What Aspiring VR Developers Look for in Hiring Companies

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Supamotion

The career path of a virtual reality (VR) developer offers exciting possibilities. And the people with the skills for the job, and who hope to get a VR job themselves, know they’ll be in demand for the foreseeable future.

VR has finally hit the mainstream after previously being labeled as a niche technology. The rise of low-cost hardware is one reason for the shift, since it’s now easier than in the past for people to give VR a try without draining their bank accounts.

Plus, groups ranging from branches of the military to retail brands that want to train their employees for busy shopping seasons realize that VR has seemingly limitless potential.

Indeed, opinions from people familiar with the VR hiring market say that although many of the VR jobs posted now relate to gaming applications, there will likely be a move toward other uses, such as those for businesses or for members of the public who are interested in more than merely having fun while using VR.

The companies that are most successful in hiring VR developers offer appealing perks to job candidates. The establishments that fail to do so will only get passed by in favor of the organizations catering to job seekers’ aspirations and needs.

Here are the things VR developers in the job market especially prioritize when looking for worthwhile companies.

1. The Chance to Work on Unique Projects

VR is such a fast-growing technology. Research has shown none of 2017’s top hiring companies that sought people with the appropriate skills posted any jobs of that kind before 2013.

The most profitable companies that are getting acquainted with VR technologies typically aim to release hardware and software that stands apart, instead of mimicking things that came before.

People who want fulfilling careers as VR developers prioritize working for companies that have reputations for being pioneers and not following the crowd.

Participating in VR projects that are drastically different than what’s typical looks excellent on a resume and builds problem-solving skills that people can use for their whole careers.

Some applicants get glimpses of potential projects during the interview process. The interview might reveal the basics of something in the pipeline and ask questions like, “If we put you on this project and had you start from scratch, how would you proceed?”

2. Brands With the Ability to Keep up With Changing Trends

Developers want to feel assured that they won’t get stuck in creativity ruts by only capitalizing on single trends in the VR market during their careers.

If companies can prove that they have the desire and resources to potentially move their businesses into new marketplaces (if there are valid reasons for doing so), they’ll be increasingly attractive to developers who have high hopes for their VR development futures.

3. Opportunities to Do More Than Earn a Living

People prefer positions with meaning. That’s the conclusion of a survey of 26,000 LinkedIn members around the world. The poll discovered 74 percent of respondents wanted work that matters.

All employers can do things to promote meaningful work environments. However, the VR sector shows particular promise when it comes to development opportunities that help others.

For example, people who have their sights set on VR careers might decide they want to develop apps for the health field. Then, they might help people training to become doctors, experienced physicians using interactive scenarios before performing complex operations, or patients watching VR simulations to grow more familiar with procedures before going through them in real life.

Some companies are also using VR to help soldiers prepare for the trauma of the battlefield or to ease the mental health struggles of people with anxiety or depression.

A person who wants to make a difference in a career as a VR developer can first choose an area of focus, then look for companies with open positions that support that preference or might do so in the future.

4. An Emphasis on Continual Education

There’s a significant developer skills shortage affecting VR and similar markets, and one of the reasons behind it is the fact that there are not enough people graduating with relevant university degrees to meet the current and expected demand.

So-called developer boot camps are helping decrease the educational gap, along with online programs that give students the tools they need to succeed without requiring trips to physical campuses.

Learning foundational skills while earning a VR developer degree is undoubtedly important, but companies also stand out to people on the hunt for jobs if they mention continuing education programs in their job listings. Because VR is such a rapidly changing technology, it’s crucial for developers to stay on top of the latest techniques and skill sets.

Education has long-term benefits, but many people can’t justify the cost of it if a trip to a VR conference or a semester-long class costs thousands of dollars.

Companies can recognize that reality by discussing how they cover some or all educational costs with prior approval from supervisors, or mentioning the ability for VR developers to take advantage of educational offerings while on the clock.

5. A Competitive Salary

Due to the previously mentioned skills shortage, it’s crucial for VR developers not to sell themselves short by remaining content with salaries that are not consistent with their worth.

Even when VR developers get into the field due to a keen interest in the technology itself, a desire to make an impact, or another reason not associated with salaries, they still need to make enough money to live comfortably and avoid financial stress.

VR developers must also calculate the cost of living in areas that have companies ready to hire. That’s because what initially seems like a reasonable salary based on the amount alone might end up being an unsustainable dollar amount based on local prices for housing, transportation, food, and other necessities of life.

6. An Empowering Work Environment

The results of a 2017 Gallup poll found that the majority of the U.S. workforce is not engaged on the job.

Companies can improve engagement by treating their employees as stakeholders in the businesses’ future and letting them know their opinion matters.

Highly engaged organizations also hold managers accountable. These typs of organizations understand that creating a culture where employees feel valued and able to succeed starts from the top down.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to gain a perspective on the culture of a company that’s hiring VR developers, especially if a tour or discussion of corporate values isn’t part of the candidate screening process.

Websites such as Glassdoor that allow current and former employees to post anonymous reviews of their experiences are good starting points. Resources like these can let proactive VR developers know what to expect before accepting a position or deciding to progress in the hiring process.

Job Searches Become Easier When Candidates Get Specific

People looking for VR developer work will find their job searches go more smoothly when they’re aware of what they want from the start.

Then, it becomes possible to identify whether companies can fulfill those needs.

Kayla Matthews has been writing about smart tech, big data and AI for five years. Her work has appeared on VICE, VentureBeat, The Week and Houzz. To read more posts from Kayla, please support her tech blog, Productivity Bytes.