Clinton Felix is one of the renowned full-stack blockchain and software engineers around. He currently leads the team of developers building a blockchain-powered payment solution at Cryp.Africa.
He also finished as one of the finalists in the 4 months Hackathon internship organised by Nestcoin earlier in 2022, amidst other applaudable feats.
In a chat with Technext, Clinton Felix walks us through his journey and also gives tips on how to build a career in the blockchain development niche.
Journey into the world of blockchain
He says his experience with blockchain technology started when he began to explore other options. He discovered that on the web2 space, there are interesting applications to build but on the blockchain, there is something different.
“So that capability, how you can actually offer solutions running on decentralised protocols is one of those things that really got my attention.”
His journey into blockchain development wasn’t quite rosy though.
When he started the journey in late 2019 to mid-2020, there weren’t enough resources at that period for starters. So, as a newbie, he did not know where to look. He discovered he had to learn programming languages like solidity, EVM compatible protocols and YouTube came in handy.
He eventually took a course to have more tailored training.
Following that, he built platforms for himself and joined some hackathons. He remarks that by the time he was participating in the Nestcoin Hackathon organised in conjunction with Zuri, he was already competent but the event was one of those things that solidified him in the space.
Clinton’s guide on being a blockchain developer
There is a generally held belief that blockchain development is only for intelligent folks and average persons are going to struggle to understand the technicalities. But, Clinton Felix debunks the claim.
He says anyone ready to put in the work can become a blockchain developer.
“I have seen people who have zero experience of coding, zero experience of anything tech in that journey and within a period of time they were able to become real-world blockchain developers. They were building applications that are ready for live productions. That is because it is not necessarily for those who are intelligent. What you need to understand is the programming language you can begin with.”
He stresses the need for dedication, commitment, and consistency.
“So you can have someone who is intelligent do it one-off and come back two weeks later to try again. And, you have someone who is average and comes every day. That consistency helps you to build memory. You will be able to interact more. An average person can definitely become a better blockchain engineer than somebody who is very intelligent but does not take it seriously. There’s no disparity, it is just the decision to give it serious attention and put in the work”
Blockchain development is a nascent niche. There are not a lot of people in the space at the moment but quite a number of people are looking for an opportunity to get in. Clinton reiterates that we should treat it as a developing space, especially if we consider the recent hacks and exploitations.
But, it is a new stage that gives a window of opportunity for anybody to come in and become something.
“I don’t really think the lucrativeness should be a motivation as much as trying to solve problems. Because when you try to solve problems the money will come.”
Clinton says newbies should take cognisance of the fact that things change rapidly in this space, unlike some legacy infrastructures where things are done in a rigid way and changes are not so fast.
“In the blockchain space, things that used to be the standard some 3, 6 months ago can become very obsolete within the next two months. So anybody coming into the space by this time should know that you have to be ahead. You have to be constantly updating yourself and getting information because since it’s still in a nascent stage so many things are still being figured out”, he concludes.
For those that are willing to kickstart their career in blockchain, Clinton recommends taking a well-structured course rather than watching videos or going at it yourself.
“You can get structured materials in those communities and build as you learn. With that, you’re becoming more and more conversant with what you’re doing. It is worthwhile to also build things. It is not just taking the course, you actually have to build things and challenge yourself”
“A course is like a guided tutorial so after that you want to leave the tutorial and try to build something by yourself. Of course, you will make mistakes and you will have to check up on the tutorial again. This may take some time depending on how quickly the person learns. Go out and build something without necessarily working for a company. Maybe take something that has already been implemented and try to refactor and build it yourself.”
Clinton Felix hopes to see more synergy between blockchain regulators and innovators in Nigeria. He told me there is quite exciting stuff in the bag that he will not be able to speak about at the moment.
We are keeping our fingers crossed!
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