How to Become an Augmented Reality Engineer or Developer

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Updated November, 1 2017

First up on the list from Fast Companies list of the top design jobs in the future is Augmented Reality Designer.

Augmented reality is actually a very simple concept.

In order to understand this better let’s get the idea of Virtual reality out of the way.

Virtual reality is the act of creating a completely artificial environment and then placing the user inside. Putting on virtual reality goggles and then stepping into Super Mario Brothers would be an example of Virtual Reality or “VR” for short.

Augmented Reality or “AR” is the act of overlaying our existing environment with new information. The first mass produced example of AR started on television in 1998 when the invention of the Yellow first down marker when broad casting professional football games. Example Below of AR on television:

artificial reality on tv - television

More recently we have seen the development of AR in Google Glasses, or heads up displays in cars:

augmented reality heads up display example

These features are an incredible safety benefit to drivers. BMW links driving direction, speed, and car statistics into its augmented reality heads up display.

How to Become an Augmented Reality Designer?

Now that we are all up to speed on augmented reality. Let’s take a look at how to become an AR designer and the future of AR.

Skills Required to Become an Augmented Reality Designer:

  • You are going to need to develop a strong understanding of the programing language C/C++
  • 3D Computer Graphics Skills (Auto Desk is Your Best Option)
    • High Quality Professional tools: Fantastic Tutorials with Lynda.com
  • Experience Working with 3D Graphics Engines (Unity is a Fantastic resources with a handle on the market.

How Will You Develop The Required Skills to Become an Augmented Reality Engineer?

Augmented reality is truly in its infancy like the Brick Cell phone of 1984…

brick cell phone from 1984

What this means for the skill development of interested Augmented Engineers is that it will be growing a lot over the next 5 – 10 years. Online education courses are the perfect fit to get up to speed and grow with the industry.

1) Get Familiar with Augmented Reality and its Intricacies

One of the Cutting Edge ways to get plugged in with Augmented reality is to study the Microsoft Hololens kit. This tutorial with Lynda.com will walk you through Augmented through the eyes of Hololens and get you immersed in a world fixated with Augmented opportunities.

App Development for Microsoft Hololens

 

2) Maximize Your C/C++ Skills

Having strong coding skills will be very important in your skill arsenal as an Augmented reality engineer. Don’t skimp out on this part of your skill development. You want to receive high quality instruction from the best in the industry. Edx.org is the best way to build your C/C++ knowledge. Taught by Gerry O’Brien, Senior Content Development Manager at Microsoft, his knowledge and expertise will set you on the right track.

Introduction to C# Programming

 

3) Build out an augmented world with the Unity 3D Augmented Reality Engine

Once you have the strong technical basics down you will want to begin creating your own world of augmented reality features and designs. This is where having a high quality AR engine is absolutely essential to your success as an AR engineer. Unity is your best option to get started. They offer a free version of their engine as well as an upgraded version for only $35 per month. Compare this to a month at Stanford, it is a drop in the bucket to dive into one of the fastest growing and dynamic industries in the world.

unity3D augmented reality engine

Unity 3D Subscriptions Starting at $0!

 

Jobs in the Field of Augmented Reality

  • Facebook: Applied Research Scientist – Augmented Reality (glassdoor est. $150k)
  • Bosch Tools: Augmented Reality Internship
  • Target: Augmented Reality Engineer
  • Daimler (car company): Junior Software Engineer of Augmented Reality
  • University of Maryland: Augmented Reality Developer

The Potential for augmented reality jobs continues to sky rocket. Now is the time to start training and enter this career. Whether you are looking to shift careers or head into school for the first time, this is an opportunity that you can learn and excel in with dedication and focus!

 

Great Example of How Ar is developing:

 

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