Remember 2016? Pokemon GO was sweeping the world, and many felt that we were on the cusp of an Augmented Reality revolution. Obviously, this hasn’t materialized. Fast forward to today, and we’re yet again having a very similar conversation with regards to Facebook/Meta investing like crazy to create a Metaverse — a fully immersive digital world for us all to live in.
This type of investment from this many players tends to create a self-fulfilling prophecy: whether we like it or not, there is a strong chance we’ll soon end up with a working Metaverse, simply because our Tech Overlords will it so.
And because I’m in the business of planning (not predicting) the future of work, I’ve looked at this possibility and asked myself the following: “what type of jobs might the Metaverse create?” Below are a few preliminary thoughts.
- Virtual Reality (VR): Fully artificial environment; full immersion in a virtual environment.
- Augmented reality (AR): Virtual objects overlaid on the real-world environment; the real world is enhanced with digital objects.
- Mixed reality (MR): Virtual environment combined with the real world; interact with both the real world and a virtual environment.
Extended Reality (XR) / Metaverse: a mix of all of the above.
1. Metaverse Research Scientist
AR and VR research scientists are already a staple of top universities and major tech companies. But as the Metaverse (or whatever you want to call the seamless intertwining of the physical and digital world) slowly becomes a widely accepted idea, we’re going to need a lot more brainpower.
The job of Metaverse Research Scientist won’t simply entail developing a few basic digital models of the real world within which corporations will be able to bring customers and partners. This already exists. What the future holds is bigger. Much bigger. Metaverse Research Scientists will need to build is something akin to the theory of everything, wherein the entire world is visible and actionable digitally (think Ready Player One without the fun). This architecture will be the foundation upon which all other use cases will be built; games, adverts, quality control in factories, connected health, DeFi… the list goes on.
This is an insanely complex undertaking. Candidates will need to be able to build, then scale prototypes using technology at the confluence of computer vision algorithms for 3D computational photography, neural rendering, scene reconstruction, computational imaging, visual-inertial odometry, state estimation, sensor fusion, mapping and localization… and those prototypes would need to get bigger with time.
- How to become a Metaverse Research Scientist: Get a PhD in deep learning, computer vision, computer graphics, or computational imaging. You also need to know C++. Good luck with that.
2. Metaverse Planner
Ideas are cheap. Execution is expensive. Once we have a working Metaverse, the ability to plan and implement all matters of functionalities into a fully virtual world will be absolutely key to most companies. As will selecting the right things to do with(in) this expanding digital world.
This is where the Metaverse Planner comes in. As CEOs set a vision and strategy for the creation and growth of their business’ metaverse revenues, the Planner will need to drive a strategic portfolio of opportunities from proof-of-concept to pilot to deployment. That means identifying market opportunities, building business cases, influencing engineering roadmaps, developing key metrics…
You know… the fun stuff.
It may not seem attractive, but how would you decide if a car company should concentrate on creating virtual driving tests, or on implementing a digital twin business to predict breakdowns? I don’t know, but I’m sure a Planner could figure it out.
- How to become a Metaverse Planner: Have years of management experience, knowledge of HW/SW/SaaS/PaaS marketing and business models, and a great entrepreneurial mindset.
3. Ecosystem Developer
The Metaverse won’t come about on its own, through The Zuck’s sheer volition. An entire ecosystem will need to be built around it. Sensors, CPUs, GPUs, KYC processes, data-lakes, green electricity production, edge computing, laws, regulations… the world is complex, and further digitalising it (more than it already is) will be no easy task. We can compare that difficulty to that currently faced by the car industry transitioning to electric vehicles. The products are there, but the biggest obstacle to their adoption is the lack of widespread charging stations alongside streets and roads and the constant evolution of battery capacities. Similarly, we could have the software and the hardware to have a Metaverse, and still be lacking… everything else.
