We're at the dawn of a new technical revolution, called the Metaverse. When fully realized, it will be the most sophisticated digital platform humans have ever created. It will be a platform for everything—work, sport, entertainment. This platform will offer a new way of interaction—a three-dimensional simulation that allows users to truly immerse themselves in a particular activity. The Metaverse will lead to the next stage of digital transformation that will ultimately change how we interact online—from flat content to spatial, 3-dimensional virtual environment.
Industry leaders like Meta, Epic, and Nvidia invest billions of dollars into the research and development of Metaverse. And there is a reason for that—large financial institutions like Morgan Stanley predict that the Metaverse will be a multi-trillion dollar market. And this new market will create a range of jobs, many of which did not exist before the Metaverse.
This article will explain what designers need to know about the Metaverse, whether you should be ready for this new market and offer a step-by-step guide on how to get a job. (Related reading: How to craft an NFT strategy for your clients)
What we'll cover
Which industries will have new jobs in the Metaverse?
The idea of connecting people is at the heart of the Metaverse. The platform is seen as a network of virtual spaces (worlds) that will open up new ways for people to connect online. It will allow a more natural way of digital communication—users will feel a sense of presence so they can interact more naturally in the 3D space. It will have a substantial impact on our society.
Most business sectors will be affected by the Metaverse. Just as every company a few decades ago created a website, we're approaching the point where every company will have a presence in this new virtual space. This will create a demand for a few groups of professionals.
Metaverse is a product, and any product should be well-designed to create a good user experience. Designers will be by far the most in-demand professionals of this next generation platform. Every object in 3D space—both 3D objects and virtual services—needs to be well-designed. So when it comes to metaverse design, we can expect demand for a few design roles:
UX designers are people who design experiences. The Metaverse will be a massive collection of services that users can access (everything we have in the real world will be transferred to the Metaverse), and every service should be designed to be accessible for all groups of users.
In the early days of the Metaverse, we’ll likely have skeuomorphic environments—that is, digital twins of real-world spaces (like a virtual copy of the Empire State building, for instance). That visual familiarity allows first-time users to quickly transfer their knowledge about the real world to the virtual world, easing the new user onboarding process and creating a comfortable initial experience. So, the skills that architects have in building real-world buildings and spaces will, in many ways, be transferable and valuable in the Metaverse.
3D artists will craft 3D objects for the virtual space—from large-scale objects such as a city district to small-scale objects such as the t-shirt of a user avatar.
AR/VR designers are people who adjust virtual spaces for AR/VR interaction mediums. They will ensure users can comfortably explore virtual spaces and interact with any virtual object using AR glasses or VR headsets. They will work with UX designers, architects, and 3D artists to achieve this goal.
In the early days of the Metaverse, we can likely expect 3D artists to explore the field of fashion design, but after a while, fashion designers will have a separate role, which will design the clothing that user avatars wear in the Metaverse. Luxury brands like Balenciaga have already started to explore this direction, and released a collection of digital goods for Fortnite, a metaverse-like platform. Plus, there are no hard and fast rules on what users should wear in the Metaverse, so it gives designers a lot of freedom to try new approaches.
Hardware designers will design AR glasses and VR headsets we use to access the Metaverse and make them comfortable to use. One of the challenges that hardware designers have to overcome is creating devices that allow long user sessions (devices should not cause any discomfort when people use them for hours).
Now, let’s discuss a few non-designer roles that will also be in high demand.
The Metaverse will be a massive online experience, with hundreds of live players (or thousands) participating in a single, shared simulation, like a game or music concert. That means that metaverse hardware and software should be capable of synchronizing this information in real-time to create a live experience. That’s why we likely see a huge demand for engineers who can create distributed systems that can scale well. It's likely that developers who previously worked on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) like Eve Online or Destiny 2 will have a significant competitive advantage since they know how to create large digital worlds that can be run on the average customer hardware.
The Metaverse will motivate businesses to find new ways to engage with users, and research specialists will have to find new tactics to improve user engagement. There is a strong chance that we will see the rise of new gamification techniques for this new medium, because gamification allows for good user engagement and retention. Users are more likely to return when they have a specific reason for that, and gamification gives them this reason.
Virtual space moderator
Safety and security are two integral properties of the Metaverse. That's why the role of virtual space moderator will be in demand. Moderators will be in charge of controlling safety—they will aim to minimize the chance of cyberbullying and other anti-social behavior. We likely expect the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that will be used for early detection of policy violations and work in tandem with moderators to create safer virtual spaces.
