The tenth episode of our Insights Live series featured moderator Daniel Colaianni (AIXR – The Academy of International Extended Reality), Ferhan Özkan (XR Bootcamp), Martyn Makinson (FourPointZero) and Ivan Nikitin (Sensorium). Are you looking to launch your XR career and kickstart your immersive journey? XR needs talented people. XR organizations have consistently identified skills shortages as their top issue.
In this session, our panellists discussed talent development within XR. As an industry, XR is expanding faster than its talent pool. Our XR leaders shared practical insights to help you build a career in XR.
The Key Highlights
What is the Current State of the XR Industry?
The XR industry is growing at a fast pace. Mainstream adoption of trends like the Metaverse has forced more research and development from organisations. This has created many jobs, but the talent pool is lacking in both quantity and quality. There is a desire amongst many to create a fast track pathway that produces experienced talents in a shorter period of time, which isn’t sustainable.
From a hiring standpoint, candidates may be knowledgeable about XR but they lack creative ideas. This has created a demand for those from the creative industries. Ideal candidates must also be able to demonstrate patience in the growth of early concepts into final products. Advice is given to build a portfolio of work, find an area of specialisation, and demonstrate a passion to work in the industry.
What Skills Should I Look to Build?
At a bare minimum, recruiters expect to see the standard soft skills and industry level experience. For designers, artists, and those who aren’t experienced in coding, there is more work to do. It is made clear that small to mid sized organisations consider those who don’t code to be a luxury.
You can however stand out with the application of existing skills to the XR space, for example, in the healthcare or education fields. The immersive tech industry looks for people to enter with transferable skillset’s, and it is even desirable for recruiters to seek people with diverse experience and industry backgrounds.
For those who don’t code or are coming from a non XR background, it is encouraged that prototyping skills are developed. There is a great deal of value placed on a portfolio of creative ideas that you have turned from a concept into reality.
What do Recruiters look for in an XR Job Candidate?
Recruiters value candidates who can demonstrate experience in the commitment to, and fulfillment of, projects. There is emphasis placed on the ability to show that you have produced a product of some kind in the past that works. This doesn’t have to be something complex, but a basic output that can be built upon in the future is seen favourably. People who have experience in prototyping are valued, as these skills are in high demand with the XR industry.
A high level of XR experience isn’t as important as you might think. So long as you can show practical experience of using your initiative and drive to achieve an end goal, with the ability to explain the steps that allowed you to do this.
For candidates who eventually achieve a role in the XR space, there is a tendency to develop imposter syndrome. This is natural, and it is emphasised that you don’t need to be an expert in every small component of XR and the Metaverse. These concepts are still growing, knowledge and experience can be built with time. ‘Failing fast’ can be a productive experience. Failure can allow you to stand out, it produces a diverse portfolio and highlights a commitment of time and energy.
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