What do you think about when people talk about programming, coding, and app development?
Thoughts usually revolve around desktop and mobile apps, and that is quite natural. The two platforms are the biggest markets, especially with the addition of more portable devices like tablets, that are getting better with each passing year.
That said, there’s a radical new technology which has created a doorway leading to a wonderful career in development. And that doorway is getting bigger and bigger as more and more industries are starting to adopt it.
That technology is Virtual Reality. EMarketer anticipates that 2019 will end up seeing 42.9 million people using VR in the US alone.
We know what it is and the remarkable experience it provides, but if I have to describe it again, I would say that Virtual Reality surrounds you with a fictional world. And if you’re using it for entertainment, which it is originally designed to do, you can think of it as a portal to another dimension. You can almost live your dream in it!
Virtual reality offers a remarkable space for app development in ways never seen before. Every breathtaking VR experience is backed by an amazing program or an application. If you’re an app developer with an insatiable interest in virtual reality, you have a bright future ahead of you.
Here’s how you can go for Virtual Reality as career:
Increase Awareness, Attend Meetups
Researching information on the internet is fine; you can dig out a lot of data from there. And that’s something you’ll be doing continuously. But there’s nothing better than meeting people who are already working with this technology. If your country hosts any events related to VR, find a way to attend them.
There are a number of events worldwide; some are focused on VR and AR entirely while some include them among other tech, like:
- Facebook Developers Conference: Especially after the acquisition of Oculus, there’s a heavy emphasis on VR by one of the most popular social media platforms.
- Google I/O: A very popular event by the search giant which attracts developers from around the world, is putting its attention on VR and AR a lot.
- E3: Possibly the most popular event in the world, related to all things gaming. From consoles to gaming titles, it has everything. Suffice it to say the focus is largely on VR and AR in this domain, as the gaming industry is the best sector for their application. Definitely, the one not to be missed.
- VR Days Europe: An event dedicated entirely to VR and the Extended Reality, which is held over a period of 3 days. From leading XR tech giants to upcoming startups, as well as artists and developers in this space, VR Days has everything.
- XRDC: One more event revolving around VR and AR. The best part of this conference is that in addition to gaming, it showcases VR tech in other industries like healthcare, automotive and even enterprise training.
Attending such conferences and events is important, and given a chance, must not be missed. Besides giving you the hands-on info on the latest trends in VR, such events give you the opportunity to interact with the industry experts and expose you to various VR hardware and applications. This also helps in taking the right direction with your VR career.
Work on Your Programming Skills
VR applications can be some of the most demanding to develop. Whether you’re an experienced or a budding programmer, brush up your coding skills. Some of the oldest and the most impactful programming languages provide a strong base for VR development, like C++, C# and Java. These languages provide the basis for some of the most intensive applications in various domains, and being knowledgeable about them makes for a great resume!
More than that, get familiar with Unity and Unreal engines. They are originally meant for video game development and are two of the most popular gaming engines in the industry. Both of these platforms offer a wide scope for developing virtual reality games, as well as other interactive VR applications.
Background in Mathematics, Computer Science, and (Simulated) Physics a plus
Just like your programming skills are important, it’s a plus to have a strong background in mathematics, computer science, and simulated physics. While nothing is written in stone as such, these skills do provide a solid base for VR app development, especially in the video gaming industry. A good game development course or a software engineering course can help make advanced VR app development a less challenging task than it could be otherwise. Think of them as additional skills needed for virtual reality.
Take as many VR demos as possible
This may appear like a casual exercise, but it’s important nonetheless. Taking a VR demo is not a big challenge today. Usually, even a good nearby shopping mall will probably have a stall offering VR demos to the people. Of course, go to VR conferences and events that always have a plethora of demos lined up for the visitors.
Demos not only help you in checking out the purpose-built hardware kit, they expose you to various VR experiences. You get to try and learn how to interact with a VR environment, how it affects you and what kind of experience it leaves you with - whether overwhelming, underwhelming or indifferent, and it even encourages you further to deep-dive into this sector.
They also help you in getting into the groove and develop that mindset, enabling you to think how you would create the demo you just experienced. Such experiences also help you in realizing the current level of VR applications. They help you in understanding if there’s something you didn’t like, leading you to think about the improvements that can be made for a better VR experience.
Of course, having a creative, analytical and problem-solving bent of mind is essential as a developer, and more so in the virtual reality arena. After all, it’s about immersive experiences that are interactive as well. Indulge in discussions, both offline and online, try and talk to like-minded people. There are a lot of online platforms such as questions and answers websites that can be used to interact with them and the experts on this subject. Education question answer platforms, in fact,
The future of Virtual Reality has limitless potential in the way it can affect people. It is a highly involving and interactive field, and one can get a wonderful career out of it!