The Ecosystem Developer would be in charge of coordinating partners and governments to ensure that the various created functionalities are possible on a large scale. They will push for governmental investments in infrastructure and animate large communities of actors.
One key thing they will need to concentrate on is interoperability, to ensure a Metaverse Customer is able to use their virtual items across different experiences. After all, what’s the point of getting a cool skin in a mini-game if you can’t wear it at the mall, too? Other lobbying efforts will be geared towards Financial Institutions, which will need to back distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts for goods and services to be exchanged on the platform.
- How to become an Ecosystem Developer: Have years of Governmental/lobbying experience and a keen understanding of the burgeoning XR industry.
4. Metaverse Safety Manager
You know how the internet is a safe place for everyone? Yeah. Me neither. And anyone who claims the Metaverse will be any better is kidding themselves. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities for it to be a safe, inclusive place, but that won’t happen on its own.
Privacy. In-world ID verification. Safe head-gear. Adequate sensors… We’ll need people who can provide guidance and oversight for all this during design, validation, and mass production stages, making sure our digital world is safe and meets or exceeds applicable regulatory safety requirements. All without sacrificing cutting-edge functionality or design — or cutting into revenues — obviously. That person will be the Metaverse Safety Manager.
It won’t be an easy job. They will need to accurately predict how Metaverse functionalities will be used and could be misused, and identify safety-critical components, systems, and manufacturing steps associated with those predictions. The sheer complexity and the number of moving parts in a new digital world are enough to make my head spin just thinking about it.
- How to become an XR Safety Manager: Have an Engineering degree and consumer electronics/manufacturing experience.
5. Metaverse Hardware Builder
The Metaverse will not (only) be built on code. It will (also) be built on sensors, and cameras, and headsets. Sensors that make you feel touched if someone squeezes your… arm online. Cameras that see if you’re in a horrid mood so that the AI doesn’t bother you too much. Headsets that feel the sun around you and project a summer day in the digital world for added realism. And that’s not even getting into the boring stuff, such as inertial measurement units, visual light cameras, depth cameras to help with tracking, mapping, and localisation…
All this hardware, needed to create a fully digital world that intertwines with the physical world, is expensive. And complex. And a Metaverse Hardware Builder will need to assemble it and adapt it as the Metaverse becomes more complex.
Currently, the best sensors are created for industrial operations and the automotive industry. These are industries with massive amounts of capital. So, as an added challenge, whoever builds the Metaverse’s hardware will need to make sure they can be built cheaply and safely so that the metaverse doesn’t become the sole plaything of the rich.
- How to become a Sensor Builder: have a factory capable of creating complex consumer electronics. Hey, I never said it’d be easy.
6. Metaverse Storyteller
As the experience economy and the concept of gamification continue to gather steam, it is only logical that we ask our extended reality experience to have great storylines one might learn grand lessons from. We want to laugh. We want to cry. We want to learn. We want to see slightly kinky things in the digital world. This is where the Metaverse Storyteller comes in.
This person will be in charge of designing immersive quests for the users to explore the metaverse, training scenarios for the military, hard-to-spot marketing opportunities in the form of narratives for corporations, psychology sessions (why slay inner demons when you can pretend to slay them in the digital world?)… the list goes on.
They will not be paid well, unless you count exposure as payment which, no you don’t. But at least they’ll be selling narrative arcs millions of people will follow to escape the drudgery of their everyday life. And isn’t that the dream?
- How to become a Metaverse Storyteller: Have a Literature Major with a Marketing Minor, start your career at a gaming company, then switch to Tech.
7. World Builder
Once we’ve built our architecture, our hardware, and our storylines, we still need to create entire worlds (think Ellen Page in Inception — or is it Elliot even though he was using his deadname at the time I’m honestly asking). And I don’t mean coding them. I mean imagining them.
This role will require many of the same skills asked of video-game designers, albeit with a potentially entirely different set of rules. World Builders will need to be forward-thinking and facing, as much of what they will dream of won’t yet exist in the form of a technology or a product solution.
