Frederick van Staden

Prioritize learning time and treat it as an important part of your routine

Lanre Adeoye
3 min read
Remote Religion is a series which shines a spotlight on the life of a remote tech worker in Africa. We explore the promise and perils of remote work and how to navigate career transition.
In this edition of Remote Religion, we spoke with Frederick Van Staden, VP of engineering at Kandua - South Africa's largest home services marketplace. We talk about the steps he is taking towards learning web3 technology. He also shares tips about how he dedicates time to learning, given his busy schedule.

Excited to speak to you Frederick! Please tell me about yourself.

Thank you, Lanre. My name is Frederick van Staden, and I am a software engineer and team leader with over 10 years of experience. Currently, I serve as the VP of engineering at Kandua, South Africa's largest home services marketplace. In my free time, I enjoy exploring new technologies, such as web3 and 3D printing, and I run a side hustle at where I create custom concrete moulds. I live in Pretoria with my wife Clara and our son.

How did you get started in software engineering?

I have been fascinated by computers and technology since I was a child. My father, who was a computer technician early in his career, always had old computers and parts around the house, which I loved to play with and explore. When I was about 10 years old, a friend's older brother introduced me to programming and showed me a chatbot he had created with Turbo Pascal.

I was immediately captivated by the possibilities of coding and knew that this was something I wanted to pursue. That experience, and the guidance of my friend's brother, have had a profound impact on my career and my life.

Why did you decide to get into the web3 space?

I became interested in web3 technology when my wife started working at Snowfork. I wanted to learn more about what she was doing and decided to dive deeper into the field myself. I believe that the most effective way to learn and truly understand something is to fully immerse yourself in it. This is what I have tried to do by building tutorial applications and joining the Stack Shift dWeb fellowship.

What steps did you take towards learning web3 tech?

The internet can be a vast and overwhelming place, especially when it comes to learning new technical skills. One way to make it more manageable is to start with a well-rated online course on a platform like Udemy or Pluralsight. That's what I did when I wanted to learn about Ethereum and Solidity.

I followed the course step by step, but also experimented and tried to build on what I was learning. For example, the course included a tutorial on building a smart contract deployment pipeline using Node.js and web3.js, so I decided to try creating the same capabilities using Go and Geth. This allowed me to learn the fundamentals and then apply them in a new way.

Sounds interesting. Is there anything that you could have done differently?

Given that I am more interested in backend and protocol development, I could have followed the same recipe. Instead, I’m learning about building on the Polkadot chain using Rust and Substrate.

Good thing that you discovered this so quickly. What tips do you have for people that want to learn new skills but have a busy schedule, like yourself?

Finding time to learn and develop new skills can be challenging, especially if you have a busy life and a family to take care of. One strategy that works for me is carving out dedicated blocks of time for learning. I make sure that these times are free of distractions like social media and other chores.

It can also be helpful to involve your partner and discuss ways to balance responsibilities at home. This will ensure that you have the time and support you need to focus on learning. Remember, investing in your own development is not only beneficial for your career, but also for your personal growth and well-being. So, make sure to prioritize learning time and treat it as an equally vital part of your routine.

What’s next for you?

I’d love to get more involved in a project that could use my particular set of skills where I can contribute and learn more about Rust and Substrate at the same time.

This has been insightful! Thank you so much for speaking with me. How can people find you?

Thank you for having me Lanre. I’m most active on LinkedIn here. I lurk on Twitter here.

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