You’ve heard the term “metaverse,” but are you sure what it is? And are you ready to land a job in it? As defined by futurist Bernard Marr, the metaverse is a “fully immersive internet,” where we’ll use augmented and virtual reality to interact with one another and conduct the business of our daily lives using “persistent avatars.” In essence, the metaverse (also called Web 3.0) is an alternative digital universe that’s being created from the ground up as you read this—and that means there’s a definite list of desirable job skills for the metaverse.
If you’re wary of the metaverse, consider these numbers from a Citi report: It’s estimated the metaverse could represent a $13 trillion market by 2030, with an estimated five billion users. The metaverse job market will be hot.
10 Valuable Skillsets for the Metaverse
1. Programming: This might seem like an obvious skillset, but don’t overlook it. The backbone of the metaverse will be systems that allow creation of virtual environments without coding knowledge, but someone must program the WSYIWYG (what you see is what you get) systems in the first place.
2. Virtual and augmented reality: It’s possible to conduct much of your life online now, but as we saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, doing so is lonely and unfulfilling. The secret to metaverse success will be using virtual and augmented reality to expand human connection, not replace it.
3. 3D modeling and design: We already see the power of 3D technology in the gaming industry. Now imagine yourself interacting with colleagues across the globe using the same technology. Puts Zoom to shame, right?
4. Cryptocurrency, blockchain, and NFT technology: The vision for Web 3.0 is a decentralized system of data, knowledge, and currency. After all, the physical infrastructure we have for the exchange of goods and services can’t be directly translated to a virtual environment. Understanding how to create and sell NFTs and manage cryptocurrency transactions will be an increasingly in-demand skill.
5. User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design: We’ve all experienced the frustrations of transacting business on a clunky website. Bad UI (a hard-to-use website design) translates into a bad UX (a negative feeling about your brand overall). Now imagine the complications of interacting in a clunky metaverse. Metaverse interactions must be simple and intuitive, which means UI and UX experts will be highly sought after.
6. Project management: VR, AR, UX, and UI, oh my! All of these different experts will have to work together to execute complicated visions. Someone has to make sure deadlines are met and budgets aren’t exceeded. Enter the project manager.
7. Data analytics: Every move we make online translates into data, and the metaverse will make our digital footprints even larger. This stockpile of data will be incredibly valuable. Being able to translate raw data into actionable business intelligence is already a hot skill set but will become increasingly so as users spend more time in the metaverse.
8. Cybersecurity: Big data also attracts big risk of hacking. Protecting the data your company collects in the metaverse will be critical to not only protecting a valuable company asset but also building trust with your user base. The metaverse needs to be safe.
9. Ethics and compliance: What is appropriate to do with all this data, anyway? Consumer privacy concerns are increasing almost as fast as technology, and governmental entities are enacting laws to catch up with privacy concerns, too. Companies will seek individuals to serve as stewards of their data and keep them out of hot water legally.
10. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): At first glance, the virtual nature of the metaverse might seem to eliminate environmental concerns. But it still takes physical data processing centers to run the metaverse—and those have a carbon footprint. Inclusivity is also a necessary attribute of any metaverse project. ESG acumen will be essential.