10 In-Demand AR and VR Jobs: Skill Requirements, Pay Scale, and Demand Trends

Last Updated: October 28 2020

Almost nothing else occupies our lives as much as our work. Probably why it’s called an “occupation.”

We all seek to do meaningful work that changes the world for better, fulfills us, and pays us handsome salaries. The amount of compensation is correlated by the amount of value you bring to the world — at the time creating virtual environments with an emphasis on user experience is finally getting the recognition it deserves. This article is just an example of different kinds of virtual reality jobs in demand. 

The data is gathered from manually sifting through job recruitment platforms — some of them like Glassdoor lets you see the potential salaries as well. Here's an example how much a VR developer is paid in Seattle (it's between $60 to $130k).

VR, AR, and MR workers are transforming the world across all industries. They get to do fulfilling work in some of the best companies in the world and earn quite a lot of money. With the ever growing hardware adoption — VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest and HTC are having record sales in 2020, the real world is in need of virtual reality developers, or some other XR-related professionals.

The jobs types are ranging from small companies (content creators for gaming or business solutions) to mega corporation with top talent in real-time artificial intelligence or Mixed Reality artists.

How much do XR workers earn? Who is hiring right now? And for what roles? Let’s explore the answers.

Have you ever thought about building your own XR application? Check the XR Development for Unity Program:

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1. Software Developer / Senior Software Engineer

virtual reality job - software developer

Image credit: Arian Darvishi

All companies investing in, testing, or venturing into XR will need XR software developers. For an industry growing so fast, the demand for developers will be quite exponential.

However, the skills required to excel in this line of work will be just as dynamic as the industry’s growth. While most employers require you to code in C# and C++, the more languages you can work with, the better.

Skill Requirements

Some of the most frequently required skills for this job include:

  • Two to five years of experience in VR, AR, or MR
  • Practical experience with Unity
  • Experience developing for Oculus, Vive, and other platforms
  • C# development experience

Roles in this space might range from director of software development to managerial duties, senior software developer to junior developer roles. 

Pay Scale

Although Zip Recruiter outs the national average salary for XR software developers at $85,000 a year, this figure varies by city, skill, and experience. Highly skilled XR developers earn more than $156,000 per year.

And some cities pay better than others. For example, the average pay of developers in Piscataway, New Jersey, is higher than the national average. It stands at $86,345 per annum.

Who is Hiring Now?

Like most XR jobs, you can quickly gain employment in top Fortune 1000 companies. Or you could be working for startups that have massive potentials to race into the Fortune 1000.

2. AR/VR Maintenance and Support

Image Credit: Eddie Kopp

Predictive maintenance transformed factories so they can foresee machine faults and address them before they occur. But now, precision maintenance is in.

Over time, equipment users have figured that unplanned production downtime is often due to factors not related to the machine’s age. Machine-age accounted for only 11 percent of machine failures in factories.

The reality is that most equipment failures result from invasive predictive maintenance tasks, installation errors, and inapposite repairs. Hence, factories are employing augmented reality to reduce machine repair errors and improve their precision maintenance.

That’s where an AR maintenance and support person comes in. You’d use your AR expertise to educate and guide maintenance and repair support staff on the technology as they use them for their duties. 

Skill Requirements

Skills that employers demand include:

  • Experience with computer systems maintenance using Unity and other VR systems
  • Able to use 3D tools like MAYA, 3D MAX, Autodesk 3D, or the like to create texts in 3D
  • Capable of troubleshooting a VR and AR system

In some cases, employers do not explicitly require you to have C# programming skills or experience with a game engine, but your chances of winning employments are higher with those skills.

Pay Scale

The pay for this job varies by city and experience. The national average across the US is about $99,000. Meanwhile, the average salary exceeds $108,000 in NYC, New York. The highest earners get over $239,000 a year.

Who is Hiring Now?

While writing, these are employers I found offering jobs in this line of work.

3. Design/Graphics Engineer

Image credit: Dubl

XR design or graphics engineers help organizations marry graphics and computer vision research. They work with artists and designers to build and improve on experiential prototypes, develop new visualizations and effects, and responsible for their company’s 3d asset standards.

Skill Requirements

Companies hiring design/graphics engineers seek candidates who match these criteria:

  • Experience developing 3D applications or games
  • Worked and familiar with 3D game engines like Unity and Unreal
  • Years of experience coding in C#, C++, and other languages like Java
  • Holds academic degrees in computer engineering and skilled with 3D maths

Pay Scale

This job pays over $84,000 on average across the US. This job pays as high as $92,313 in big cities like New York. Some of the highest-earning graphics engineers earn $212,850 on average, a year.

Who is Hiring Now?

Top firms hiring as at the time of this writing include:

4. Software Engineer

Image Credit: NESA by Makers

Software Engineers in Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Realities are core parts of a company’s R&D team. They develop new software and build features that make disparate XR tools work together. More so, they work with both software and hardware components of VR/AR/MR products.

Skill Requirements

Thee most frequent skills that employees want:

  • Systems programming in C#, C++, Objective-C, Swift, etc
  • Experience working with multiple operating systems
  • Research skills
  • Server programming experience

Pay Scale

The average pay for XR software engineers across America is $101,000 a year. Cities like LA and San Francisco pay more than $107,000 and $118,000, respectively, per annum. Top earners take home more than $155,000 a year.

Who is Hiring Now?

Firms hiring at the time of this writing:

5. Product and Project Managers

Image Credit: Mimi Thian

Project and product managers lead product teams through the ideation, development, and launch of new XR products for developers or consumers. Brings organizational thinking into teams and develop structures for them to achieve their goals. 

