The metaverse represents more than a technological buzzword, it’s the next business frontier. The investment bank, Citi, forecasts up to $13 trillion in potential revenue from the metaverse by 2030 from as many as 5 billion users. To capitalize on this enormous opportunity–and avoid being left behind– companies are racing to recruit the engineering talent they need to build their new virtual realms. In short, they’re searching for metaverse developers.
But what qualifies such a developer? How do businesses know what skills to look for in the development talent they’re recruiting? Just as the metaverse itself can be tricky to conclusively define, it can also be difficult to articulate precisely what a metaverse developer is. To gain clarity, let’s take a closer look at what the metaverse is along with the skills required to bring its immersive digital worlds to life.
Enter the Metaverse
Generally speaking, the metaverse refers to the next evolution of life online: interactive virtual worlds alongside and overlapping the physical world. More simply, it’s also been described as a shared, 3D version of the Internet.
Imagine a digital avatar of yourself interacting with a fully-realized, three-dimensional digital space. Through this avatar, you would be able to do nearly anything you can in the physical world. Inhabiting a digital body, you could go shopping in a virtual mall, join friends at real-time events, work in a communal virtual office, or buy and sell valuable digital assets.
Also, you could visit tourist attractions on the other side of the globe in seconds or invest in one-of-a-kind digital art. Imagine instantly joining friends, family, or colleagues thousands of miles away, not through a 2D Zoom call but in a realistic digital room, where your avatars can interact face-to-face.
This is just a taste of the metaverse: a parallel digital world.
The Building Blocks: Metaverse Development Skills
This digital world isn’t built from any single new technology or skill. Instead, metaverse developers draw from a combination of several existing skill sets. At WillDom, we bring together communities of experts in these technologies, which form the foundation of the metaverse. These developers need to have the following skills:
Fundamentally, developers in the metaverse space must be familiar with the coding languages on which the internet is built.
3D Modeling and Animation Engines
Developed to help gaming studios create realistic game worlds, 3D graphics, and physics engines are now valuable tools for rendering worlds in the metaverse.
Today, developers often work with either Unreal Engine 5 (coded in C#) or Unity (coded in C++) to create realistic digital spaces for the metaverse.
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design
UX and UI designers study how to make customer interactions with a company’s products and services as smooth and seamless as possible.
In the context of the metaverse, clever UX and UI design can help billions of new users quickly adopt the new technology by making it easy and intuitive to understand.
Blockchain is a database technology that keeps permanent records of transactions in a decentralized public ledger. Since identical copies of this digital ledger are distributed to multiple computers, it’s extremely difficult to hack this information.
Why is this important to metaverse development? Blockchain technology allows developers to create and scale a thriving virtual economy where users can safely buy and sell physical and digital assets with cryptocurrency.
Extended Reality (XR) technologies
XR (Extended Reality) covers both AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technologies. These technologies extend our reality in one of two ways. They can blend digital information with our physical reality (like smart glasses or phone apps layering digital information over what we’re seeing and hearing), and they can also immerse us in a completely digital environment, as with VR headsets.
Though XR technology is not strictly necessary to experience the metaverse, major development powerhouses (like Meta) see its potential to give users a full-dive experience.
Metaverse Development Jobs
This is hardly an exhaustive list of the skills which go into metaverse development because there is far more to building the metaverse than coding.
Metaverse development jobs include an entire ecosystem of complementary skill sets, for example:
- Marketing specialists
- Cyber security experts
- Product managers
- Data scientists
- Hardware engineers
Metaverse Game Development Offers a Preview
Today’s metaverse games are like a sneak preview of what it might look like when these technologies are combined to create a fully realized virtual environment. Games like Axie Infinity, Fortnite, Roblox, Decentraland, Sandbox, Second Life, and Meta’s Horizon Worlds hint at the metaverse’s potential.
Through their customized avatars, players enjoy socializing with each other, interacting with a dynamic virtual environment, and participating in a booming virtual economy.
In fact, many of today’s top metaverse developers began in game development, honing their skills by creating these immersive platforms.