[Discussion] Pathways for New Designers

Link to original post in our Community Hub

A few days ago I came across a tweet inviting UX managers to share any open positions as a reply to the thread in order to gain exposure, and hopefully matchmake with some of the 110k UX followers.

I immediately replied saying that while I wasn’t hiring myself, there are a TON of opportunities available in Web 3.0, and the Near Ecosystem in particular, and inviting people to follow or join Silicon Craftsmen to explore potential pathways for them.

I am thrilled by the number of DMs I started to receive from ambitious designers, in particular younger designers that may not have a lot of experience but are eager to learn. I sent my Calendly link to all of them and have several introductory calls with them next week.

At Silicon one of our explicit objectives is to attract new talent to Near. We strongly believe in growing a strong base of Product and Design people who are familiar and passionate about Near and contribute to all the projects building on Near.

Right now I am happy to do things that don’t scale (1-1 meetings), but I’d like to open this discussion to the community to explore the following ideas and challenges:

  1. Onboarding process for new talent.
  • Idea: create a workshop with Near Core and Product/Design team members to present the Zero to Hero for Product/Designers (What is Web 3.0? Opportunities and Challenges? What is Near? Etc.)
  • Workshop to be organised and hosted by Silicon, digging into the expertise from those that are actually working as Product/Design
  • Workshop to be recorded; an asset that should become the ‘top-of-the-funnel’ go-to for new talent (although we should aim to have regular onboarding events). The contents of the workshop can also be adapted into written content, etc
  1. Greater visibility into existing opportunities in the ecosystem.
  • Job Boards (We currently share the job and paid opportunities we come across the ecosystem in our Community Hub).
  • Grants and Bounties. Visibility into all the ‘alternative’ forms of making proposals and monetising their work.
  • Hackathons. We are considering entering the next Hackathon as a Challenge Partner and creating a stream just for Product/Designers.
  1. Pathways for new and existing community members.

  2. What can we do to actively engage out talent, encouraging and enable them to constantly grow and up -skill to help us address the growing needs of the ecosystem?

    1. Education: could there be an equivalent to the ‘Near Certified Developers Course’ but for Product/Design people?
    2. Experience: create an apprenticeship model where we can match Product/Designers with projects in the Near ecosystem (that may not be actively hiring) just so they can get their hands dirty and learn from the inside. Ideally, they would be paired within an experience Product/Design team, although they may be the only designer having to rise up to the occasion. Due to the latter, we are looking at having strong mentorship models, active community collaboration.
    3. Near Grants to help cover the cost of these apprenticeships. Attracting, nurturing and retaining top talent can be expensive and we don’t want money to be a limiting factor for projects as they develop their products. We believe the funds spend on this kind of initiatives would yield many multiples in return in value to the ecosystem by both fast-tracking the development of better products AND growing our talent pool in an already competitive market.

I’m really looking forward to hearing feedback on these ideas and proposals from everyone; people in a position to help with the Onboarding workshop, people currently hiring (and potentially struggling), people new to the ecosystem looking to grow and opportunities, etc.


Talent education, apprenticeships and fellowships which bring high quality people into the ecosystem are certainly grant-fundable. I think the key to all of this is getting these people building and building publicly, which is typically the domain of a DAO. Honestly, once there is a group of people collaborating publicly and shipping really cool looking stuff, it generates its own energy. The trick is leading that wave and setting up the right people to help propagate it. Getting started with an Astro DAO (https://astrodao.com/) and getting it funded with a grant (near.org/grants) is a great first step.