The ‘metaverse’ is dominating headlines following Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to change Facebook’s name and focus, ushering in ‘the next evolution of social connection’.
Facebook announced it would invest at least $10 billion into developing augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) hardware, software and content. Other major tech companies are following suit. Microsoft and Google have also announced major investments into developing metaverse technology.
The metaverse is most commonly used as an umbrella term to describe a series of immersive online experiences incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality, created with the goal of making your online experience as close as possible to real-world interactions. The term was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, which envisions a virtual world in which people interact with each other through digital avatars.
But the metaverse won’t just appear out of nowhere - it needs to be built. We’re already seeing companies advertising for metaverse-related roles, and candidates with the right mix of skills and experience will be highly sought after in the tech world. But it’s not just candidates with tech backgrounds who will benefit. The metaverse will require a wide range of people to bring it to life.
Here are five types of people we think the metaverse is likely to need:
Data will play a big role in creating the metaverse. As artificial intelligence and machine learning technology improve, we will not only be able to gather more data, but that data is more likely to be accurate and free of human error. We’re also likely to see a continued shift towards cloud-based storage to avoid having to duplicate data sets.
As virtual reality is set to become the default online experience in the Metaverse, data scientists who are able to translate data into visualisations or models will be in high demand as they will be the ones building the foundations on which metaverse applications are built.
Currently, most candidates with data science backgrounds will be applying their knowledge to real-world scenarios. In the metaverse, they’ll be using their skills to build the infrastructure that the metaverse will rely on to function.
Candidates wanting to find work in the metaverse will need to be able to create prototypes based off algorithms to be used for things like 3D computational photography, neural rendering, scene reconstruction, computational imaging, visual-inertial odometry, state estimation, sensor fusion, mapping and localisation.
They’re also likely to have studied deep learning, computer vision, computer graphics, or computational imaging.
The metaverse is going to look different and will most likely be accessed differently as well, on different devices. What will it look like as we sign on? What will we see? What will we look like to other users, and how much can we personalise that?
Programmers, developers, coders, engineers and UX designers are all going to play a part in figuring out the answers to these questions. Candidates with skills in these areas will be the builders of the metaverse.
Everything in the metaverse, however it is defined, will need to be designed and built by someone - and brands are already getting in on the action. Might we see digital buildings designed by Zaha Hadid? How about digital Prada handbags?
The ‘Second Life’ marketplace (arguably a metaverse in its own right) boasts millions of digital items for sale - It’s surely only a matter of time before ‘digital fashion designer’ is a genuine occupation.
As the internet has evolved, so have the crimes that people commit using it. Some possible crimes that could exist in the metaverse include hacked avatars, NFT theft, biometric/physiological data leaks (think medical records or brainwave patterns), hacked headsets and most likely a host of other crimes we haven’t even thought of yet.
The metaverse will need people who can not only block real-time attacks but also anticipate possible risks and prepare for them. As countries update their laws to the new threats that the metaverse brings, there is also likely to be a demand for candidates with legal backgrounds or experience in risk and compliance for large organisations.
Other important areas are likely to be protecting people’s privacy, developing verification systems and ensuring equipment like headsets are safe to use and compliant with local regulations.
The metaverse will primarily be accessed via headsets, cameras and sensors that pick up on real-world actions and translate them into a virtual experience. For example, having face recognition software that picks up on your mood and adjusts your experience, or a sensor that picks up on the weather outside and reflects it in the virtual world. The hardware needed to access this world is likely to be both expensive and complex, requiring specialist experience.
The people who will be making the designers’ visions a reality are likely to have experience in engineering and robotics. Given that the automotive industry has some of the most developed sensors on the market right now, it’s likely that we will see a lot of candidates with this type of experience on their CVs getting jobs as hardware builders for the metaverse.
It’s been said that storytelling is really the oldest profession in the world. Many ancient civilisations had some form of an oral tradition that predates the invention of primitive technologies like the wheel.
It might seem like the Metaverse will favour those with STEM backgrounds, but there will always be a need for creatives. People who can create avatars or design digital clothing to dress them in, write compelling video game storylines, market new products and applications and use new technology to create new forms of stories will be highly sought after in the metaverse.
Imagine being able to step into your favourite book or film, experience that world and interact with the characters. Once the technology and hardware have been created, who’s going to bring it all to life in a way that’s engaging to people?
These candidates are likely to have backgrounds in media, marketing or the arts. Experience in animation or video game design would also be helpful as there will be greater visual and narrative possibilities afforded by the metaverse.
So there you have it – the 5 types of people who we think will define the metaverse. Of course, there are those who feel groups like Facebook are too late and that it already exists in multiple forms!
What do you think? Take a look at our latest immersive tech jobs to see what the future might hold.