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Virtual Reality Career

Career planning takes exactly that, planning. By definition, you have to think ahead. Where will the opportunities be? For everyone from “creatives” to “techies” Virtual Reality is looking very promising these days. Here are six reasons to start thinking about a Virtual Reality career:

Follow the money to find the opportunity

If the story of Baobab Studios is any indication, then it’s safe to say there is a LOT of financial interest right now in this field. New companies are launching, and investors are lining up to get involved. That means a great deal of opportunity for a great many talented people.

Baobab is a new company led by CEO Maureen Fan, most recently VP of games at Zynga. The Chief Creative Officer is Eric Darnell, one of a few key individuals leading VR’s creative revolution. He is someone who has essentially always been at the forefront of storytelling and technology, having directed the first fully computer-animated film for DreamWorks (Antz). He ultimately hit the big time directing the Madagascar films. And now, he’s headlining the newly-launched Baobab Studios, which is poised to be the preeminent animation studio for VR. With a Board of Advisors that includes Alvy Ray Smith (Co-Founder, Pixar), David Anderman (former COO, Lucasfilm), and Mireille Soria (Co-President, DreamWorks Animation), and a recent $6 million funding round led by Comcast Ventures, Baobab stands as a significant example of where the industry is heading.

Creativity wanted

Far too many people fail to pursue career opportunities in fields they consider to be too “technical.” And while VR is certainly a highly technical field, there is IMMENSE need for creative talent in this space. Technology needs stories, because experiencing the experience of technology is not enough, you must experience the story through technology for the experience to be truly engaging and transcendent.

“In virtual reality, we’re placing the viewer inside a moment or a story… made possible by sound and visual technology that’s actually tricking the brain into believing it’s somewhere else.” —Chris Milk, Founder and CEO of Within

“When people take off the headset, they immediately have a creative idea about what they can make in virtual reality, and a lot of them immediately want to get involved.” —Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus VR

Early adoption is a good bet

Today, Virtual Reality still offers opportunities to get in on the ground floor. The field is set to grow exponentially in the next few years, and if you join late, opportunities will be fewer, competition will be stiffer, and established experts will be tenacious about maintaining their positions. Betting on VR now by jumping in while it’s still comparatively early days is arguably a risk, but it’s only a bad bet if the field goes belly up, and no one believes that’s going to happen.

Fulfilling demand is good strategy

Want to be welcomed with open arms? Fulfill demand. That’s about as good a get-hired strategy as one can find. Determine where there’s demand, and then be the talent that fulfills that demand. Regarding demand in VR, consider this from a recent Forbes article:

According to SmartRecruiters numbers, more VR job postings have cropped up in the first quarter of this year than all of 2015.

Staying power, and The Facebook Factor

The industry isn’t going anywhere. Mark Zuckerberg won’t allow it to, even if it wants to. When Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, it essentially ensured that VR would survive to be big.

When Facebook — and more importantly CEO Mark Zuckerberg — shelled out $2 billion for a virtual reality startup, developers and investors who were hopeful the VR industry would take shape were suddenly convinced of it.

That’s from an article on recode, highlighting the fact that while no one knows for sure yet which companies will ultimately emerge as key players in the space—or which “vertical will send VR into the mainstream”—it’s abundantly clear that VR IS going mainstream.

It’s the money, stupid

When James Carville famously hung a sign in Bill Clinton’s campaign headquarters back in 1992 that read “The economy, stupid” he couldn’t have predicted the pop-culture adoption to come, but come it has, and variations of the phrase have become a de rigueur way of emphasizing the obvious. In the case of Virtual Reality careers, we can certainly take a moment to emphasize the obvious—VR jobs pay well. Here’s a quick sample of data available on the PAYSA site:

VR Careers PAYSA

VR Careers PAYSA

VR Careers PAYSA

We’ve given you six reasons to start thinking about a career in virtual reality. If you’re ready to make the move from thought to action, consider reading A Virtual Reality Career—Laying The Foundations. And to stay on top of key trends, happenings, and developments in the field, consider following This Week in Virtual Reality.


Eric Darnell, Chief Creative Officer of Baobab Studios, will be our guest for Udacity Talks on Wednesday, July 20th, at 4pm PDT. RSVP today!


Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins is Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer at Udacity. He types on a MacBook or iPad by day, and either an Underwood, Remington, or Royal by night. He carries a Moleskine everywhere.