How to Get a Career in Virtual Reality (VR)

Some people are of the opinion that virtual reality technology has a higher potential to change our lives, more than smartphones. What started as a technology for gaming companies, virtual reality is growing rapidly and is spreading into software, wearable, education, healthcare, retail and elsewhere. Virtual and augmented reality has made a commending contribution to produce some of the most fascinating advancements in modern technology.

Virtual reality is poised to immerse users in flawless, virtual environments. Products like Oculus Rift, HTC, Vive, and Sony’s Project Morpheus have augmented virtual reality to find a place in the consumer household, The massive market potential is steering companies to jump on the Virtual Reality scene and companies like Sony are making forays in the gaming market with their new products based on virtual reality.

vr headset

Virtual Reality Career Path

Virtual reality market is soaring and is expected to reach $215 billion by 2021, as per the recent study. Demand for skilled virtual reality professionals are on the rise, as more and more technologies make it out of the research and development departments and enter the market place.

Although development dominates the virtual reality market, there are many roles in the virtual reality business which requires a huge workforce. Developers are required to collaborate with software designers, 3D artists, design architects, and engineers to plan and create hardware on which the virtual or augmented reality might run. Starting a career in virtual reality is almost identical to being a software developer or software engineer. You need to get a hang of certain computer programming languages related to this industry, and also you need to have a basic understanding of UX design and the hardware where the application will run. Positions for which virtual reality professionals are being hired are:

  • Content producer
  • Software engineer
  • AR and VR content writers
  • Product managers
  • Quality assurance
  • UI and UX designers

Although the gaming industry is the main driving force behind the Virtual reality environment, it is being explored for other applications as well. Industries like architecture, engineering, and construction are also using VR for 3D presentations while medical, military and education sectors are trying to make the use of VR to do simulations and safeties training to help people get accustomed to remote places or inhabitable environments.

Air force VR

In fact, the air force uses virtual reality as a part of their training curriculum. The most commonly used system is the flight simulator which is designed to impart training related to flying skills within a safe environment. Companies like Ghost Productions are using virtual reality to produce 3D medical animation to explain surgical procedures and pharmaceutical products, and computer rendered medical illustrations to help companies involved in making surgical devices, market their devices.

Skill Set for Virtual Reality (VR) Job

Demand for candidates with VR knowledge is growing and in years to come there will be more and more new openings. Knowing this you might be wondering how and where you can enter the virtual reality development market. If you are interested in becoming a part of this growing industry you need to gain some experience in designing and developing with 3D modeling software. Programming languages like  C/C++, Java, Python and game development practices are important for virtual reality jobs.

VR coding

You also will require knowledge about data structures and system design, cloud computing and hardware engineering (in case you are interested in creating hardware like virtual headsets), mobile application development and support. Knowledge of DevOps is also equally important to help you in your career with virtual reality. It depends on the career and course path that you might choose or like to pursue. A career in developing VR software will, for instance, be different than that of a hardware engineer who wishes to develop VR headsets and devices, so his educational path will be remarkably different.

Much of the VR hardware technology is based on PC and cell phone technologies. Newer skill sets like optics which are critical to stunning visualization are currently in demand. Since the entire Virtual reality market is evolving and undergoing rapid changes, you need to choose which career path suits you the best and accordingly you have to take up the courses. Whatever career path you might choose, a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science or related discipline is usually required along with some years of professional experience.

How much can virtual reality professionals earn each year?

Several sources have mentioned that the average starting salary for virtual reality professionals can range from $75,000 to $80,000 annually, while the average salaries for more experienced professionals can hover around $200,000. A break up of salaries by some of the most noted job portals shows a developer’s job can attract average annual salaries around $91,865; mobile developers are paid slightly higher and can earn around $107,000, and solution engineers can expect annual salaries around $108,000.

virtual reality programming

Who is hiring in VR Field?

Google, Facebook, Snapchat, NVIDIA, Sony,  and HTC are some of the top virtual and augmented reality players in the market. You can search Linkedin which provides a lot of information related to virtual reality jobs. Portals like, Dice, also provides necessary information related to virtual reality jobs. A lot of qualified candidates are currently required across the United States, and some of the top-notch companies in the US are hiring tech workers in droves. The worldwide spread of VR is obviously concentrated within North America and Europe with both representing 70% of the revenue share. This single report highlights the huge potential of VR and the number of openings it can generate.

Virtual reality jobs involve many job roles like programming, hardware, algorithms, game development, and also non-technical ones like business development, marketing operations, etc. VR technology is one of the fastest growing industry and highly paid jobs are available in the market.

virtual reality programming

Although most of the US job positions are located in California or on the East Coast, you should not only assume to work for the large corporation. Many small companies are making inroads into the virtual reality industry where you can find a lot of job openings. You can also start your career working as an apprentice in an established company to get some direct experience. This will allow you to get your name on a project with an established company and get trained by skilled mentors.

By now you might have understood what it takes to earn a spot in the virtual reality development and what you need to get there. Be dedicated and continue to learn and grow and you should be there in no time.

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Robyn Matthews started writing about technology when she was far too young and hasn't stopped. She spends most of his time obsessing over computer software and hardware, and loves talking about herself in third person.