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Your Short-track to a Web3 Developer Career – the Lisk University Program

You consider becoming a Web3 developer? Then this article is for you.

We are taking you on the journey of Peter Nobels, professor at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU), the Netherlands, who has initiated a course to help you start your Web3 career.

By Lisk

02 Mar 2023

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The course is based on the Lisk blockchain platform, which provides you with a set of tools to simplify the process of building Web3 applications. It focuses on building applications in a core blockchain area - Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

We, that is Lisk and Peter's project Kalipo, a platform that allows you to create a customized DAO for your (Web3) community.

The pilot of the Lisk University Program (UP) took place at the HU in the fall semester of 2022. At the end of the course, the participants were able to present two working open source applications that will be merged into Kalipo.

Read on to learn about Peter's and their Web3 journey, which we hope will be the starting point for your own.

A career with an impact

In his 2005 Stanford speech, Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Web3 disrupts today's powerful Internet giants that collect user data and extract as much value as possible from their users.

As a Web3 developer, you will help users take control of their data, be their own banker, asset manager, or art dealer. Web3 development is about creating an open and permissionless Internet for everyone, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

When Peter and his team started building Kalipo on the Lisk blockchain, he connected his dots: his passions for IT, networks, and collaboration. That is to reinvent the way we collaborate and build communities to restore a sense of balance and equality in our society with DAOs.

What is a DAO? A DAO is a democratic community without a central authority. Members set the rules of their game (or constitution). The DAO code then executes these rules autonomously. The results are immutably stored on the blockchain. A robust and censorship resistant system. Read more about DAOs here.

Web3’s power to change the world – Kalipo's mission

For Peter, power is the necessary driver to get things done. However, an imbalance of power leads to suffering in a society. Governments become dictatorships, communities fall into anarchy.

Unfortunately, societies have historically lacked the tools to distribute power for a common purpose. That changed in 2009.

Satoshi Nakamoto's peer-to-peer payment network, Bitcoin, provided a trust mechanism to avoid “trusted” intermediaries (in this case, banks) and the concentration of power. A mechanism that can turn distributed (or decentralized) power into collective action. This solution is, you guessed it, blockchain - the foundation on which Web3 is built.

If Bitcoin is the evolution of money, DAOs are the evolution of democratic communities. They are united by their mission and govern their own organization.

To allow people to start their own DAO without having to be a tech-savvy developer, Peter created Kalipo.

The biggest obstacles to becoming a Web3 developer

When asked, Peter shared his insights from the Lisk UP pilot:

“The biggest obstacle may surprise you. A group of developers on their own often lack a sense for product-market-fit. Developers need to build on a valuable idea, a concept that makes sense in the Web3 world. To add value to the Lisk ecosystem, they need to build a product that meets the needs of the users.

Kalipo's role is to be the “voice of the customer” for the student teams, providing them with ideas that leverage the power of Web3 and relate to user needs. Combining the roles of developer and product owner makes Lisk UP truly valuable.

Second, it's daunting to become a Web3 developer with a low-level programming language like Solidity, the primary programming language of Web3. Lisk stands out in the Web3 space with its software development kit (SDK), which allows developers to build Web3 applications using JavaScript.

With Lisk UP, we have extended the Lisk SDK with front-end technology, frameworks and libraries. With this technology stack delivered through a remote development environment, students had a short learning curve and were able to develop a full-stack application with user value.”

Making it real: The Lisk University Program

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The program consists of 12 workshops designed by Kalipo. It takes you on a deep dive into the philosophy of Web3, covers the importance and potential of DAOs, the basics of front-end and back-end development, and last but not least, teaches you the foundation on which Kalipo is built: the Lisk SDK.

During the Lisk UP pilot in 2022 things got interesting. Inspired by the courses, the participants developed their ideas in a real professional environment, among the Kalipo team.

Onboard the Kalipo train

Peter wants you to experience the everyday life of a Web3 developer and feel ownership of the products you build.

“I believe the physical aspect of being part of the Kalipo team gave participants a glimpse into the real life of a professional Web3 developer.

I think there were times when they didn’t like me for treating them like real employees. But in the end, being part of something bigger and creating a working product from scratch gave them a real sense of ‘this is our project’.

It was a great opportunity for them to grow not only as professionals, but as humans.”, says the Kalipo founder.

Apps born in Utrecht

Peter envisions Kalipo as an incubator for DAOs and startups, where each new team builds its own Kalipo subsystem on top of Kalipo's core functionality where the teams can become the owners of the system they built.

In this spirit, the Lisk UP graduates developed two working open source applications that will be integrated into Kalipo's DAO platform.

The Proof of Attendance application rewards event attendees with a digital badge. It can be used to recognize a community's contributors and offer privileges to the most engaged in a DAO. For example, to offer discounts on services or products, or as a requirement for graduating from a class.

Polls & Questionnaires is useful for decision-making and understanding community preferences and can be used to validate the market value of a product..

Web3 is here to stay

We are 14 years into the creation of Bitcoin. Six and a half years after its creation, when Ethereum launched, Web3 counted 1,164 active developers according to the 2022 Electric Capital Developer Report. Seven years later, as of December 2022, there were 23,343 monthly developers working on the next iteration of the internet.

Web3 developers are in demand, and the Lisk University Program is your chance to become part of a thriving industry. An industry that means different things to different people. Should you go down the Web3 rabbit hole?

Peter chose the path of blockchain for the good of communities, in part because he is averse to undemocratic power.

And right now, a young woman in Afghanistan dreams of financial inclusion for the 1.4 billion unbanked. A young boy in the Philippines wants to get Overseas Filipino Workers off the hook for remittance fees when they send money home to their families. And a Web3 enthusiast in the Silicon Valley wants to disrupt the disruptors of Web2: the big social media platforms that collect our data and sell it to the highest bidder.

Or do you just love coding and want to work in a new and exciting industry? Blockchain is one of the fastest adopted technologies in human history, and there’s a lot to do!

You were born to be the creator of the future, the designer of something new. And if you think Web3 is for you, stay tuned and join the Lisk University Program to make a difference and create a better future for everyone.