They’ll also need to consider rules and ethics. When the digital world feels real, is it OK to kill someone in it? Commit war crimes? We’ve already started asking ourselves these questions, but we’re far from the end of the discussion.
- How to become a World Builder: Be half warrior-poet, half graphic designer. Being good at Minecraft wouldn’t hurt either.
8. Ad-Blocking Expert
How does Facebook… sorry, Meta, make money? By selling subscriptions to its misinformation factory? By harvesting and selling organs? By receiving donations from dictators? Of course not (?). They sell ads. And let me tell you, the Metaverse will probably be run in a very, very similar way. Call it DNA, I guess. You think Instagram’s ads are well-targeted and annoying? Wait until you see what they can do with an entire body of dataset, and are able to LITERALLY FOLLOW YOU AROUND THE WORLD.
Imagine you’re walking around a digital space, and you’re hungry in the real world. Un-knowingly, you stare a bit longer at the digital cafes and restaurants along your way. And what do you know, a minute later, you start getting ads for food. Sounds fun at first, but intrusive in the longer run. So, as soon as we get tired of the novelty, we’ll want ad-blockers that will have to be advanced enough to spot adverts embedded within reality itself. This is where Ad-Blocking Experts come in.
Much like the AdBlock Plus model, I guess they will develop plug-ins that can stop adverts from popping up. They won’t be paid much, but through donations and access to troves of data, they may just be able to make a living.
- How to become an Ad-Blocking Expert: Have some basic knowledge of coding… and access to the Metaverse’s source code.
9. Metaverse Cyber-Security
The metaverse is the perfect target for cyber-attacks and fraud: hacked avatars, NFT theft, biometric/physiological data leaks (brainwave patterns, anyone?), hacked headsets… the possibilities for things to go wrong are very nearly countless.
This is why we’ll need Metaverse Cyber-Security Experts. People who will block attacks in real-time, and will ensure that laws and protocols are reconsidered and amended, and perhaps even invented, to include all the risks of the Metaverse.
I don’t know much about cyber-security, so I’ll leave this paragraph open-ended with this thought: it is just a matter of time before virtual breaches become real-world court cases.
- How to become a Metaverse Cyber-security Expert: Have a background in regular cyber-security and/or a law degree with Tech inclinations.
10. Unpaid Intern
I know. I’m kind of cheating to get to a nice round number. But hear me out. Though this role already exists, it’s important to highlight that it will continue to be central to Metaverse’s future.
Unpaid interns don’t only get coffee. They grind the data. They produce VC’s decks’ appendices. They write the codes for the rocks and the trees. They are the necessary fodder on the back of whom tech empires have been built.
And we should salute their sacrifices.
Also, we should pay them.
Safety, comfort, an engaging narrative arc, customizable hairstyles, parental controls, puzzles, add-ons, widgets, notifications, optimizations, ideological coherence, pleasure and punishment portals, and rumble sensors (beta)… WE’LL HAVE IT ALL IN THE METAVERSE!
But it won’t happen all at once. The Metaverse will require countless new technologies, protocols, companies, innovations, and discoveries to work. And, by definition, it will require countless people to work countless jobs to get anywhere near its grand ambitions.
If you’re lucky enough to get one of these jobs in the near future, just remember one thing: the world is pretty bleak. Please don’t take that darkness with you to the Metaverse.
Want to read more about future jobs? Check out my other article 18 Jobs of the Future (no one is prepared for).
Good luck out there ✌️
11 Metaverse Jobs That Will Exist by 2030 | Metaverse and the World of Work
Amid all the uncertainty about virtual reality, one thing’s for certain: the metaverse is here to stay. Here are 11 jobs that will exist in the metaverse world of work by 2030. Are you ready?
