The future is bright for VR. Here’s why you should ride the wave
Technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, and the same can be said about virtual reality (VR).
For the uninitiated, the Virtual Reality Society (VRS) describes VR as “a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.”
But more than the stuff of science fiction, VR is set to transform just about every industry imaginable as it becomes mainstream.
In fact, VR is so much more than donning a ski mask-like headset that transports you to a different realm, while using your senses, including your sight, hearing, and touch, making it feel extremely realistic.
The technology behind it that allows users to enter a 3D, computer-generated environment requires much training to make this a reality.
So unsurprisingly, there are many universities in the world that offering postgraduate courses in VR. The University of Oulu in Finland and Goldsmiths, University of London and University College London in the UK, are just some of the universities offering this qualification.
Prospective graduate students will want to enrol in an institution that works closely with the industry to ensure the programme will equip them with the right skills meet industry demands upon graduating.
Its use can already be seen all around us.
For instance, VR helps lessons come alive in higher education. La Trobe University in Australia has used augmented reality (AR) and VR to help their health and science students better understand the intricacies of human anatomy. Meanwhile, companies such as Osso VR are evolving surgical training and assessment by using the technology to train aspiring surgeons and surgeons to practice operations..
In the field of real estate, agents can help their clients visualise how an unfurnished room could look like without dumping in cash on furniture or breaking down walls, or even help clients tour a property without actually going anywhere.
Indubitably, it can have a huge impact on our personal and professional lives, which spells opportunity for professionals and graduates in computer science, software engineering or a related field who are keen to venture into the field.
Entering a new frontier
According to reports, VR revenues are projected to reach US$14.8 billion by 2023.
Management consulting company McKinsey said estimates by Goldman Sachs notes that AR and VR are expected to grow into a whopping US$95 billion market by 2025. They add that the strongest demand for the technologies currently comes from industries in the creative economy, such as in gaming, live events, video entertainment and retail, but adds that VR will find wider applications in industries as diverse as healthcare, education, the military and real estate over time.
Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics notes that employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 16 % from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Computer scientists are poised to enjoy excellent job prospects as many companies report difficulties in finding highly skilled workers.
There is a skyrocketing demand for AR/VR jobs.
For instance, Hired notes that there have been a 1,400% growth in interview demand for AR/VR engineers in the past year. Its 2020 State of Software Engineers report notes: “We see the growth in AR/VR demand as a direct reflection of the technology itself coming of age for a broader swathe of business outside of gaming. From beauty companies like Sephora to furniture retailers like Wayfair, many different types of companies are embracing the capabilities of these world building and enhancing technologies.”
The job can also be financially rewarding. AR/VR engineers can command up to US$160,000 per year, notes Hired. Despite that, many companies report difficulties in finding highly skilled workers, making it an opportune time to develop a niche in the field.
There are many universities in the world that are offering postgraduate courses in VR, including the University of Oulu in Finland and Goldsmiths, University of London and University College London in the UK, to name a few. Prospective graduate students will want to enrol in an institution that works closely with the industry to ensure they meet industry demands upon graduating.