5 Things You Need To Successfully Complete the Academy

What does it take to successfully Complete the Polkadot Blockchain Academy?
Interview with Ankan

As a part of our series about “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Complete the Academy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ankan.

Ankan is currently working as a rust developer for the frame team at Parity. Before this, he worked with backend systems (Web2) for around 9 years. Ankan is a successful graduate of the Polkadot Blockchain Academy.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, we would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you please give us your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Probably this “not young enough to know everything”. I am fond of it because it does not matter what your current beliefs are, a few years down the line you might look back and realise “how much you didn’t know at that point”. And a recognition that all your present decisions will feel naive to your future self. And that’s perfectly okay.

Can you tell us the story of what led you to the blockchain world? What were you doing before the Academy?

I have followed/dabbled with blockchain a bit on and off over the years without getting really deep into it. I remember coming across a young project Joystream which seemed very sophisticated and I was very impressed with their on-chain forum and governance. Digging deeper, I realised they were built with Substrate. The forkless upgrades, on-chain governance, modularity of substrate and canary network were some of the ideas that greatly pulled me into the Polkadot/Substrate rabbit hole. This was 2021.

What in your opinion are the main blocker(s) that hinder people/make them hesitant to enter the blockchain world?

As a developer, Blockchain is a very different paradigm of problem space to wrap your head around. And with so much noise and money involved, it can be difficult for someone completely new to the blockchain world to fairly evaluate/differentiate between a genuine project and a borderline scam.

Moreover, while having a lot of potential, blockchain is still in its infancy and has a lot to prove in terms of solving real world problems to appeal to the masses.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us which Polkadot Blockchain Academy cohort did you participate in?

I was part of the first Academy cohort in Cambridge in summer 2022.

What was the highlight/most memorable aspect of the Academy?

Although it’s called Polkadot Academy, I really liked that the first two weeks were just basics of blockchain (cryptography and game theory) and had nothing to do with Polkadot or Substrate. In fact, we were given mid term assignments to research and evaluate other blockchain projects such as Cosmos, Arbitrum, Cardano, Near and others before we even looked at Polkadot.

What, in your opinion, are the 5 things that one needs to successfully complete the Academy?

  • Focus: It’s a lot of content to fit into a month to learn. If it’s possible, I would recommend taking a break from your work and just focus full time on the academy.
  • Ask questions: It is important to clarify your doubts before moving forward. If you do not feel comfortable to ask questions in the class, reach out to your TAs or your classmates. Sometimes, even for things you almost understand, you have to say it out loud three times before it really makes sense.
  • Take rest: One month of intense classes and all the networking can become exhausting. If you need it, take an evening or a Saturday off and do something relaxing. It’s important to recharge.
  • Network: You will meet some of the smartest and most passionate people in the industry in your teachers and classmates. Talk to them about their experiences, brainstorm on how you can make a difference.
  • Enjoy: Don’t stress too much about the final assignments and the interviews. At the end of the day, it’s important to have fun while learning and building. The academy is just a start to your Web3 journey. And even if you don’t see your future in Polkadot/Blockchain, there are a lot of ideas and knowledge you will take away from the academy.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.