How to get a job as a VR Developer
- 27th March 2018
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Technology
VR (Virtual Reality) is undoubtedly a buzzword at present and it is only a matter of time before this new and vastly enhanced technology finds its way into many different aspects of our lives. This leads us to figure out how to get a job as a VR Developer.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are still considered to be in their early days, however, this makes it the ideal time to learn how to create and develop software and content for these budding new technologies. Although the main application of VR is currently focused on the gaming sector, it has already filtered through to other areas such as healthcare and education.
The application of VR in healthcare has enabled a tremendous leap in the ways in which healthcare is likely to improve in the coming years. Human simulation software provides a safe and risk-free system to train medical personnel in an interactive environment, virtual reality diagnostics can prevent the need for invasive procedures and assist doctors to identify the cause of the problem and virtual robotic surgery greatly reduces the time and risk of complications associated with traditional surgery by allowing a human surgeon to control a robotic device.
Within the entertainment world, VR has changed the face of gameplay significantly and this appears set to be the future of gaming across all platforms.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Everything that we know of the world comes directly from our own senses and perception systems. Sensory inputs are fed into our brains, which then process this information to make sense of it. Our senses enable a rich flow of information from the environment to our minds and this creates our reality.
If we consider that our complete experience of reality is a combination of sensory information and the ability of our brains to decipher this information, we can clearly see that presenting our senses with created information will allow our perception of reality to be altered.
When we are presented with a version of reality that has been specifically created, our senses will process it as though it were any other sensory information. This would then lead us to perceive this created world as real; which is then referred to as Virtual Reality.
What is the difference between VR and AR?
VR and AR are often spoken of as though they are interchangeable. This, however, is not true as there is a distinct difference between the two.
Virtual Reality involves creating an immersive virtual world which, for all intent and purposes, replaces the real world. An example of this would be a video game that places the player in a completely fictional world, such as Skyrim VR.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality simply adds layers of data to the real, instead of replacing it entirely. This can been seen in instances where something is added to the real world, where it is not actually present. A clear example of this can be found in games such as Pokémon Go, which place fictional objects in the real world for the player to interact with.
It is also possible to combine these two concepts and when this is done it is known as mixed reality and allows you to interact with both the virtual and physical environments. Although there is a distinct difference between VR and AR, the development standpoint is very similar and proficiency in either of these requires many of the same skills and knowledge sets.
How to get a job as a VR Developer
When considering how to get a job as a VR Developer, there is no simple “one size fits all” approach as VR development depends greatly on the platform that the VR app will be built on.
This being said, there are certain skills, knowledge and characteristics that will help you in pursuing how to get a job as a VR Developer, such as cross-training, continuous skills development and keeping your finger on the pulse of emerging technologies.
VR development companies want skilled individuals with a strong passion for technology and an innovative approach to problem-solving. Cross-training is a great way to prepare for a career in VR development as it ensures that you gain beneficial skills in multiple areas such as 3D artistry, animation, coding/programming languages such as C# and C++.
As with most IT careers, experience is always seen as an advantage over the other candidates. If you do not have work experience in VR development, it will be beneficial to create a portfolio to demonstrate your skills and ability. This can even be done by building a VR app whilst studying the various components that will enable you to do so.
It is also useful to ask for advice from experienced professionals, join VR community forums and stay up to date on the latest VR trends, software and hardware. Time can also be spent researching the criteria listed in job adverts as this will provide great insight into what skills and knowledge are required by the companies who are hiring.
It is important to understand that VR development is more difficult to get into without any knowledge of game production, so it is recommended that you spend time getting to know the basics of this field and how this is then applied to VR development.
There are two main engines that support VR development – namely, Unity and Unreal and these are equally popular and important when planning your career path to VR development. Unreal is seen as more suitable for those who are starting out as it provides a flexible development engine that enables VR developers to use as much, or as little, code as they wish. Unity requires a more advanced level of coding ability, but enables a higher level of creative control over the applications being developed.
Although specific qualifications and certifications are not always required, it is essential to have at least a base knowledge of coding or some experience in game development if you are looking to pursue a career in VR development and create professional VR applications.