What Jobs Can You Get With Unity Skills?

February 16 2022

careerUnity

Unity was released in 2005 with the goal of making game development accessible to everyone. Although the goal was successfully achieved with hundreds of thousands of mobile and desktop games created with Unity, labeling Unity as simply a “game engine” in 2022 would be a huge understatement.

Over the years Unity has grown into a powerful versatile development platform and a household name, creating thousands of job opportunities in the development, virtual reality, entertainment, and engineering industries.

In this article, we’ll cover what makes Unity skills so valuable, what are the career prospects of Unity specialists, and why now is probably the best time to be a Unity professional.


Table of contents

Why Focus on Acquiring Unity Skillset?

There are several factors why Unity professionals are so highly valued right now, but the main reason is that all fields where Unity skills can be applied are experiencing unprecedented growth.

Unprecedented Gaming Market Potential

The global gaming market size hit $203.12 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to $545.98 billion by 2028. On top of that, COVID-19 had a significant impact on people’s gaming habits: games are no longer a “weekend resort” and people spend 52% more time playing games on weekdays.

Not only is the gaming market growing, but game developers enjoy increased exposure for their projects. In 2021, the three biggest game streaming platforms, Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook Gaming attracted record amounts of viewers, granting game developers access to an even wider audience and potential customer database.

Given that Unity remains the game engine choice of 61% of developers, it’s safe to say that the majority of commercially successful games will be released in the next few years using the Unity platform.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Are Built With Unity

Over the last few years, Unity has become an integral platform for building virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (XR) experiences.

According to the Technavio report, the global augmented reality and virtual reality market size is expected to grow by $125.19 billion by 2024, while analysts from Mordor Intelligence predict that the VR market alone will be worth $184.66 billion by 2026. Unity already partnered with leading development agencies and enterprises such as BMW, Audi, and Nike to build a variety of VR and AR applications for business, entertainment, and education.

At the same time tech moguls such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony double down on building metaverse, a highly immersive 3D space that facilitates cooperation, entertainment, and socialization in a virtual world. Unity already supports popular virtual reality development kits and target platforms while constantly adding new tools to test, prototype, and develop immersive experiences, so whatever shape the future Metaverse takes, a large part of it will be built using Unity tools.

Unity Spearheads Design Innovation

The whole design industry is undergoing a major shake-up as there’s an unprecedented number of innovative products and services emerging every year. We’re entering an era of robots, AI companions, and innovative immersive devices that people are simply not used to being around. And just like iPhone (and phone’s iOS) creators in 2007 revolutionized the way we interact with our mobile phones and made them our 24/7 assistants, the tech industry is in dire need of designers, UI and UX professionals, and visual architects who can accelerate the rate of adoption of the new technology by designing efficient and intuitive interfaces.

Unity already launched several tools such as MARS, Unity Forma, and Simulation Pro to help creators quickly prototype and test virtual and augmented reality experiences, digital twins, and scalable simulations while the recently released visual scripting helps professionals from various industries to start building new interfaces without coding experience.

visual coding through nodes

(Source)

Whether the company will be testing a new AI simulation, an augmented reality application, or a digital twin of an existing manufacturing process, in the coming years a professional who knows their way around the Unity platform will be ten times more valuable than someone who doesn’t.

Check out our 24-week Unity Bootcamp — download the course syllabus below.  

Download the Unity Bootcamp Syllabus

Job Market Growth

The gaming job market has been steadily growing over the past five years  – the number of people working in the video games industry in the US increased by 7.4% on average between 2017 and 2022. The COVID-19 outbreak only has accelerated this growth.

In 2020, the boost in gaming sales due to pandemics created nearly 20,000 jobs.

And not only coding Unity professionals are in demand. The 2d and 3d game development industry actively recruits artists, marketers, and game designers – there are currently more than 287,000 game designers in the United States alone, and according to the New England Institute of Technology, the job market for these roles will grow by 9.3% in the next five years.

