You want to know about Virtual Reality (VR for short). You want to get into an industry that is growing at an increasingly rapid pace with lower competition than say app development, or graphic design. You have made a great choice!
Last year Fast Company Magazine named Virtual Reality Avatar Programmer as one of their top design jobs in 2025.
In the past (and even right now) whenever I looked to build skills I wanted to know what industries were coming up, and what industries I could get into with a lighter level of competitions. It is hard to enter a market that is oversaturated. Consider graphic design being at the penthouse in over saturation, app development sits around the 20th floor, and virtual reality, well…
Virtual Reality is a ripe market, and now is the time to break in on the 3rd floor.
What is Virtual Reality?
Simple Definition: Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world, and with high quality VR move around in it and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of head-mounted goggles with a screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed spaces with multiple large screens.
What is an Avatar Programmer?
An avatar programmer is someone who develops characters for virtual reality. They will be in charge of recreating celebrities, experts, or average Joes & Janes in the field of VR. The need for this position will be most prominent in game development, education, and mapping direction.
What is the need for Virtual Reality?
One of the best areas the field of VR is tapping into is educational resources. Teachers are finding that virtual reality is an incredible tool to place children into the environment they are studying. smell, see, and hear the environment so that they can better and remember the material they are studying.
Scientific America put out an article on the topic of multi-sensory learning: Scientific America Article
Education is one of the best places for Avatar Programmers to thrive. They can bring to life the great men and women of history in order to give people the ability to reach into the past in order learn and remeber crucial events that shaped our world.
Fantastic article elaborating on VR in the classroom: Emerging Education Technology
By interconnecting how we learn we are creating stronger touch, sound, and sight points for our memories to grasp.
How to Become a Virtual Reality Avatar Programer?
There is no clear cut path for VR but that is what makes it such a great industry to break into. When it comes to the more viable industries they are quickly becoming over saturated. Getting onboard when the path is murky is a sure sign of the best time to dive into the industry.
Skills Required for VR:
- Start out with C# (C-Sharp). This will be your entry point to navigating the field of VR.
- Become efficient at 3D object rendering.
- I recommend Auto Desk 360 Fusion. Used by many in the industry and there are fantastic tutorials on Lynda.com
- Get Good, no great, at Unity3D VR Engine.
Coming into the industry without any game development experience will be difficult, but it certainly can be done. Listed below are some courses and training opportunities for you to break into the industry by overcoming the technical hurdles.
Education for becoming a Virtual Reality Developer
1) Virtual Reality (VR) App Development from the University of California San Diego
This course is an all inclusive study and practice in the field of Virtual reality. Learning from some of the best in the industry this course will give you the in-depth knowledge you need to succeed.
2) Maximize Your C#/C++ Skills
This course should technically be listed first, but I placed VR Development first because I think it is just as important to know what you are getting into as it is to have the technical 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#. Taught by Gerry O’Brien, Senior Content Development Manager at Microsoft, his knowledge and expertise will set you on the right track.
3) Learn how to build 3-dimensional objects to bring into your virtual world.
Understanding how to build your own Virtual world will give you the edge on your competition. You will be able to create and manipulate your virtual world and have nearly limitless possibilities. Lynda.com offers an incredible course to get you started in Autodesk Fusion 360. This is the premier program for creating 3D virtual reality objects.
Get Training on CAD Fusion 360 with Lynda.com!
Learn to use key technology software to build out objects on 3D printers, engineering architecture, bridge schematics, car design, jewelry design, rocket/spacecraft modeling, along with so much more…
This Course is Taught by Nick Kloski. He is the Co-Founder of HoneyPoint3D, which is a leading educational program for rapid 3D prototyping. Nick has taught more than 7,000 students between his in-person and online training courses. He is an considered an expert in his field, having been asked to conduct many interviews and articles on the subject of 3D printing and prototyping. Before launching HoneyPoint3D Nick worked for Oracle and Sun Microsystems for 16 years where he in a technical marketing role and trainer.
4) Build out a Virtual world with the Unity 3D Virtual Reality Engine
Once you have the strong technical basics down you will want to begin creating your own world of virtual reality features and designs. This is where having a high quality VR engine is absolutely essential to your success as an VR 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.