unknown.

The field of blockchain continues to be written as we speak, and by the time you read this blog post, there will undoubtedly be new tools, platforms, web3 integrations, frameworks, blockchains, NFTs, and tokens then when we did this live on Nov. 12. Forming a supportive network online is one the most important and most rewarding components of becoming a web3 developer.

The beauty of having your inner community of "Hype Beasts" is that instead of going at it alone, you have a core community of people constantly fueling your drive to level up, be innovative, and show up to build (or BUIDL as they say).

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Why blockchain development is getting so much hype right now?

First of all, we have to understand why this happening right now. To Kylee, she sees NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), "Flex Culture" now going mainstream, celebrities making NFT deals, and so on. "Blockchain [and crypto technologies and products] has reached mainstream. It's hard to ignore that. People want to get in on that now." Kylee said.

What excites Kylee the most about these trends is the concept of "Digital Ownership." Digital Ownership is her favorite feature of blockchain technology, and while it has a ways to go, she sees this element as being vital to its long term prospects and longevity. As major corporations like EY, Sotheby's, Vayner Media, and more join into the NFT market, the hype cycle continues to promulgate. There are many big names in the space and their endorsement and utilization of blockchain and crypto technologies holds a great amount of weight in the in the global market, and in the traditional markets they usually play in.

Personally, I often see a lot of parallels to web3's adoption with a 1995 interview with Bill Gates where he explains what the "Internet" is and why it is (and will be) so transformational to society. The obvious response for watching things on the internet at the time is, "ever hear of going outside?" or communicating with people in real time with "yea, ever hear of this thing called the Post Office?" Obviously this interview did not age well, but it is goes to show how important it is to stay on top of society-moving changes. Those who do not pick up technology skills or tools will be left back by those who push on and build the next foundation. This is happening right now with blockchain, crypto, and web3, so it is important to stay knowledgeable, learn, and build as Kylee does.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Is crypto just trading, or is there more to it?

As Kylee explains for us, there are cryptocurrencies (bucket #1), and blockchain technology - the umbrella term of cryptographic tools (bucket #2), which can be a physical item like an NFT or a coin like cryptocurrency.

To frame this with the lens of digital ownership, Kylee makes a great point that you could create a "fake dollar bill" but there would be no way to actually verify the asset in question without intense analysis. Thanks to blockchain's open-varifiableness and authenticatable nature, we can analyze each transaction right down it's hash number. An incredible tool for blockchain research like this, as well as verifying transactions in general is Etherscan. Thanks to tools like this, you can verify actions and legitimately prove the authenticity of the assets in question independent of "us."

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» At the center of blockchain and crypto at Nervos, what is Kylee focusing on?

Given the lack of connectedness with different blockchains today, Nervos is working on solving the interoperability conundrum.

Comparatively speaking, as Kylee explains, Bitcoin is more of an asset storage layer, compared with a blockchain like Ethereum that has more transactional capabilities. "Where Nervos comes in with its CKB token is building a storage layer 2 on top of their token, to provide a storable digital object similar to Bitcoin with the capabilities of Ethereum on the second layer when it comes to how transactions are conducted. In a sense, they are combining the best of both Bitcoin and Ethereum into one CKB token for the world," as Kylee explained.

As Kylee explained, Nervos uses RISC-V. Wasm was considered for Nervos, but RISC-V ultimately won out due to it's ability to meet the requirements from low-power micro processor to high-performance data center (DC) processor (given it's characteristics of transparency, simplicity, modularity, wide support and scalability!)

The Nervos token, combining the best attributes of the two leading cryptocurrencies by market cap in the world will certainly make the network more future proof moving forward.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» What's been the most rewarding experience learning how to code?

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If you have any questions about the application process, please reach out over social media or drop a comment below and I will respond!

Check out the full recording below:

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Let's digitize the world together! πŸš€

-- Brian

Discussion (1)

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy

Some of the ideas/philosophies behind #web3 are worth pursuing, but Blockchain/crypto is almost certainly not the way to go. A very interesting (long) read here