How Virtual Reality Can Help Journalism, Education & Healthcare
The idea of virtual reality (VR) can be traced back to 1968, when Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull pieced together the first augmented reality head-mounted display unit. Since then, the technology has been mainly used for military operations, medical training, amusement park rides, and high school driver’s education classes.
Recent innovations have opened the technology to a greater potential market. Applications available on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony Playstation platforms are putting VR in the hands of a wide audience of consumers. In fact, the global consumer market for virtual reality devices is expected to reach over $150 billion by 2020.
Future Commercial Applications for Virtual Reality
Augmented and virtual reality has potential applications in a number of diverse and growing industries.
VR technology offers a highly customizable platform for teaching hands-on skills in a cost-effective way. Augmented reality can make medical and technical training affordable and accessible to those in less-privileged areas. It also gives distance learners in online classes a more personal connection to their instructors, and thus the material.
VR has already been used by medical professionals to relieve pain, treat PTSD and other mental disorders, and perform surgery with the help of a robot. As the virtual reality market grows, operations can be carried out by robots that are controlled by skilled surgeons, making world-class medical attention available around the globe.
VR’s ability to command the senses makes it an ideal match for the entertainment industry. Major motion pictures are using augmented reality to upgrade the movie theater experience. International music stars ABBA used elements of VR in some recent shows.
Career Positions in Virtual Reality
New trends in VR will create a demand for knowledgeable workers.
According to the Robert Half Company, a leader in employment sourcing, 28% of surveyed employers plan to hire a user experience (UX) designer in the next year. However, 60% of those same managers said it was difficult to find qualified applicants to fill those positions.
Software developers are the backbone of the VR industry. They are responsible for conceptualizing and building the programs that make augmented reality useful. Over 190,000 new developer positions are expected in the next year.
- Artists and Modelers
Artists using 3-D modeling techniques to bring the visual elements of augmented reality to life. Animators use specialized programs to create life-like movement in the virtual experience. Demand for graphic artists and designers is expected to rise 27% by 2024.
Transitioning to a Career in Virtual Reality
New skills will be combined with old techniques in the new tech job market. Even with years of related experience, those seeking a new career path may need to augment their education or credentials.
- Multiple skillsets are a distinct advantage. For example, a 3-D artist can increase their value by learning to animate as well.
- Stay educated on the virtual reality news and developments. Social media, conferences, and blogs can provide information and contacts that could lead to a new position.
- Those lacking formal experience can showcase talents and knowledge by building an example application to demonstrate skills to potential employers.
- Keep skills up-to-date with online classes and seminars.
The growing demand for VR hardware and software requires engineers, designers, artists, and developers that are creative and well-educated. Highly skilled tech workers will enjoy a job market full of exciting and potentially groundbreaking positions.