ITCareerFinder breaks down some of the most sought-after jobs in the metaverse and the skills you need to level-up in each position.
In October 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta and announced plans to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs in the European Union (EU) to help shape the metaverse.
It turns out that Facebook isn’t the only one betting heavily on the growth of the metaverse, over 160 companies are jumping in too.
So what is the metaverse and what types of jobs might it create?
Broadly speaking, the metaverse is a shared virtual world. In theory, people will be able to create an avatar and travel into this immersive virtual world to socialize, play games, work, create, shop or even remotely attend a concert or sporting event by wearing virtual reality headsets.
Much like the transition to Web 2.0, mobile technologies and the Internet of everything (IoT) devices, the metaverse is creating new IT and hybrid job opportunities, which require a combination of technical and non-technical skills.
To keep your career thriving in the metaverse, here’s a look at 6 roles that are in demand right now and poised to explode in the future.
- AR / VR Software Engineers
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) jobs are hot, with demand surging 1,400% in 2019 alone, according to a new State of Software Engineers report. But that may just be the tip of the iceberg as the metaverse expands.
Over the next decade, companies are going to need thousands of software engineers with AR/VR skills to develop the next computing platform, software and applications for the metaverse. Currently, AR and VR software engineers make from $135,000 to $150,000 in major U.S. tech hubs. How can you cash in?
Given the rapid evolution of augmented-and-virtual-reality technologies, tools, software development kits (SDKs) and companies’ metaverse technology stacks, learning the fundamentals is the best way to break in.
Hot AR/VR Skills in the Metaverse
In addition to computer science knowledge, you’ll need familiarity with interactive 3D technologies and the three domains that fall under the umbrella of extended reality (XR): virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).
Since the apps, games or “experiences” you create must be user-friendly, it helps to be familiar with user experience (UX) design. Of course, developing scalable, high-performing code requires familiarity with architecture and secure coding practices.
Because software engineers often work in teams, you’ll also need emotional intelligence, good communication and problem-solving skills as well as empathy, adaptability, resilience, and of course, creativity.
- Product Managers
Given the growth in metaverse users and the anticipated demand for products and content, companies are going to need even more product managers to own the end user experience, test and work out glitches in new products, evangelize new initiatives and drive product development with multiple teams of engineers, designers and product specialists.
In fact, the rush has already started. Of the approximately 3,200 jobs posted on Meta’s career page, almost 2,400 are for various types of product managers. Other companies advertising for metaverse product managers include Snap, Google, Oculus and more.
Product manager is a highly visible position that can have a big impact on a company’s top and bottom lines. It’s no wonder that experienced pros are already among the most sought-after candidates, commanding average salaries of $123,365 and as high as $176,000.
Hot Product Mgmt. Skills in the Metaverse
While you need technical knowledge and a deep understanding of development and creative environments, product manager is a hybrid role that doesn’t require coding expertise. Best of all, it is a step-up for developers looking to flex their non-technical muscles and transition into management.
If you’re looking to develop your product management chops, consider taking some online courses or enrolling in a product management boot camp.
- 3D Game Designers
While there will always be a need for programmers and developers to turn a game designer’s vision into a playable game, Unity recently noted that game making is already trending towards far more artists relative to the number of technologists. Industry experts expect the ratio to increase as the metaverse grows. Who are the artists charged with building the metaverse gaming experience?
As the creative force behind the development of a video game, game designers in the metaverse will be responsible for designing, prototyping and building an all-immersive, 3D gaming experience that engages players like never before.
In fact, the metaverse will give game designers the chance to broaden their skills and appeal to new users, legitimizing gaming as a career path according to Meysam Moradpour, CEO of Moments. Currently, the average salary for a 3D game designer in the U.S. is $78,000.
