Hello Sylva! Please tell me about yourself
Hi, my name is Sylva Elendu. I am a mobile engineer at ConsenSys (MetaMask) working remotely from Abuja, Nigeria. Prior to MetaMask, I was at Andela (Nigeria), working briefly on a podcasting product in the US, and in 2020, building an emergency reporting service.
Outside of work, I love to watch movies and take long walks. I also enjoy traveling and have visited a couple of African countries
Interesting. What has your experience been like at ConsenSys?
ConsenSys is an awesome place to work. It’s pretty diverse and the company culture is great. There are opportunities to learn, grow, and add value to the community. They’re involved in a number of Web3 community projects.
I work on MetaMask. This is my eighth month and there's still so much to experience.
We are always hiring, location isn't a barrier.
Wow. 8 months there already. That's cool
Yep, it doesn't feel like 8 months though. It feels a bit longer given how much I have learned. You know what they say about crypto years. It's a bit faster. Haha
Yeah! So how did you get started in the web3 space?
My first experience with Web3 was holding crypto as a store of value. I first heard of bitcoin in 2015 and got some, but I sold most of it within weeks because I needed the money back then. In 2019, I got in again, but this time a bit slowly.
I wasn't involved in web3 as a developer until 2021 when I began to learn and question the technology. By the end of the year, I had applied and gotten accepted to work with the MetaMask team.
I am not an OG because I joined the space late, but it's still day one.
Sounds like it was easy to get the role with the MetaMask team. Is there any story there?
It wasn't easy but at the same time it wasn't unnecessarily difficult. I read through the job requirements while applying, and even though I met most, I still wasn't sure I would get a mail because I mean…it's MetaMask.
I like to think I was able to convince the hiring manager as well as the team that I had what it takes to work with them. I had experience beyond the tech stack. I also had product experience from building an emergency service in 2020 which grew from a pet project to 5,000 users and over 17,000 emergencies reported.
Wow. I guess this is one of those situations where your previous experience prepares you for the new and awesome one ahead right?
Ideally, you want to work at a place where you learn and become better. Not just for career growth, but also because it’s a good feeling knowing you can deliver on your tasks.
Also, with remote work, companies will lean toward you if you are good at communicating. I learned this from Andela. I have been remote since 2019, so I knew those basics.
Please tell me, how is mobile engineering in web3 different from web2?
Generally, client-end apps behave differently in web3. The major being how data is stored, retrieved, and managed. Remember, this data resides on a blockchain. For mobile, especially in the decentralised space, the engineer has to really prioritise security. I mean if you think about it, private data (keys and SRP) is stored on the user's device and not in some centralised space. This changes how a developer thinks about security and storage.
The space is still new, so we are still figuring it all out and improving the user experience. There's definitely a learning curve for users.
With this difference in mind, how exactly did you make the transition to building apps for the web3 space? Did you have to take a course, read articles, or try out projects?
I took a Udemy course on building on Ethereum. I also read a truckload of articles and documentation. I still do this today, although most of my learning is a bit niched and I like it this way.
There's so much happening in the space and it is easy to get lost starting out. I also did a bunch of really small projects with BuildSpace. The learning never really stops I guess.
Please can you share a link to the course?
I am pretty sure there are other great resources out there, but this is really beginner friendly.
Thanks for sharing Sylva.
So what advice would you give mobile engineers who are looking to get into the web3 space?
I think it's the same old advice we get starting out. Learn the fundamentals. It makes it easier as the workload increases and the expectations go high.
There's definitely value in knowing the platform language as well. Once this is achieved, the next step is to learn how transactions on blockchain work. The concept of DeFi.
Joining communities helps a lot. Building a portfolio that communicates your level of expertise helps. And finally, a bit of luck too. 😀
Funny that you should include luck there 😅
Yes. If you think about it, chances are there are people with more experience who are applying for the same role. But really luck can do its magic if you know your onion.
True! You mentioned that you've been working remotely since 2019. What does a typical day of working remotely look like for you?
I think the core of remote work is flexibility. Some companies might require the employees to work within their timezone. Some are okay with the employee working in their individual timezone. They both have their pros and cons.
For the former, the pro is having the team sync easily without thinking of timezone differences. For the latter, the pro is having employees in an earlier different timezone covering for employees at a much later timezone which is great.
I have worked with both and I prefer a blend of the two. Flexibility!
For my current workplace, I start my day at 9:30 am and work through to 6 pm. My teammates know I am also available until 8 pm (my time) to help out in any way. I take lots of breaks in between. The Pomodoro technique helps prevent fatigue and retain focus. This year, I stopped myself from doing any work during the weekends.
Oh nice, you use the Pomodoro technique.
Oh yes, I do. It can be overwhelming and tiring without it.
Interestingly, even after these years of working from home, I still don't have a routine. I just have a pattern but it's not regimented. I like the flexibility of working on my time. It can be at 2am or at 9pm. If I am in the zone, I stay there.
That's interesting. Some people are of the opinion that having a routine is best for productivity
This works, but it can also feel robotic so I leave a lot of flexibility for when I need to tap into it and use it. I can sometimes struggle to get into focus and so when I do, the last thing I want is to get out of focus because of a routine. So yeah, a bit of both. Flexibility I think. Haha
Yeah. Definitely a mix of both. Since you’ve stopped working on weekends, what do you spend your weekends doing?
My weekends are super chill. That's when I do all of the hangouts, and movies. I am still mostly an introvert but I’m open to adventures. I am opening myself to being outdoor a bit more. Excited about that.
Glad to hear you’re excited about it. What's your plan for the future?
I think the future at this time is pretty endless, at least for the next five years. There's so much happening within the web3 space and I want to be a part of it and add value on a global scale. My major limitation now is the knowledge gaps. There's a lot to know and a lot to be done. So I'll most likely be here for some time.
Awesome! Thank you for your time, Sylva! How can people follow/reach you?
Thanks, Mary for making this happen. My Twitter and LinkedIn are pretty quiet but I respond. Haha.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/sylvaelendu and
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sylvaelendu/