VR and AR industries are on the hunt for professionals as well. Meta’s (ex-Facebook) alone features 700+ open AR/VR positions and even plans to hire up to 10,000 AR and VR professionals in Europe over the next five years to build their Metaverse. At the same time job boards such as LinkedIn Jobs, ZipRecruiter or Glassdoor post new job opportunities from companies such as Apple, Nike and Microsoft every day.

Virtual reality and augmented reality will shape the future of many jobs. According to Statista, by 2030, over 400,000 jobs will be enhanced by VR and AR technology in the UK alone, which will result in an even higher demand for AR/VR professionals in non-gaming corporate settings.

According to Thomas Alsop at Statista, research expert covering global hardware growth at Statista, XR is forecast that over 23 million jobs will be enhanced by AR/VR technologies globally by 2030, an increase from the 800,000 jobs that were enhanced by VR and AR in 2019.

Unity Acquisitions

To understand just how versatile and expansive the Unity platform has become over the years, one can track the history of Unity acquisitions.

So far Unity Technologies acquired 25 companies and startups in the tech space.

Here are just some of the prominent Unity acquisitions:

    • SyncSketch. Behind SyncSketch are the creators of synchronized collaboration software that enables people to work together across the globe, and the acquisition marks Unity’s effort to facilitate an even more collaborative development environment.3d annotations
      (Source)
    • Weta Digital. Weta Digital is a legendary New Zealand VFX studio co-founded by Peter Jackson. Unity spent more than $1.6B to acquire Weta Digital’s tech pipeline and engineering talent with the goal of introducing the “most complete toolchain for 3D creation, simulation and rendering ever created [blog.unity.com]” to the platform and community of its creators.

  • Parsec. Parsec facilitates remote collaboration on real-time 3D projects while delivering a best-in-class high frame rate and low-latency remote desktop experience. With Parsec and SyncSketch acquisition Unity doubles down on remote development collaboration.
    unity acquires parsec
    Source
  • SpeedTree. The SpeedTree Modeler is a procedural vegetation tool that lets artists model trees or foliage of any type. SpeedTree technology was already widely used by media, AAA and indie studios, and the acquisition further signalized Unity’s effort to expand its library of built-in graphical capabilities.
    foliage renderer speedtree
    Source
  • Finger Food. Finger Food is an organization that specializes in building complex business solutions using advancements in artificial intelligence, AR, VR, and robotics. The acquisition further solidifies Unity’s goal to expand its field of application to non-media industries such as architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and construction.unity acquires fingerfood vancouverSource | Photo: Chung Chow

The majority of acquisitions took place in the last year after the successful IPO in late 2020, which makes you wonder just how many more deals might be coming in the future.

Biggest Opportunities

Game Developer

In 2020, apps built with Unity surpassed 5 billion monthly downloads. With Unity being used in the top 94 out of 100 development studios in the world, no wonder there’s a surge in open positions for Unity developers among both indie and AAA+ studios in the US and hundreds of game development studios in Europe and Asia.

Some notable game titles developed with Unity include: a viking-ish survival simulator Valheim (over 8 million copies sold), mafia-type co-op survival Among Us (15 million copies sold) and award-winning virtual reality rhythm-game Beat Saber (over 4 million copies sold), Escape from Tarkov (hardcore multiplayer battle royale shooter) and hundreds more.

There are job openings for mobile Unity developers, VR/AR Unity game developers, and developers for any other major platform of 20+ supported by Unity, from desktop to consoles and web.

AR/VR Development

Unity natively supports virtual reality and augmented reality applications development and supports development kits for all major target VR and mixed reality platforms such as OpenXR and Oculus.

In addition to that, Unity partners with leading manufacturers and enterprises such as Audi and BMW to develop mixed reality simulations to help businesses train or test products in innovative digital simulations.

As an example, an entire Audi logistics and car configurator training was created using the Unity3D platform, so you can expect a rise in demand for business mixed reality developers that can help develop immersive training and marketing simulations for non-gaming enterprises.