22 April 2022Future of WorkFuture of SkillsTech
Due to a pandemic that quite fundamentally altered, by necessity, the way we work, the way we connect, and how we as individuals merge our work and personal lives, there’s no question change is not only possible, but unavoidable. If you had any hopes of getting back to “normal,” last autumn’s announcement of Meta, a new company brand for Facebook apps and technologies, should wake you from that dream. It’s time now to embrace that the metaverse will not just continue to shift how we work, but will also create new metaverse jobs.
New job possibilities in the metaverse
Emerging from this somewhat impromptu virtual way of living imposed on by the coronavirus, whether you’ve resolved never to return to a typical 9-to-5 or have dedicated yourself fully to remote working, we can all probably agree the old way is not coming back. And drumming this point home is the onset of the metaverse, an unrealized but increasingly inevitable new “new” way of working and interacting.
The metaverse will radically change existing jobs and create new ones. In one sense, the very nature of the metaverse and the ways in which technologies will be incorporated and expanded will enable jobs that previously demanded in-house presence—such as customer service—to be done remotely.
And of course the technology and our increasing reliance on it also creates the need for jobs that don’t currently exist in metaverse form. All of this change means virtual fertile ground for jobs and career trajectories that were unimaginable before. There’s endless space in the metaverse, and lots of opportunity. Here are some jobs you’ve never heard of that, by the year 2030, are predicted to be in demand.
1. Avatar clothing designers
Getting away from the pure technology, the real intrigue of the metaverse is the notion that we can exist there as avatars, going about our business in almost every sense as we can in our real worlds. So, who will dress us? Avatar clothing designers.
2. Data bounty hunters
Because in the metaverse data is everything, and you will want to ensure you have ownership of all of your data, there is a clear space for data bounty hunters—who will have the necessary legal and data mining expertise.
3. Metahuman doctors
Here’s where it gets super sci-fi. In theory, our biometric and physiological data will be tied to our avatars, making it feasible that medical professionals–combining “hard” digital sciences–can diagnose and actually run tests of potential treatments.
4. Metaverse construct architects
Interaction and mobility are key to the metaverse, and constructs—which are anything from a place, object, or experience—need to be developed to make the metaverse a reality.
5. Metaverse event directors
Events such as concerts and museum exhibits have already taken place with great result and participation via game environments like Fortnite, and this will only continue to grow in the metaverse. Event directors who specifically understand this new reality of event experience will be in high demand.
Photo: Harsch Shivam on Unsplash
6. Metaverse research scientist
In the most simple terms, the metaverse is a digital replication of reality. That is no small thing. A metaverse research scientist will be essential to the metaverse technology. This will entail many skill sets, from software engineering, computer engineering, game development, data science, machine learning, computer vision, deep learning, and big data engineering. A research scientist is tasked with creating an architecture that adheres to the idea of everything.
7. Ecosystem developer
The ecosystem developer will have the task of scaling and bringing to life the possibilities of the metaverse. Ensuring the infrastructure is in place to enable to the technology and its users to interoperate will take strong lobbying efforts and a keen understanding of the XR industry. The ecosystem developer will be charged with persuading government to scale the various metaverse functionalities.
8. Metaverse safety manager
Privacy issues have always been synonymous with the internet. In the metaverse, the stakes could be even higher. Providing for safety and security will be a key element in how comfortable living and working in the metaverse, so this is a job that will be in high demand. In the complex world of the metaverse, security will be in the hands of the safety manager.
9. Metaverse hardware creator
The vision of the metaverse relies as much on hardware as it does on savvy coding. Headsets, cameras, sensors: These are the new tools we will all have to gradually adopt and adapt to, and someone needs to create them.
Metaverse and the world of work: key takeaways
Our work lives will all dramatically change in the virtual world known as the metaverse. If you organization waits too long to plan a metaverse strategy, it might be too late. That’s why it’s so important for companies to have a future skills plan and for individuals to reskill and upskill for the future. New changes and new opportunities are coming. Will you be ready?
