Certification in virtual and augmented reality development demonstrates to employers that you know what you’re doing with Unity. When it comes to getting your certification to become a VR/AR developer, there are many courses to choose from. We’ve reviewed your best offline choices, but what about online courses? Here’s the breakdown of how Coursera, Udacity, and other online options compare to help you determine the best VR course for you.
Coursera offers courses in a variety of topics, including virtual reality. The site differentiates its listings by courses and specializations — specializations earning you a professional certificate from academic institutions.
Each course or specialization are offered as a subscription. Each month you pay for access to class materials. If you learn faster, then you pay less. All courses are offered 100% online through videos and tutorials. There’s no real-time interaction with instructors, and zero feedback on your projects. They offer two specializations in virtual reality:
Unity XR Certification | Three months P/T | Minimum $230 USD
Offered through Unity themselves, this specialization includes three courses that cover mixed reality foundations, VR mobile app development, and AR mobile app development.
Virtual Reality Specialization Certificate | Six months P/T | Minimum $285 USD
Offered through the University of London, students gain access to five courses covering an introduction to VR, building 3D models, and designing 3D interactions, culminating in a virtual reality game.
Udacity offers online learning for artificial intelligence, data science, programming, autonomous systems, and business. Professional certificates awarded through them are called nanodegrees, but students are welcome to take individual courses as well. Within the school of programming are specialized virtual reality courses on developing in Unity.
When you apply for a nanodegree, students gain access to the related courses that you can complete on your own time. Rather than paying per month for access like in Coursera, Udacity’s nanodegrees are a one-time purchase for all course materials. The downside to this, and other video-based courses, is that technology like virtual reality is updating and improving faster than the videos can be produced. Most video-based courses, including those at Udacity, are outdated as a result.
Students work at their own pace through videos and tutorials. Depending on the course, there may be feedback given on projects and assignments, but otherwise the student is completely independent and on their own.
There is an introductory nanodegree that is offered as a prerequisite to two more advanced nanodegrees:
VR Foundations Nanodegree | Three months P/T | $599 USD inclusive
This prerequisite program teaches students the principles of VR technology, building VR scenes and objects in Unity, and basic programming scripts for methods, loops, events, and more. Overall the program is more of an introduction to Unity, preparing students to specialized in VR app development or 360 production in the more advanced courses.
VR High-Immersion Nanodegree | Four months P/T | $999 USD inclusive
Once a student has taken the prerequisite program VR Foundations, this nanodegree program goes more in depth about programming with C#, developing apps for VR headsets like Vive and Oculus, how to publish apps across platforms, and finishes with a completed VR project. While some students can skip the foundational course, most end up taking both VR Foundations and High-Immersion, meaning the cost and course length are misleading in terms of what students learn.
VR Mobile 360 Nanodegree | Four months P/T | $999 USD inclusive
After students have finished VR Foundations, they can specialize in learning VR Mobile 360 development. Courses include VR design, optimizing mobile app performance, pre and post 360 media production, and a final 360 project. If students already have an understanding of Unity, this nanodegree is a good program to specialized in 360 media, including immersive films, video editing, audio capture, and more.
Udemy, Lynda, and YouTube Tutorials
While they do not offer official certification beyond a Certificate of Completion, Udemy, Lynda, and even YouTube provide online courses and tutorials that can help students solve problems and overcome roadblocks.
Certificate of Completion | 1-25 hours | Approx $10 USD per course
Udemy courses are self-paced, solely online, but are very accessible in price. Content varies, however, so make sure to read reviews before purchasing.
Certificate of Completion | 1-25 hours | $25 USD per month
Similar to Coursera, Lynda works on a monthly subscription basis. The basic membership is $25 USD, with premium membership offered at $37.50 USD per month. The premium membership may be worth it, however, as it gains students access to extra study material and course exercises in addition to the standard online tutorials.
No certification | 5-30 minutes | Free
While no Unity or developer certification is offered through YouTube tutorials, they can be a great resource to overcome programming roadblocks. Many Lynda and Udemy course instructors also have YouTube channels where students can vet their expertise before purchasing courses.
VR/AR Development with Unity Certificate | 10 weeks P/T | $2,500 USD inclusive
Now that we’ve laid out the competition, let’s share why Circuit Stream might be a better option for you. The instructors in the Coursera, Udacity, and edX courses are university professors; Circuit Stream’s instructors are industry professionals using their experience to guide practical solutions in class. The course materials are frequently revised to be up-to-date with the technology and software. This fact alone makes Circuit Stream one of the best VR courses available, and heads above the pre-recorded video tutorial based courses mentioned above.
Instructors teach live online so students have ongoing support at every step of the course. Each week, students have one-on-one sessions with instructors dedicated to development on their class projects. Students’ final projects inform what instructors cover, whether for virtual reality or augmented reality; a mobile app or headset. In other words, students learn exactly what they need to build their apps. And any problems or hurdles are tackled immediately without the student feeling lost or confused when searching for the solution on their own.
We believe the combination of face-to-face mentorship with instructors and small class sizes produces the best virtual reality course for developers, creatives, and businesses. Circuit Stream streamlines your learning to be efficient, practical and specific to your projects so your idea can become a prototype in 10 weeks.
Download our syllabus to learn more about how our courses work for you.