Skill Requirements

Five to ten years in product management

  • Experience in collaborating on projects with teams of designers, prototypers, product testers, and engineers.
  • Lead customer experience and work environment
  • Establish project frameworks

Pay Scale

XR project and product managers earn over $94,000 on average in San Francisco, $80,647 nationwide, and top earners get over $170,000 a year on average.

Who is Hiring Now?

Companies hiring at the time of this writing:

Get the XR Development Programme

6. XR Gameplay and Tools Engineer

Image Credit: Laurens Derks

This person is responsible for building debugging, authoring, and profiling tools. They empower developers with solutions that lower their software iteration time. More so, they help to improve developer tools and boost their workflow efficiency.

Skill Requirements

Employers want candidates who have

  • Three or more years of experience writing in python, C, and Java languages
  • Experiences with Vulkan, OpenGL, or DirectX
  • A Mathematics or Computer Sciences degree, or their equivalent

Pay Scale

The pay scale here ranges depending on the XR gameplay or XR tools engineering job you do. Augmented Reality gameplay engineers earn $107,000 across America, over $126,000 in Palo Alto, and top earners take over $230,000 home. Meanwhile, the average top salary of Augmented Reality Tools Engineer jobs is over $248,000.

Who is Hiring Now?

Jobs available to be filled right now as I write, 

7. Accounting, Auditing, and Finance

Image Credit: Pixabay

Handing accounting for XR businesses require a lot of attention to the technical side of the business. Accountants, auditors, and financial planners take care tasks like

  • Inventory management, planning, and forecasting for product retailers
  • Manage business plans for the organization,
  • Review product sell-ins and sell-outs to find opportunities for the business
  • Internal auditors assess risks in the development of products
  • Implement company projects targeted at retailers and distributors

Skill Requirements

Employers want candidates who match these expectations:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the markets of the XR industry
  • Experience with operations and tech audits
  • Mastery of the AR/VR hardware and software dimensions, including manufacturing, software sales accounting, inventory, licensing, and more 

Pay Scale

US average pay is over $105,000 a year on average. The highest-paid class for this kind of job earns more than $260,000 a year.

Who is Hiring Now?

Companies hiring now include

Facebook - Internal Audit Manager – Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR/VR)

Oculus - AR/VR Strategic Account Manager, North America

8. Researcher

Image Credit: Lucas Vasques

XR researchers may work in academic, corporate, or institutional research environments. Researchers explore new or advanced fields of study in Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Realities as communication mediums, as well as their applications in real-world situations and fields, and other explorative uses.

Skill Requirements

The academic or corporate requirements for researchers are usually the same. Some of the commonly occurring requirements include:

  • Must have an advanced degree
  • Years of real-world experience in XR projects
  • Experience with VR/AR research and development

Pay Scale

Researchers earn $102,544 on average nationwide, but they can earn up to $218,000.

Who is Hiring Now?

Institutions hiring, offering internships, or fellowships now include

9. Business Development Manager

Image Credit: Austin Distel

Businesses are hiring XR business development managers to help them with developing new business solutions around XR technologies, drive solutions for existing customers, and other more.

Skill Requirements

Recurring skill requirements from employees include

  • Years or more than a decade experience in hi-tech industries
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  • More than two years of experience in XR spaces
  • Open to traveling frequently
  • Experience with customer-facing situations
  • Experience with early market products

Pay Scale

The pay scale for this job is about $78,000, on average, nationwide across the US. And high earners take home over $201,000.

Who is Hiring Now?

As of this writing, the companies hiring in this space include:

10. Marketing, Sales, and Distribution

Image Credit: Kaleidico

Marketing, sales, and product distribution teams of XR companies commit to meeting their sales targets, stay abreast of industry trends and leverage them to boosts sales, spot, and develop client relationships that they can eventually convert to sales.

Skill Requirements

Recurring client requirements include:

  • Previous experience with customer account development in the VR/AR space
  • Bachelor’s degree preferably in technical or software development fields
  • Powerful presentation skills
  • Ability to use marketing tools like Salesforce
  • Must be willing to travel a lot

Pay Scale

Marketing and sales jobs in this space pay an average of $60,000 a year. The highest-paid employees earn over $160,000 a year on average.

Who is Hiring Now?

It Doesn’t Stop at 10

Yes, other in-demand roles abound. So it doesn’t stop at 10.

As you might have guessed, businesses and other institutions are waking up to the benefits of XR faster than they can find qualified hands to work with them. So it makes perfect sense that new roles keep emerging and existing ones keep expanding.

Here’s a quick look at other in-demand jobs and roles in this space.

  1. 3D Artists
  2. Design Architects
  3. VR Prototyper with companies like Spatialand.
  4. Partnership lead with companies like Facebook.
  5. System Validation Engineers 
  6. VR Sound Effects Specialists

In case you’re wondering if these roles are less in-demand than the first 10, no, they are not less in-demand roles. For an industry that’s going from $7 billion to over $120 billion in just eight years, almost every available job in this space will see significant growth.

Screenshot source: Fortune Business Insights

If you’re curious to find more jobs, you can keep an eye on company job ads on LinkedIn here. All the awesome companies you want to work with post their jobs on LinkedIn. You can set a notification on LinkedIn too.

Where Do You Go from Here?

If you already have the skills and qualifications that these companies seek, go ahead, take the jobs.

But if you’re considering, planning, or making a career switch, then you want the best training in this field. More so, if you’re already in the field and want to improve your skills to become more competitive, some training will help too.

Circuit Stream has the industry’s most robust training on the most in-demand XR development platform, Unity. As you might have noticed, most in-demand jobs require that you work with Unity.

You may attend any of Circuit Stream’s free workshops on VR and AR, to get you started. You also get the chance to ask your questions and interact with instructors directly.


Dejan Gajsek

Content Manager

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