Photo: Martin Sanchez via Unsplash
10. World builder
Either the most fabulous or terrifying job title ever, a world builder in the metaverse will be similar to a video-game developer, but with more vague and potentially more high-stakes responsibilities. Future thinking is key here, as is considering the social impacts of what is possible to do in these worlds being built.
As virtual you and real you move about in your own closely connected spaces, you can rely on advertisers to target you and pester you senseless. Future metaverse ad-blockers will help thwart these annoyances.
The World of Work and the Metaverse
Many of the new jobs we will see emerge as the metaverse moves from concept to reality are the expected technical careers—coding and game design, for example–but others will merge into a new realm of what it means when our reality replicates itself virtually, when what we eat, shop, and wear blurs the avatar/human boundary. It’s in that space that previously and even currently unconsidered metaverse jobs will become viable career paths.
Exploring 6 Great Jobs in the Metaverse
July 29, 2022
ITCareerFinder breaks down some of the most sought-after jobs in the metaverse and the skills you need to level-up in each position.
This page will be updated regularly with the latest and greatest metaverse career paths.
In October 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta and announced plans to create 10,000 new high-skilled jobs in the European Union (EU) to help shape the metaverse.
It turns out that Facebook isn’t the only one betting heavily on the growth of the metaverse, over 160 companies are jumping in too.
So what is the metaverse and what types of jobs might it create?
Broadly speaking, the metaverse is a shared virtual world. In theory, people will be able to create an avatar and travel into this immersive virtual world to socialize, play games, work, create, shop or even remotely attend a concert or sporting event by wearing virtual reality headsets.
Much like the transition to Web 2.0, mobile technologies and the Internet of everything (IoT) devices, the metaverse is creating new IT and hybrid job opportunities, which require a combination of technical and non-technical skills.
To keep your career thriving in the metaverse, here’s a look at 6 roles that are in demand right now and poised to explode in the future.
- Product ManagersGiven the growth in metaverse users and the anticipated demand for products and content, companies are going to need even more product managers to own the end user experience, test and work out glitches in new products, evangelize new initiatives and drive product development with multiple teams of engineers, designers and product specialists.In fact, the rush has already started. Of the approximately 3,200 jobs posted on Meta’s career page, almost 2,400 are for various types of product managers. Other companies advertising for metaverse product managers include Snap, Google, Oculus and more.Product manager is a highly visible position that can have a big impact on a company’s top and bottom lines. It’s no wonder that experienced pros are already among the most sought-after candidates, commanding average salaries of $123,365 and as high as $176,000.
- Hot Product Mgmt. Skills in the MetaverseWhile you need technical knowledge and a deep understanding of development and creative environments, product manager is a hybrid role that doesn’t require coding expertise. Best of all, it is a step-up for developers looking to flex their non-technical muscles and transition into management.If you’re looking to develop your product management chops, consider taking some online courses or enrolling in a product management boot camp.
- 3D Game DesignersWhile there will always be a need for programmers and developers to turn a game designer’s vision into a playable game, Unity recently noted that game making is already trending towards far more artists relative to the number of technologists. Industry experts expect the ratio to increase as the metaverse grows. Who are the artists charged with building the metaverse gaming experience?As the creative force behind the development of a video game, game designers in the metaverse will be responsible for designing, prototyping and building an all-immersive, 3D gaming experience that engages players like never before.In fact, the metaverse will give game designers the chance to broaden their skills and appeal to new users, legitimizing gaming as a career path according to Meysam Moradpour, CEO of Moments. Currently, the average salary for a 3D game designer in the U.S. is $78,000.Hot Game Design Skills in the MetaverseIf you want to break into video games as a 3D designer, be aware that it requires a broad range of technical, interpersonal and creative competencies. For instance, you’ll need solid knowledge of computer animation, 3D modeling and backgrounds, illustration, lighting, game interfaces and more. You may also need basic programming skills and you’ll certainly need to master popular gaming software programs such as Unity, Blender, Maya, and Unreal Engine.To qualify for any role that blends art and technology, you’ll also need creativity, excellent communication and collaboration skills, leadership and a strong analytical mind. Some game design degrees combine the soft skills and technical expertise that breed success in this field.
