Let’s face it, reality is boring. And sometimes, we do feel the need to transcend to an alternate reality, don’t we? To leave our schools, colleges and work behind and dive into a completely different world with its own rules. Well, that’s no longer a farfetched dream. For the last few years, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology has become much more than just a concept in the labs.
It is evident that VR and AR development are serious career choices right now, with the technology just beginning to grow in our country. And as with any emerging field, there is a dearth of information regarding how exactly should one approach this. Like any other field, this does require a specific skillset, has a specific demand and knowing all of this will only increase one’s chances of actually making it big in this industry.
Aspiring to become a VR or AR developer is commendable, but not enough to even get started down that road. Remember, when some of us as kids used to say that we want to become scientists? We were never specific. It was always just scientists, not chemists, physicists, biologist etc. This is not that different, except for the fact that this decision for VR and AR needs to be taken from the get go.
Why is it so? Because this field consists of work that is extremely diverse, ranging from story creation to audio expertise to graphics and 3D design and even more. We are over that phase where work in VR and AR solely required technological expertise. Now a fair share of creativity is also involved. With the rise of these technologies more as experiential mediums, students can choose from both technical roles that involve programming, hardware, algorithms and game development, as well as non-technical roles in the field of business, management, marketing and operations.
Eligibility & Course Criteria:
Ultimately, you need a software development and technical background if you want to succeed. So, if you’re going to start somewhere, start with that. Choosing a computer science major at most universities or community colleges will set you on the right path, at least initially. A Bachelor’s Degree in engineering, computer science or a related discipline is usually required, along with at least five years of professional experience.
If your goal is to work in the content creation or technology side, then you likely need a more technical degree such as engineering, design (to understand spatial processing, for example) or audio. Applied mathematics is also important. If you’re interested in the software side of the virtual reality industry, you’ll need experience working with 3D modeling and design software, integrated development environments and programming languages such as C or C++, as well as graphics programming and even game development practices.
If you’re more interested in the hardware side of things — like building new platforms, headsets or devices — you’ll need to become familiar with hardware engineering and modern electronics. This requires knowledge and experience with computer and mobile device hardware engineering. Basic IT or information technology knowledge and skills may also help you make an impact in the industry.
VR and AR technologies are considered bleeding-edge and will likely be this way for some time. That means VR development and application companies are looking for individuals that are passionate about the platform but not afraid to take risks. You’ll need to be bold if you want to stand out, and that means staying informed about the latest trends in the industry. If you want to hook an interview or land an opportunity at one of the bigger companies in the business, you need to hone a skill that’s high in demand.
Some of the most valued skills in software development, including VR, are cross-training with various platforms and languages, continuous skill development and innovative problem-solving.
Courses to pursue:
- Software Industry Foundations
- Software Engineering and Design
- Data Structures and System Design
- Software Development Fundamentals
- Various Programming Language Courses: Python, Java, C, C++ and more
- Cloud Computing and Hardware Engineering
- IT Fundamentals for Business
- Introduction to DevOps
- Mobile and Software Application Development
(NOTE: You won’t necessarily need to complete or pursue all of the courses listed above. It depends on the career and course path you choose and where you would like to end up)
- 3D Artist – Content Coordinator
- Senior Technical Artist
- 3D Artist
- VR-AR Project Manager
- Account Manager
- Marketing Concept Artist
- Social Media Specialist
- Web Developer
- Unity Developer
- Software Engineer
- Interaction Designer
- Frontend/Backend developer
- Design technologist
- Graphic Designer
- VR Game designers
- Oculus developers
- VR/AR programmers
- Augmented reality app designers
- FX technical artists
- Gameplay engineers
The compensation varies on the type of work as state below:
- If you are into gaming, around $75,000-$80,000 per annum.
- If medical domain, the salary is around $100,000 per annum.
- If it is Financial/data visualisation, the salary is $100,000 per annum.
- If it is Architectural rendering, the salary is $100,000 per annum.
(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We facilitate online admissions and recruitment services for schools, offer career advice and counselling services for students.)