Whenever we hear the term metaverse, our minds immediately turn to Hollywood. From early depictions of digital space in Tron, to the ultra-realistic digital world of The Matrix, to the more relatable gaming world of Ready Player One, the metaverse always appears to be a world reserved for movie makers and gamers.
Yet, so many of us already live and work there. Social media platforms, 3D online games, online shopping and even online casino games in both augmented and virtual reality are all instances of the metaverse in which real people work and earn a living.
Let’s find out more about what it is and the kinds of jobs you’ll find in the metaverse.
What Is the Metaverse?
The term metaverse was first introduced in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash and has ever since been used to describe the totality of virtual and augmented reality.
In the metaverse, you can do all sorts of things, including play games, socialize with people, buy and sell things and even learn. By this definition, we could pretty much call every online platform we use a part of the metaverse.
However, the key differentiator is that, strictly speaking, the metaverse is a 3D world in which you can interact with others through avatars or other digital representations of yourself.
The metaverse is also not understood as a single platform or technology, but more as a network of different virtual worlds which are all connected. The idea is that it’s supposed to be a really immersive experience that should make you feel as if you’re actually in the virtual world, rather than just looking at it on a screen.
What Job Opportunities Are There in the Metaverse?
We are still a long way from the huge parallel digital reality in which people can put on a bodysuit and headset for full immersion. That said, we’re well on our way to building it. Companies like Meta (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and games including Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft have already created new career paths in pursuit of this Xanadu.
Today, most job opportunities are geared towards building virtual reality platforms rather than operating inside them. But this is expected to change as the metaverses connect and mature. Here are some job opportunities that will give you a sense of how to get a job in the metaverse.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Programmers
A recent State of Software Engineers report revealed that jobs related to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are in high demand, with a 1,400% surge in 2019 alone.
By coding their own programs, testing prototypes and identifying and fixing software bugs, these engineers play a crucial role in developing the requisite software for the development of the metaverse.
In the coming years, companies will require thousands of software engineers with AR/VR skills to create the next computing platform, software and applications for the metaverse.
AR and VR software engineers earn between $135,000 and $150,000 per year.
To take advantage of opportunities in this growing industry, learning software development fundamentals is important. Given the fast-paced evolution of AR/VR technologies, you’d be well advised to keep up with developments in the tools, software development kits (SDKs) and metaverse technology stacks.
As the number of metaverse users continues to grow and demand for products and content increases, companies will require an even larger team of product managers to oversee the end-user experience, troubleshoot new products, promote new initiatives and lead product development with multiple teams of engineers, designers and product specialists.
This trend is already underway, with companies like Meta, Snap, Google and Oculus all advertising employment opportunities for various types of metaverse product managers. This highly influential position can greatly impact a company’s financial success.
Product managers earn between $123,000 and $176,000 per year.
Although being a product manager requires understanding certain technical aspects related to how things work creatively, you don’t necessarily have to know how to code. The best part is that this role offers developers a chance to demonstrate their non-technical skills and move into a management position.
The metaverse presents a great opportunity for game designers to expand their skill sets and reach new audiences. It was recently reported that there’s a shift towards having more artists than technologists involved in game development and this trend should continue as the metaverse grows.
Game designers will likely be the ones in charge of creating an immersive 3D experience that’ll keep players hooked. They’ll design, prototype and build the entire thing from scratch.
3D game designers earn between $78,000 and $120,000 per year.
3D designers require a wide range of technical, interpersonal and creative competencies. You’ll need to have a solid understanding of computer animation, 3D modeling, backgrounds, illustration, lighting and game interfaces, among other things. You will also need some basic programming skills and knowledge of popular gaming software programs like Unity, Blender, Maya and Unreal Engine.
The evolution of the metaverse offers exciting opportunities for story writers. Unlike today’s video game writers, story writers in the metaverse will play a more significant role. They’ll be responsible for crafting an immersive storyline that engages players in various genres, such as social, action, sports, simulation, puzzle, role-playing, education and training.
Game writers earn between $53,000 and $100,000 per year.
This job doesn’t necessarily require a college degree. A high school diploma, some creative writing experience and a love of gaming could be adequate.
As in the movies, players should feel as if they’re part of the game’s fictional world. That’s why story writers must have a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations and psychology. Effective storytelling requires the ability to move an audience and connect with them on an emotional level.
A basic understanding of game development, design and programming is useful and can help you craft better narratives for the metaverse.
Hardware Designers and Engineers
Experiencing the metaverse in 3D will also require the development of new cameras, headsets, sensors and wearables.
While some of these technologies already exist, a lot of work is needed to make them wireless, comfortable, lightweight and capable of communicating touch, emotions, smell, sound and the ambiance of the surrounding area.
According to Facebook Reality Labs, a hardware systems engineer plays a critical role in developing future consumer AR/VR/Wearable reality experiences. This includes designing, strategizing, building and testing prototypes.
VR and AR engineers earn between $108,000 and $200,000 per year.
A background in engineering (electrical, computer, mechanical or optical) or physics is a good place to start if you want to become a virtual reality hardware engineer.
You would also need a working knowledge of virtual reality concepts and tools such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software, degree of freedom (DoF), haptics, eye tracking, head tracking, field of view and a whole lot more.
Other required skills will include programming languages, data collection and analysis tools, AI, robotics, sensors or cameras, depending on the product you want to develop and how they are used.
Metaverse Jobs of the Future
Once the metaverse is established as a viable parallel world with its own social rules, legislation and economy, many of the jobs we have in reality will be transposed into the virtual one. Of course, given that they will exist in a virtual world, metaverse jobs will be remote. Here are a few jobs that may be here sooner than you might imagine.
Virtual World Designer/Developer
Just as in the real world, there will be a need for designers and developers who can create and maintain the virtual worlds within the metaverse. This job role may involve programming, 3D modeling and game development skills.
Avatar Stylist/Costume Designer
In the metaverse, people will likely want to customize their avatars to make them look unique and interesting. An avatar stylist or costume designer will create and sell virtual clothing, accessories and other cosmetic items for avatars.
Virtual Event Planner
As virtual events become more popular in the metaverse (Roblox and Minecraft come to mind,) there’ll be a need for event planners who can organize and manage these events. This could include virtual concerts, gaming tournaments and social gatherings.
Virtual Real Estate Agent
In the metaverse, virtual land and property will have value, just like real-world property. A virtual real estate agent will help clients buy and sell virtual land, buildings and other assets in the metaverse.
Virtual Advertising Specialist
With more people spending time in the metaverse, advertisers will have opportunities to reach new audiences. A virtual advertising specialist could help companies create and implement marketing campaigns for the metaverse.
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