If you’re interested in learning more about job opportunities in the Metaverse, Metaverse Jobs is one good resource, with job descriptions and expected pay rates for various roles in this field.
How to get a job in the Metaverse: a step-by-step guide
To land a job in the Metaverse, you'll need to have the right experience, knowledge, and motivation. To maximize your chances of getting the job, you should start preparing for the Metaverse jobs. And this 5-step guide will help you with that.
1. Learn web3 technologies
A solid understanding of all the concepts that the Metaverse will be based on will help you set a strong foundation for your career. The Metaverse will unite all the latest web3 technologies, so if you want to find a job in the Metaverse, you first need to learn the difference between web 2 vs web 3, and the latest web3 technologies, such as blockchain and non-fungible token (NFT).
Once you get a sense of web3, you’ll likely understand why the Metaverse won’t have a single owner (much like today’s internet, especially in its early days). The metaverse is likely to be a decentralized platform built using blockchain technology.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain allows the creation of a decentralized ecosystem where thousands of independent nodes can synchronize in real-time. And this allows the creation of massive live experiences for hundreds or thousands of people.
Blockchain will also be used to prove or manage asset ownership. The sense of ownership of digital items will play an integral role in the Metaverse economy. Today, the ownership of digital objects is limited to the platform we use. For example, we cannot bring items that we've bought in Minecraft to Fortnite. Metaverse users won't experience this problem because the items they own won't be tied to a platform but to the owner of the items (user). NFT, a blockchain-based technology, guarantees that a particular user owns a particular item at one time. This technology will be used to both verify ownership and transfer digital items between owners (i.e., sell and exchange digital clothing or products).
2. Get hands on experience with AR and VR devices
The 3D world of the Metaverse will likely be powered by augmented and virtual reality devices. Users will wear AR glasses or a VR headset to join the virtual world. If you want to work in the Metaverse, you need to experience AR and VR for yourself. Test out an Oculus or Valve Index VR headset to understand how the interaction in VR feels, what advantages and limitations this medium has right now and what opportunities for product creators it offers.
3. Experience virtual worlds
It's hard to explain what a virtual world is in plain words; it's much easier to experience it. It's true that the concept of the Metaverse that a company like Meta portrait is years away from now. But the good news is that you don't have to wait until it is ready. You can get a sense of the virtual world right now. Platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox allow you to immerse yourself in the virtual world and understand how people interact in it. When you have a solid understanding of how things work in the virtual world, this understanding will help you build products that will work in the Metaverse.
4. Understand what exactly you want to do in the Metaverse
The role you choose to pursue in the Metaverse will define both the set of skills and tools you will need to master. Suppose you decide to pursue the role of a 3D artist. In this case, you will need to master tools like Blender, Maya, or Cinema 4D that allow you to create 3D objects for the virtual space.
You will also need to learn 3D engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine because a 3D engine not only enables you to render a virtual environment but also gives you a chance to experience it (simulate how users interact with this environment). Simulations of 3D objects will be a natural part of your daily job because it will help you understand potential issues and opportunities of the virtual space you create before regular users join it.
5. Sell your skills
Once you have a solid understanding of what you want to do in the Metaverse, you need to create a compelling presentation of your skills. There is no other way to do that rather than to build your personal brand. And a personal portfolio website will play a vital role in this process.
Remember that you need to tie each of your skills to the value you can offer to the Metaverse creators. It's worth learning about the problems that the Metaverse creators face right now and describe how you can help solve them in your portfolio. For example, if you're a fashion designer who has previously designed real clothing, you can describe how your skills can help you design virtual clothing and showcase a few of your latest works to prove this statement.
But a portfolio website alone is not enough; you need to be proactive when it comes to finding a new role. Start building a network of contacts of people who create solutions for the Metaverse. Good news—it will be much easier than you expect since you can search for relevant contacts both in the real and virtual worlds. For example, you can join thematic events at Decentraland to find people interested in creating new services in Metaverse.
Last but not least, you can write about the Metaverse. Start a blog or YouTube channel where you can express your opinion about the Metaverse and how certain things should look and work. The industry is still at the early stages of designing Metaverse, so your opinions can be precious. If the community finds your ideas interesting, you likely will be rewarded with relevant offers.