Education, Student Life

Extended Reality (XR) and career opportunities in the field

May 29, 2019

Rufina Kulbaeva, Online Media Student, BA (Mediekultur), Department for Culture and Media, Arcada UAS

Course: Mobile Design   Lecturer: Mirko Ahonen  


Extended reality (XR) is an exciting industry that grows rapidly. In 2016, the market size of XR was $6.1 billion and it’s expected to be $215 billion by 2021. It isn’t only increasing in the gaming and entertainment industry. It’s in demand in industries such as training and education, healthcare and medicine, retail and shopping, design and architecture, and still growing!

What does it mean for the business world? There is continuous demand for the new highly qualified professionals.

What does it mean for young and creative students entering the industry? NEW OPPORTUNITIES!

Know your XR

Here is a quick glossary to some of the main terms. Together these technologies form the XR – extended reality.

360 video

360 video captures the whole spherical space around the camera. It is easily accessible in social media, for example Facebook, web browsers and mobile apps. It and can also be watched through a VR headset.

AR – Augmented Reality

AR is a technology that layers computer-generated images, figures and texts onto the view of the real world through a mobile device screen. Remember Pokemon Go?

MR – Mixed Reality

MR is a category of AR that blends interactive 3D content with your environment. For example, with this technology you can see buildings on a street that aren’t really there etc.

VR -Virtual Reality

VR immerses you in the new world inside of your VR headset. The user can travel inside the Virtual Reality space, look around, hear the sound effects and even touch items in it using a joystick.


Career opportunities in XR

The Tech side

1. XR Developers

XR companies are always in need of Developers. XR Developers are the crucial part of the team and work closely with almost every department, from 3D artists to engineers. As a rule, they have a background in Computer Science, Software Engineering or equivalent. The most common skills that are required from the developers is knowing XR Platforms like Unity, and such coding languages as C#, C++, Java and so on. Having design, 3D or similar skills will give a developer an advantage amongst other applicants.


2. XR System Validation Engineers

System Validation Engineers are the people to check the systems created by developers. Their job is to test, resolve technical problems and provide feedback for further modification. The skills required for this position are the same as for the XR Developers, given that they work together. In addition to that, System Validation Engineers are required to have experience with Configuration Management, Test Management and to be able to use defect tracking tools.



The Creative side

1. 3D and 2D Artists

3D and 2D Artists are responsible for all that is visual in the XR projects. They create all kinds of visual effects from models to textures for different project purposes.The Artists are required to have experience in 3D and 2D design and modeling, Adobe softwares like Photoshop and Illustrator, and such platforms as Unity and Lumberyard.


2. UX&UI Designers

UX&UI Designers are involved in interaction design, user experience and interface. They are required to have skills  both in programming and in using visual effects software and platforms.


3. Sound designers

The music that drives us when we play games, the funny sounds our AR masks make when we take a selfie, the sound effects we hear experiencing Virtual Reality, it’s all there. Among requirements for Sound Designers is experience with Pro Tools, knowledge of sound implementation with Unity and understanding of Interaction Sound Design.


4. Story tellers, Narrative Designers

For Narrative Designers, it’s important to have excellent communication skills and the understanding of techniques to invoke emotions in the consumers, being able to not only create a story but also lively characters, dialogues. An exciting game plot, an intriguing story, a possibility to be a part of it and affect it directly, after all that’s the only thing that makes us curious about the games and wanting to come for more!  In addition to that it’s good to have an understanding of the market trends and interests.



Other free self-development resources

Here is a list of hubs and non-profit organizations that help young professionals grow in their XR career.


FIVR stands for Finnish VR association. It provides its members with free Hub Spaces where young XR professionals can use tools and equipment for free. Becoming a member doesn’t cost anything. Also, in their website there is a section with vacant positions from different companies in the field, as well as announcements for XR events.

2. The ShortCut

The ShortCut is a community-driven organization that arranges many free courses and informational events about technology and business.

3. Oodi Facilities

Oodi library provides visitors with free to use creative spaces like small recording studios and rooms with Creative Cloud tools.



Career in XR:

What is XR?:


The Mobile Design course is offered as part of our Film and Media education at Arcada UAS: