Hello Mayowa! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. Please tell me about yourself?
I'm Mayowa Tudonu, a blockchain engineer at Shard Labs where we build protocols for top blockchain companies. I studied computer engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated in 2018. I'm from Ogun State, Nigeria.
Thanks, Mayowa! I’ve been a fan since you tweeted that you joined Buycoins in 2019. Did you get into blockchain development accidentally?
Thanks! Getting into blockchain wasn't accidental. In my final year at university, I was curious about it so I joined a classmate at a blockchain bootcamp that he organised. That's when I got really interested. After that, I took the Blockchain Developer Bootcamp course at Consensys Academy and the rest is history.
That curiosity seems to have paid off! Was your first blockchain role at Interswitch?
Yes. I was in the research and development team. We were experimenting with blockchain technology for cross-border transactions, playing around with Ethereum, Hyperledger, etc. We eventually settled on Corda. It's a private blockchain with a Java-Virtual-Machine-based smart virtual machine, and its smart contracts can be written in any JVM language like Kotlin or Java. It was also somewhat regulatory and compliance-friendly. Interswitch is at the forefront of fintech in Nigeria, so they needed to meet as many regulatory and compliance requirements as necessary.
Interesting! That must have been really exciting work. How did you land the role?
I sent a DM to the engineering manager of the R&D team then to ask if there was an opportunity to join the team. He replied and I went for the interview. I got the offer and joined.
How will you advise someone seeking an entry-level blockchain engineering role to approach it now?
Today, I'd say there are more avenues to seek your first role compared to 2018. You can start by seeking out internships, contributing to open source projects, writing articles, applying on job boards, reaching out to recruiters, solving bounties on platforms like Gitcoin, or joining Stack Shift's Reverse Demo days. However, the pool of talents has increased today, therefore there's more competition. Freshly trained web3 folks have to be a little more creative than back in 2018.
These are gems, thank you! After Interswitch, you then proceeded to Buycoins, Concourse and now Shard Labs...
Yeah. I actually founded a startup, WalletCloud, during that time as well. I also did a short stint at Composable Finance before moving to Shard Labs. I'm very intentional about where I work and what I do. I always try to optimise for where I can do core blockchain engineering work and where there's good work culture. I'm currently enjoying that at Shard Labs.
How did the idea of WalletCloud form? And how has building it been?
WalletCloud is an offshoot of some infrastructure I built previously. I noticed how expensive and scarce blockchain wallet infrastructure is, and how tough it can be to build a blockchain wallet into your application. So I decided to build WalletCloud — A blockchain wallet API service provider. Building WalletCloud was exhilarating. I'd be up all night bringing APIs to life and I'd feel so excited about it. I enjoyed thinking about product pipelines, features, etc. It's fun!
Glad to hear you're having fun while building! What does your typical day look like as a remote worker?
I start out by checking my calendar for the meetings I have. This helps me plan my day. I usually keep a mental to-do list because I limit myself to doing very few things per day so there's no need to write that down 😂. I think the smaller the activities you have to engage in, the more focused and productive you become.
Remote work can sometimes be lonely, sitting at a desk all day. What do you do for fun?
I play Fifa, go out to games nights, and hang out with my friends. I really like to visit my friends.
What's next for you? Do you want to continue building protocols, or you at some point will be focused on building a startup?
For now, I think I want to spend more time building protocols. I enjoy doing that a lot.
What's the best way for people to keep in touch with you?
Great. Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate taking the time to share your story and some wisdom for upcoming engineers.
You're welcome, Olumide, anytime.