Check out our case study of creating a VR training simulator that helped INVISTA reduce expenses on training and greatly increase learning speed for new employees.

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

Unity actively works on adapting its development platform for non-gaming applications, specifically in architecture, engineering, and construction.

Almost all common forms of visualization in engineering and architecture, such as physical modeling and 2D/3D digital visualization are going out of date due to high expenses, limited applicability, or collaboration opportunities.

visualization in unity

Data from Unity study conducted by Forrester Consulting, 2020

Unity aims to bridge the gap between AEC businesses and immersive forms of visualization.

As an example, Mortenson, a US-based top 20 builder used the Unity platform to create and showcase new building designs in interactive 3D spaces, so that potential customers could interact and engage with virtual projects before they begin the development. Digital simulations facilitated better design decisions, faster iterations, and lower implementation costs.

Source: Youtube video

Unity tools such as Unity Forma and Furioos helps showcase interactive products with real-time 3D configurators and images, offering even more visualization techniques for people working with Unity:

design collab

Lastly, Unity Industrial Collection software bundles help AEC professionals to create AR and VR application from existing industrial design data, such as CAD assets:

(Source)

At the recent AI Summit & IoT World Silicon Valley 2021, Danny Lange, SVP of AI at Unity, discussed how Facebook's metaverse re-brand should have included industrial applications rather than gaming and video conferencing.

He gauged the concept of 'industrial metaverses' - applying related technologies to design potential manufacturing sites before committing to deployments.

Naturally, such a rich infrastructure that Unity creates for businesses will allow more and more industrial companies to get on board with immersive technology, creating even more job opportunities for XR professionals in the space.

Immersive Simulations

Unity is already being used for creating simulations and digital twins of existing environments for testing and budgeting purposes.

BMW uses the Unity toolset across the entire automotive lifecycle, from transforming production processes with AR and VR to marketing their vehicles in creative ways. For example, BMW tests autonomous driving navigation in virtually generated scenarios – nearly 95% of all BMW test miles are driven by virtual vehicles in virtual worlds, allowing to test millions of possible driving scenarios while saving costs.

Unity Simulation Pro enables companies to run complex simulations at scale. The Allen Institute for AI (AI2) utilized reinforcement learning and Unity Simulation Pro to train a robot to maneuver around a room. Using Unity’s advanced simulation, experts were able to reduce the time it takes to train a robot from two weeks to two hours.

As many companies would benefit from virtually implementing different work scenarios in a low-risk low-cost digital environment, Unity professionals who can create and run these simulations will be able to save companies thousands and millions of dollars.

How Much Salary Can You Pull With Unity

It's silly to talk about the opportunities if we have credible stats already. Here are some examples of Unity-related job titles and expected salaries:

  • Junior Unity Programmer: $49,000 - $52,000
    Exact job description example: “Demonstrated experience with game engine-based development (Unity preferred)”
  • Junior Software Engineer: $56,000  - $120,000
    From the job description: “Collaborate closely with Engineering Lead to prototype and develop VR / Desktop / Mobile applications, tools, and plugins for simulation and visualization of content for our venues. Proficiency in C# and the Unity game engine is required”
  • Unity 3D Developer/ Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Developer: $60,000 - $150,000
    From the job description: “Prototype and Build Unity applications for various headsets such as HoloLens, Meta2, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, etc.;”
  • Senior Unity Developer / Senior Unity Engineer: $90,000 - $150,000
    From the job description: “Have a huge passion for building VR learning experiences. Expert-level understanding of Unity 3D physics. Knowledge of the Unity Job System and Burst Compiler is preferred.”
  • Senior UI/UX Designer: $86,000 -  $158,000
    From the job description: “The ideal candidate will bring a solid and seasoned understanding of mobile game development. Works with Engineering to implement UI assets, screens, and animation in Unity. Strong proficiency in Illustrator, Photoshop, and Unity.”
  • Senior Visual Designer: $90 - $120 per hour
    From the job description: “Knowledge of Unity development and capabilities a plus”
  • Game Designer: $59,000 - $130,000
    Almost every job description: “Gameplay development, required experience in Unity.”
  • Unity-centric Game Designer: $70,000 -  $90,000 or $110 - $120 per hour
    From the job description: “We are currently seeking a Unity-centric Game Designer / 3D Software Engineer to join our multidisciplinary team as a game developer and software engineer working on implementing 3D VR gaming content that enables surgeons to improve robotics skills in a VR robotic surgical environment.”
  • Sound Designer: $48,000 - $105,000
    From the job description: “Experience working directly in game engines (Unity, Unreal, etc.), and with audio middleware (Wwise, FMOD, etc.)”
  • Mid/Senior UI Artist: $50,000 - $120,000
    From the job description: “Experience building games with the Unity Editor, especially using the Canvas systems.”
  • Program and Project Manager: $64,000 - $136,000
    From the job description: “Diagnose organization and talent opportunities and challenges and define priorities to make progress; use deep user insight to make data-driven decisions.”

