Meta (formerly Facebook) is very serious about dominating a future “metaverse” of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences, to the point where thousands of employees are being added to teams building hardware and software for AR and VR.
According to a sweeping article in The New York Times, Meta managers (say that five times fast) are also encouraging employees who work on the company’s various properties, such as Instagram, to apply for spots on the AR and VR teams. That hasn’t always gone over well, as one anonymous Instagram engineer told the newspaper he was “taken aback” by the request and unsure of what he should do.
Meta/Facebook has some experience with radical redirections—almost a decade ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided that his technologists should retool the company’s services, then optimized for PCs, toward mobile. That effort succeeded, although as the Times helpfully points out, smartphones and tablets were already well-established technologies by that point; AR and VR, by contrast, haven’t yet proven their mainstream appeal.
In addition to internal recruitment, Meta is also hiring hundreds of AR and VR roles. If you’re interested in exploring this new (and potentially impactful) technology, technologies to learn include Python, C++, and the principles of project management and software development (all of which are frequently mentioned in VR-related job postings, not just the ones put out by Meta). You’ll also want to review the documentation and SDK for the Oculus platform, which is Meta’s current VR ecosystem.
Right now, the market for VR-related jobs is pretty tiny, but Burning Glass (which collects and analyzes job postings from across the country) expects these positions to grow 31.7 percent over the next ten years. If more companies join Meta in pouring billions of dollars into VR and AR initiatives, the number of positions could potentially skyrocket. Apple and Google are hard at work on AR products of their own, and Microsoft has spent the past few years testing out its “HoloLens” headset for enterprise and industrial usage.