The demand for VR and AR developers is as fierce like never before and, if we take into account that both AR and VR will get even more popular in the future, it will be even more difficult to fill virtual and augmented reality developer jobs. Hiring in these two industries is challenging for a number of reasons. First of all, the market is still in the infancy stages. The current market has only taken off in the last 2–3 years, which means a lot of roles are opening up in startups and mid-level companies. Yet many of the mid-cap to large-cap companies are not ready for the types of roles these realities require. Large companies typically relying on their IT department to fill the gaps, which do not yet have the resources to take on this new hardware.
The next biggest reason is simply the scarcity of candidates. Historically, the software developers for VR, and now AR, have come from the Games industry. This already small industry is now fragmenting with the addition of these platforms. The demand in the Games industry for Unity, Unreal and other engine programmers have always been high. In order to compound this demand, new companies fighting to bring candidates into AR and VR creates a scarcity of talent, making hiring all that more difficult.
Even though finding and hiring quality candidates is difficult as we mentioned above, let’s take a look at some tips you can use help you fill those vacancies.
One of the main reasons it is so difficult to find quality talent is because there are many skills both AR and VR developers need to have. AR developers chiefly need a mixture of advanced computer vision skills, 3D modeling and desktop, web or mobile programming. A grasp of 3D modeling should include texturing, shading and rendering.
Preferred programming languages can vary according to the platform but are usually C++, C# or similar languages.
Last, but not least, the bleeding-edge nature of the field means that would-be AR developers should have a passion for pushing the boundaries of new technologies. Keeping abreast of new research in the field is a must — a lot of the technologies come from university-based R&D projects.
Ask to See a Proof of Concept
One of the ways candidates try to make an impact and stand out from their peers is to build something that can serve as a portfolio. When it comes to both virtual reality and augmented reality, seeing really is believing. That’s why your first question should be to ask if you can see a proof of concept (POC) app. The proof of concept might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected. Instead, use it as a means of gauging the developer’s skills, and understanding of your project.
Look for Vertical Business Expertise
While AR and VR tech can be nuanced and requires expertise when it comes to building an application, you need to look beyond basic expertise in augmented or virtual reality development. Find a candidate who demonstrated experience in your specific business vertical or solving for a similar challenge in a related vertical. Gaming is a big departure from retail, for instance. Logistics is a far spread from toys. While VR has specific technical challenges, the same thing is true for business verticals. If you select a candidate without relevant vertical experience, you are starting from scratch instead of taking advantage of existing reusable expertise. This can drag out the development process and put your project at risk.
Avoid Device Obsessed VR/AR Developers
Each device has its own benefits and challenges and right now none of them provide a complete solution independently. If you put the device first, you can end up with a pricey custom app that isn’t portable, may be outmoded or unsupported in a few short months and can’t be repurposed down the road. Remember that devices are simply publishing platforms and delivery mechanisms for content. For many companies, the best sandbox for testing VR and AR concepts quickly and broadly may be a smartphone or tablet rather than an emerging wearable. You really don’t want to hire a candidate with a fixation on “which device” or even “which tech, “e,g, AR vs. VR”. Find someone who wants to explore and develop your use case and make recommendations that make sense given the particular objectives of your project.
Creating and Managing 3D Content Should Be the Priority
Continuing the discussion about content, an experienced candidate will always put content first, not the device. If your company is focused on customer experience, then start with the foundation of the experience — the content. This investment is timeless and once the content is created in 3D and managed, it can easily be tailored to different devices as part of a more comprehensive customer experience. Putting 3D content first and making the content flexible, relational and manageable is the best way to protect an investment in AR and VR.
There is a lot to think about when selecting a virtual and augmented reality developer. However, if you would like to stay competitive in the competitive and lucrative VR/AR industry, you must have the talent to create the products that you envisioned. If you use the checklist above, you’re very likely to end up with a virtual and augmented reality developer that will see your project through to completion on time and within budget while creating reusable assets for use across multiple devices. You won’t be disappointed.