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How to become a smart contract developer

  • By Victoria Li
  • Published on February 8

The rise of Web3 has opened doors to innovative opportunities across various fields. One of the most crucial roles in this ecosystem is the smart contract developer, the architect of the self-executing agreements that underpin secure and transparent transactions within Web3.

Who is a smart contract developer?

A smart contract developer is a programmer who writes code that executes automatically on a blockchain. Unlike traditional software, smart contracts operate without the need for a central authority, ensuring transparency, security and immutability. They are used to automate various functions, from financial transactions and asset management to supply chain tracking and voting systems.

The work of smart contract developers unlocks a future where financial inclusion thrives through peer-to-peer lending, borrowing and trading, unburdened by traditional financial institutions. Beyond financial applications, they empower communities by enabling decentralized governance structures within blockchain networks, where decision-making is driven by the collective voice rather than centralized authorities. 

In essence, smart contract developers are not just writing code; they are shaping the future of interactions, building a Web3 where trust, transparency and empowerment are the cornerstones of every transaction and interaction.

This crucial role comes with an impressive compensation package. According to Indeed, the estimated salary range for smart contract developers in the United States falls between $110,000 and $170,000 annually, highlighting this skill set’s high demand and specialized nature. And the demand is surging: Glassdoor reported a 48% increase in smart contract developer job postings in 2023, reflecting the rapid growth of the Web3 ecosystem.

Skill set to become a smart contract developer

Becoming a smart contract developer requires a unique blend of technical skills and basic knowledge of cryptography and smart contract development. Let’s explore the key areas to focus on.

Programming languages


A language specifically designed for smart contracts is a smart contractor’s primary tool. 


Gaining significant traction due to its focus on memory safety and parallelism, Rust is rapidly becoming a popular choice for building high-performance, secure smart contracts. Frameworks like Solana’s Anchor and AptosMove make Rust development in these ecosystems more accessible.


Known for its readability and Python-like syntax, Vyper prioritizes formal verification, simplifying the process of proving the correctness of contracts before deployment. This focus on security makes it particularly attractive for high-value applications.


Building upon familiar JavaScript syntax, AssemblyScript compiles highly optimized WebAssembly (WASM) code, allowing for efficient contract execution on blockchains like Near Protocol. Its ease of use makes it appealing for developers comfortable with JavaScript.

Frameworks and tools


Geared toward more advanced users, Hardhat provides a flexible and modular environment for building, testing and deploying contracts. Its low-level access and customization options are ideal for complex projects.

Remix IDE

Remix IDE is an online integrated development environment (IDE) specifically designed for Solidity development. Its visual debugging tools and collaborative features make it ideal for learning and rapid prototyping.


This JavaScript library is the primary interface for interacting with Ethereum nodes and smart contracts from front-end applications. Understanding Web3.js unlocks the potential for building decentralized applications (DApps) that seamlessly interact with the blockchain.

Additional skills

Blockchain fundamentals

A deep understanding of blockchain technology, consensus mechanisms and cryptography is crucial for building secure and efficient smart contracts. Familiarity with specific blockchain platforms such as Ethereum, Solana or Polkadot is also beneficial.

Decentralized finance

As decentralized finance (DeFi) continues to grow, understanding its core concepts and protocols becomes increasingly valuable for smart contract developers looking to contribute to this rapidly evolving space.

Security best practices

With the high stakes involved in blockchain development, adhering to security best practices, such as code audits and penetration testing, is essential for mitigating vulnerabilities and protecting user funds.

Community engagement

The Web3 community is vibrant and supportive. Actively engage with online forums, attend conferences, and contribute to open-source projects. This will not only enhance your knowledge but also build your network and showcase your skills.

Hands-on experience

Theoretical knowledge is vital, but nothing beats hands-on experience. Start by creating simple smart contracts and gradually work your way up to more complex ones. Participate in coding challenges and hackathons to test your skills in a practical setting.


The career path for a smart contract developer is not a singular track but rather a branching network brimming with diverse opportunities. Whether your entrepreneurial spirit yearns for the freedom of freelance work, collaborating with various clients and DApps on exciting projects, or your drive seeks the cutting edge of innovation, joining a blockchain startup and shaping the future of Web3 might be your ideal path. 

If your passion lies in knowledge-sharing and shaping the next generation of Web3 architects, becoming a researcher or educator opens doors to contributing to advancing the field by exploring new applications and empowering others through your expertise. With such a spectrum of possibilities, smart contract developers hold the key to not only unlocking their own career potential but also shaping the dynamic future of Web3.