Note: Among the companies hiring are Apple, Blizzard, Amazon, Meta, Roblox and others. Salaries range are approximate and presented by Glassdoor, Inc. based on market and employee research data. The compensation would vary from company to company, location (San Francisco or New York HQ-ed companies would often offer bigger salaries) than other cities which aren’t known as tech hubs.

How to Break Into the Industry

Whether you apply for part-time or full-time positions, even basic Unity skills help you stand out from professionals in your target industry.

But what if you decided to pursue a long-term career in tech, gaming, or engineering?

Right now any of the mentioned fields require Unity-savvy professionals, but sometimes the competition may be discouraging and fierce.

There are several tips to help you out there:

  • Build up your portfolio. Nothing matters more than an actual proof that you can build projects by yourself than your portfolio. Certifications and badges are important but showing your employer a range of projects that you’ve built matters much more than a CV.
  • Share your work. If you’ve got it, you’ll have to flaunt it. Share your favorite projects among your peers, talk about the problems you’ve overcome and how you came up to the results. Use social media as your personal museum. Companies that hire talent are resorting to human resources, headhunters, and recruiters to find their future employees and this means you have to come up on their radar. LinkedIn should be one of your main channels.
  • Track job boards every day. Tracking job boards even when you’re not actively looking for work is a great way to understand what the current job market needs right now. For example, there’s been recently a surge in VR/metaverse job postings which indicates in many companies there’s a shortage of in-house specialists that can address the demand. Check out Linkedin Jobs and Glassdoor and track the companies you’d like to work with.
  • Focus on transferable skills. At the beginning of your career make sure to learn as many aspects of Unity as you can from VR/AR development to rendering and scripting. It is essential that you have a diverse portfolio of projects so that you could quickly adapt and tailor your portfolio to the needs of a particular company or application process.
    • Get into testing. Q&A department works closely with the development department in both tech and gaming companies. Often testers and Q&A engineers can transition into development roles easier as they are closely familiar with the product and the dev team members.

    Although certificates and proof of knowledge are important, right now all fields will prioritize specialists with real experience, which means that a project-driven portfolio will give you the best start in the game.

    Best of all both Unity (and Unreal Engine) offer free access to their software and thus granting equal opportunity to enter the industry as a professional after you  get experience and build up your portfolio of cool projects. And since more and more technical jobs are moving into remote / work-from-home job types the employment opportunities are vast and open to all no matter of national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.

    If you want to learn more about breaking into gaming, software development, or engineering with Unity, we’ve prepared a complete guide with optimal learning paths and detailed tips on how to break into the industry you want.

    Interested in becoming a well-rounded Unity Developer?

    Check out our 24-week Unity Bootcamp — download the course syllabus below.  

    Download the Unity Bootcamp Syllabus

    REVIEWED BY

    Dejan Gajsek

    Content Marketing

    Receive our newsletter to stay on top of the latest virtual reality and augmented reality info.