How many times have you heard the words "virtual reality" in the last few years? In the last few months? It's a far cry more than you heard it a decade ago, or even five years ago. Virtual reality technology is one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world, and because of this, it's also one of the fastest growing career fields in the world. Universities are now offering more catered degree fields where XR (or extended reality) technologies are the sole focus of the degree, rather than a broader software development. In the coming years, virtual reality's market size is projected to grow to 84.09 billion USD, with more than a 40% CAGR during the forecast period. (Source
) With this kind of growth, there are hundreds of jobs to find, both in the software development phase and the practical application phase. Here are several virtual reality careers that have their hands in the proverbial virtual reality pot.
Careers in Virtual Reality Development
Training Development- Virtual reality training is becoming the most used and most effective form of training employees. Retail workers have the ability to deal with tricky customers in a simulation before handling them in a real-world scenario. Manufacturers cut down potential factory safety risks by training with VR. Virtual reality training developers work side by side with the company to build a virtual space with simulations, scenarios, technical skills, and onboarding procedures to ensure the most well-trained employees are made.
Gaming Development- Gaming has long since been a forerunner in virtual reality development. Almost as old as those creating virtual reality itself, are those creating virtual reality for gaming purposes. A gaming developer creates VR experiences for PC, consoles, and mobile platforms. As a gaming developer you'll need a deep understanding of coding, computers, and a degree in a field similar to computer science.
Front or Back End Developer- Front end and back-end developers work closely together to develop excellent web applications. While they work together, and you can be both a front and back-end developer (called full stack development) they involve very different things. Simply put, front end development focuses on what they client can see, and back-end development works on the server side of a web application. Back end makes sure that the tech is functional. If you're considering a career in development, full stack developers are highly sought after.
Graphics Designer- A graphics designer in VR development takes their ability to create excellent visual spaces and caters it to a 3D virtual space. This can be for training, gaming, retail, or construction, to name a few. Experience in graphic design and computer software is a good place to start if creating stunning virtual visuals is your goal.
Development Researcher- A developmental researcher looks at ongoing trends in relation to virtual reality and applies the information garnered from that research into whatever business they're supplying the information to. This could lead to better sales, reduced cost of advertising, reduced training times, and any number of beneficial informational tidbits to supply their business with. Ultimately, research and development in the XR space is all about finding solutions to problems.
Software Engineer- Entry level positions for software engineering require a degree in computer science or software engineering, and enable you to analyze, develop, and debug VR prototypes. Think of the Oculus Quest, or Microsoft's Hololens. Neither of them would have gotten far without the engineers that created, tested, fixed, tested again, and shared their designs.
Careers That Use Virtual Reality
Gaming- Yes, gaming was already on the list, but there are multiple ways that you could making gaming with VR a viable career. Virtual reality has been used in gaming for decades now. Over time, however, a person's capacity to earn a living playing games has changed. Not only are there persons whose job it is to play through games to find any glitchy parts, now through the use of streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube, gamers can earn a full time living off of the games they play. Using virtual reality, gamers offer a more immersive playthrough experience and can share that experience with the rest of the world (or those who chance to find their channel).
Fashion- Do you have a knack for fashion, good attention to detail, and a desire to work in the tech industry? Virtual reality is making its way into the fashion industry with virtual fashion shows, purchasing, stores and dressing rooms. Fashion events can take place (of course, by invitation only) wherein an attendee would be privy to an immersive event filmed previously with the 3D technology that would allow them to feel as if they attended in person. VR is also a good way for designers to determine a piece's functionality before sitting down to the sewing machine.
Healthcare- VR is redefining the way that the healthcare system operates. It creates a more streamlined way of teaching critical concepts from patient care to new surgical techniques. Virtual reality learning has a higher capacity to impart knowledge. Those who use VR show higher retention rates and faster learning than traditional methods of schooling. Having a well-trained doctor, nurse, or other medical staff is crucial to ensuring that things run smoothly. Emergency situations are greatly deescalated when virtual reality training is involved.
Manufacturing- Manufacturing currently uses virtual reality training (VRT) to ensure that factory workers are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of proper safety procedures. VRT also allows workers to study product production and helps them know exactly how to produce, fix items, and troubleshoot problems before they step out onto the floor. Major issues found in production are not actually due to equipment malfunction, but instead to improperly installed machinery. The nature of virtual reality would alleviate this issue and the costs associated with it.
Real Estate- Virtual reality in real estate has actually been around longer than you might think. The 3D virtual tours offered on some listings are a type of virtual reality that has helped brokers, agents, buyers and sellers with the finding and selling of the perfect home for a while now. VR makes it possible for buyers to see prospective homes in a more well depicted format than simple pictures can offer. The technology can also help with staging a room. Instead of hauling heavy furniture into a home for showings only to haul it back out again, agents can stage the space virtually with digital furniture.
Construction- Similar to real estate, construction is using virtual reality to offer a more realistic view of a proposed space. Instead of a virtual tour of a home or office space however, it allows users to see a 3D design of the space being constructed. It eliminates the need for hundreds of pages of paper blueprints and removes the scenario of building the space before realizing the design doesn't work in the actual zone. With QR codes set up around the work site, workers, developers, and others involved in the project can see a realistic view of the space before it's even built.
Are you interested in a career in virtual reality development? Have you realized the many benefits of VR technology in training, education, or healthcare? Of all benefits, the most important one is that it's a growing industry. Where there was once one, there are now plenty, and your voice could be one that changes the direction of a whole field of work. Virtual reality is set to grow at a terrifically fast rate, and there is no end to the possibilities you can find, or the satisfaction that can come from a career involved with virtual reality development.