- StorytellersStorytellers also stand to benefit from the evolution of the metaverse. Unlike today’s video game writers, storytellers in the metaverse will operate at a higher level and be responsible for crafting a compelling immersive storyline for various genres of games and experiences including social, action, sports, simulation, puzzle, role-playing, educational or training.For example, with music events taking place within the game, Fortnite and Minecraft have transformed into something more than a game.
- Hot Storytelling Skills in the MetaverseWhile the national average salary for a game writer is just $53,155 per year, you can earn about $100,000 with experience, plus you can get your foot in the door with a college degree or high school diploma, some creative writing experience and a passion for gaming. However, taking an online course can help you master the nuances of the genre and boost your market value.What soft skills do you need for storytelling? Like a movie, the user should feel like they are part of the fictional world. According to master storyteller Pixar, effective storytelling involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move an audience.Also, because storytellers work alongside the programmer, game designer and developer to create the look and feel of a video game, having a basic understanding of game development, design and programming can help you craft better narratives in the metaverse and beyond.
- Hardware EngineersThe metaverse will not only be built on code, games and apps; operating in a perpetually available three-dimensional environment will require the development of new cameras, headsets, sensors and wearables.Such technologies exist today, but a lot of work is needed to make them wireless, comfortable, lightweight and capable of communicating touch, emotions or the surrounding area.As an example, a hardware systems engineer at Facebook Reality Labs helps to architect, drive strategy for, build and test prototypes for future consumer AR / VR / Wearables reality experiences.
- Hot Hardware Skills in the MetaverseCurrently, having several years of product development experience or embedded systems design and/or a background in electrical, computer, mechanical or optical engineering or physics can qualify you for a position as a virtual reality hardware engineer.You’ll also need familiarity with important virtual reality concepts and tools such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software, degree of freedom (DoF), haptics, eye tracking, head tracking, field of view and so forth.To become a true VR engineering expert, there will obviously be a lot of skills to master, starting with programming languages, data collection and analysis tools. Also, AI, robotics, sensors or cameras, depending on the product you want to develop and how they are used.
- Metaverse Marketing SpecialistWith the metaverse market expected to reach $814.2 billion by 2028, companies are already queuing up to hire what is becoming one of the most in-demand roles in the metaverse, a metaverse marketing expert.These game-changing pioneers must be able to conceive, create and execute an immersive, interactive ad campaign or experience that blurs the lines between the physical and digital and appeals to millennials and members of Generation Z.Unlike the flat, two-dimensional web, companies will have the ability to create full-scale experiences (including games) that tell a story, allow users to interact with their product, and eventually make a purchase, without leaving the metaverse.For example, Nike is teaming up with Roblox to create a virtual world called Nikeland where users will be able to dress up their avatars in Nike-branded sneakers and apparel.
- Hot Metaverse Marketing SkillsTo succeed in what is being called the next frontier of marketing, specialists will need a broad range of technical expertise, business acumen, vision and creativity as well as the ability to analyze data and trends to formulate a long-term strategy.Take your skills to the next level by listening to metaverse podcasts, following thought leaders, or complete an online course that delves into the metaverse and the future of XR technology in marketing.
As you can see, jobs and career paths are starting to crystalize inside the metaverse economy. While many new positions are going to be in computer science and engineering, professionals with strong soft skills, technical prowess and business acumen can also get in on the ground floor in non-technical or hybrid roles and see their prospects rise. Those that embrace the metaverse early on and expand their skill sets could be the real winners. The metaverse is coming – are you ready to immerse yourself?