In this edition of DevStories meet Vanshika Rana - a Web3 developer and Director of Developer Relations at Valist. She's got a knack for building and networking which makes her the ideal candidate for her job. Her exceptional knowledge and skills, helped her be a part of hackathons, communities, and much more.
Vanshika's love for community and community building is well-known and every single day she put her efforts to onboard new developers into the Web3 space. Read ahead to know how she got into Web3, joined Valist and so much more about her story.
How did you discover blockchain technology? What made you step into this ecosystem?
I graduated last year in June, with a degree in Computer Science Engineering. But I really started coding when I turned 15 years old, right after my 10th standard.
"And when I wrote my first line of code, I was like, Oh My God, this is so amazing. Like I can talk to the computer and make the computer do some stuff. I was always fascinated with technology. I was that curious kid who would take everyone's phone and just like go to different settings and change them. My parents used to scold me for that. But yeah, I was always curious about technology."
But, I didn't have access to any resources, to know and to learn, like where I could go and dive deep into learning all these things. But as soon as I heard about blockchain and everything, I went in to learn Web 3. And yeah, I just fell in love with blockchain technology, and it is so awesome. It has the security part that I love and It also has a Web development part that I love, and on top of it, this is a revolutionary technology. So yeah, I just continued studying and working on it. So that's how I ended up in the ecosystem.
How did you balance building your Web3 knowledge and pursuing your education?
I would say Covid kind of helped in this for me because I didn't have to go to college in person, like at the end of my third and fourth years. But I would say the way I managed it was like, I used to give like 14 hours a day to coding and stuff. I know it's not healthy. I will not recommend it to anyone. You know, at that covid time it was we weren't allowed to go out, we weren't allowed to do anything.
So, coding was something that was keeping me sane basically. So I just tried to put that much effort into it. But in 2022 when I had to go back to college, what I used to do was do all the stuff that's needed. Complete the assignments, give the exams, come back, and give around four to five hours to coding. That was my schedule. I had a great team. They were not like, you have to do all this stuff, or you have to do, these things or that things. They were very understanding.
They were like 'Hey, you can finish your exams and then you can come and do your work'. So yeah, that helped. So I would always say, go to a company or go to an organization where your vibe matches, where your thinking matches, and yeah, you're like a big group of friends.
Any interesting college clubs that you were a part of?
I went to a college in Chennai and we didn't have any clubs per se, but I always took the initiative to make a project or in talking to juniors. I was a part of NSS and I've worked at helping people. I think that's where the need to help comes from. I used to love talking to my juniors, helping them with projects, and making small events happen just within our department or something. But, officially I was not a part of any club, I would say.
What excites you about the Web3 space?
The one thing that excites me about Web3 Space, and I've said it a lot of times, being a dev, it's always community. I just love how supportive everyone is. But as a developer, it's the security part of the blockchain and it's the data that we talk about, that data is ours and it's not just given to any company or any organization, and how we take care of that, how transparent it is. I love that part about it.
I also love how the community supports learning and meeting new people, and seeing how everyone is ready to help others. So yeah, that's the two things. One is the absolute basic tech and how it's built on decentralization, its security, and transparency, and the other part is the community,
Where are you currently working?
I started being active on Twitter during the lockdown because I was not getting very much human interaction and I believe everyone will agree with that. So I started going on Twitter and I started posting random stuff, and then I saw some tweets, where people were talking about the projects they were making. So I was like, okay. this is cool. Even I can post about it. I had made some projects, at that time it was just like some basic projects. It got good traction. So I felt like, okay, like people are admiring, so I should like that push I got from the community at that time.
So I started working on Twitter, learning in public basically, and then building in public. And as soon as that started, I started posting about it. First I was posting about Web development. Then I was working on this Python project for my college, you know, a major project at the end of the final semester. So I posted about that as well.
And after that, I started posting about Web3 projects. I started posting everything and I started writing articles as well. So, looking at one of my articles, I got a DM from the CEO and co-founder of Valist, that's Alec, and he texted me saying 'Hey, we love your work and we have this open position. Would you be interested?'
I was skeptical at first. I was like, is this possible? Like, do you get jobs in DMs? So, but I was like, okay, what's the harm in just like jumping on a call and talking about it, and we had a call. It was super fun. It was just like us vibing on the text stack on what we liked, and what we don't like, and it was the best.
And then I had a call with the team and they were super amazing as well. So yeah, that's how I ended up at Valist.
What has your hackathon experience been like?
I did participate in a few hackathons, one of which was the Smart India Hackathon. It was like a push from college because they always like to promote government hackathons and that kind of stuff. That was the first hackathon I did in my second year, I guess. So I was like, okay, let's just give it a try. And I was able to clear the first two rounds of it - the college round and the round after.
But yeah, on the national level, I just knew that the idea wasn't that great and I didn't even know, how to execute it at that moment. But yeah, I did participate and it was really fun. And then in Covid times when I was in my third and fourth year, I did some Devfolio hackathons & some Chainlink hackathons as well.
Challenges you most often face at hackathons and in Web3 in general and how we overcome them.
I'm gonna say good ideas. I'm not saying all ideas are bad or anything, every idea is great, but since Web 3 has kind of gotten a reputation that people just take a Web2 protocol and just make a Web 3 version of it, right? Like, everything doesn't need a wallet. And I kind of agree like some things are just better left untouched. We don't have to put in FDS or put wallets or put any sign-in of Ethereum to everything. So I think about ideas around a protocol that already exists or an app that already exists. I would say that's the one thing people need to come up with better ideas or better implementation of blockchains in applications that already exist.
What chain do you enjoy building on the most and what is the toughest one according to you?
My favourite chain right now has to be Polygon because of Zkm. And I am also excited to explore Cosmos. I'm looking forward to it, I haven't explored it yet, but I'm looking forward to exploring it. And about the toughest chain, as soon as I hear rust, I'm just like, Oh My God. No. Too much. Too much to get into my head right now.
As a developer relations director, what would your advice be for up-and-coming developers?
My advice is that don't be scared of this tech, like as a developer, director, or developer relations engineer in a Web 3 protocol. It's not anything out of the world. It is not going to destroy the world or take over the world. No, it's not. It's just another sort of technology.
It's just another tech, and we've just called it Web 3 because the name sounds very cool. It's nothing like a new realm of something that's opening. It's very easy to learn, and very easy to work with. So don't be intimidated by it. Just go in with a developer-like mindset and it's all easy.
And, as a developer, and director of developer relations, my advice to anyone who's into tech, I would say that feel free to ask questions. I feel that not many people like to ask questions for some reason. And, I know it can be intimidating. They don't wanna sound stupid and this & that, but I would just say like, no question is stupid and it's all gonna be great.
What is your dream job? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My dream job is to have absolutely no pressure or stress at my job. I would say I don't mind having any job, be it developer relations or development. I do want it in tech because that's the only thing I can do, I guess. But yeah, I would say like any job that doesn't make me stress out every single day, and I don't dread going to it, I'm happy with it. Also, I have a job like that right now, so I'm really happy. Hope it continues and stays the same.
In the next five years, I imagine myself working remotely, hanging out in a beautiful scenic place, having beverages, and just living life. I would say that's like the best thing.
Driven by her will to develop amazing projects, she goes ahead to make the most of his journey in the Web3 space. Vanshika's love for tech & community combined with her constant efforts to onboard the next generation of developers onto the ecosystem makes her story an incredibly inspiring tale.
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