Hot Game Design Skills in the Metaverse
If you want to break into video games as a 3D designer, be aware that it requires a broad range of technical, interpersonal and creative competencies. For instance, you’ll need solid knowledge of computer animation, 3D modeling and backgrounds, illustration, lighting, game interfaces and more. You may also need basic programming skills and you’ll certainly need to master popular gaming software programs such as Unity, Blender, Maya, and Unreal Engine.
To qualify for any role that blends art and technology, you’ll also need creativity, excellent communication and collaboration skills, leadership and a strong analytical mind. Some game design degrees combine the soft skills and technical expertise that breed success in this field.
Storytellers also stand to benefit from the evolution of the metaverse. Unlike today’s video game writers, storytellers in the metaverse will operate at a higher level and be responsible for crafting a compelling immersive storyline for various genres of games and experiences including social, action, sports, simulation, puzzle, role-playing, educational or training.
For example, with music events taking place within the game, Fortnite and Minecraft have transformed into something more than a game.
Hot Storytelling Skills in the Metaverse
While the national average salary for a game writer is just $53,155 per year, you can earn about $100,000 with experience, plus you can get your foot in the door with a college degree or high school diploma, some creative writing experience and a passion for gaming. However, taking an online course can help you master the nuances of the genre and boost your market value.
What soft skills do you need for storytelling? Like a movie, the user should feel like they are part of the fictional world. According to master storyteller Pixar, effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move an audience.
Also, because storytellers work alongside the programmer, game designer and developer to create the look and feel of a video game, having a basic understanding of game development, design and programming can help you craft better narratives in the metaverse and beyond.
- Hardware Engineers
The metaverse will not only be built on code, games and apps; operating in a perpetually available three-dimensional environment will require the development of new cameras, headsets, sensors and wearables.
Such technologies exist today, but a lot of work is needed to make them wireless, comfortable, lightweight and capable of communicating touch, emotions or the surrounding area.
As an example, a hardware systems engineer at Facebook Reality Labs helps to architect, drive strategy for, build and test prototypes for future consumer AR / VR / Wearables reality experiences.
Hot Hardware Skills in the Metaverse
Currently, having several years of product development experience or embedded systems design and/or a background in electrical, computer, mechanical or optical engineering or physics can qualify you for a position as a virtual reality hardware engineer.
You’ll also need familiarity with important virtual reality concepts and tools such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software, degree of freedom (DoF), haptics, eye tracking, head tracking, field of view and so forth.
To become a true VR engineering expert, there will obviously be a lot of skills to master, starting with programming languages, data collection and analysis tools. Also, AI, robotics, sensors or cameras, depending on the product you want to develop and how they are used.
- Metaverse Marketing Specialist
With the metaverse market expected to reach $814.2 billion by 2028, companies are already queuing up to hire what is becoming one of the most in-demand roles in the metaverse, a metaverse marketing expert.
These game-changing pioneers must be able to conceive, create and execute an immersive, interactive ad campaign or experience that blurs the lines between the physical and digital and appeals to millennials and members of Generation Z.
Unlike the flat, two-dimensional web, companies will have the ability to create full-scale experiences (including games) that tell a story, allow users to interact with their product, and eventually make a purchase, without leaving the metaverse.
For example, Nike is teaming up with Roblox to create a virtual world called Nikeland where users will be able to dress up their avatars in Nike-branded sneakers and apparel.
Hot Metaverse Marketing Skills
To succeed in what is being called the next frontier of marketing, specialists will need a broad range of technical expertise, business acumen, vision and creativity as well as the ability to analyze data and trends to formulate a long-term strategy.
Take your skills to the next level by listening to metaverse podcasts, following thought leaders, or complete an online course that delves into the metaverse and the future of XR technology in marketing.
As you can see, jobs and career paths are starting to crystalize inside the metaverse economy. While many new positions are going to be in computer science and engineering, professionals with strong soft skills, technical prowess and business acumen can also get in on the ground floor in non-technical or hybrid roles and see their prospects rise. Those that embrace the metaverse early on and expand their skill sets could be the real winners. The metaverse is coming – are you ready to immerse yourself?