How to Hire Developers for VR and AR Projects

by Mila Slesar

This article explains how to hire developers for VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) projects for the best outcomes.

The boom in the gaming sector, 5G technology, the development of more powerful wireless VR devices, and launches of more affordable VR gadgets by local companies in China and India speed up the adoption and development of the medium.

VR and AR offer exciting business opportunities in industries as disparate as entertainment and construction. The primary use cases are gaming, retail, and marketing. Still, virtually any business can reap the benefits of AR and VR-powered solutions: memorable enhanced user experiences, a better understanding of consumers, competitive advantages, higher sales, etc.

For companies striving to innovate, VR and AR are no longer optional but rather are becoming mandatory for reaching, helping, educating, and entertaining consumers and employees. For example, the adoption of VR and AR applications in education is growing. Healthcare professionals use them for vital hands-on training, and enterprises for training mechanics, engineers, field workers, technicians in the oil and gas and manufacturing industries, pilots, soldiers, and others.

The global AR, VR, and MR (mixed reality) market reached 28 billion USD in 2021 and is projected to exceed 250 billion USD by 2028. The VR market size alone may reach 26.86  billion USD by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 19% from 2021 to 2027.

The growing demand and uneven distribution and development of the technology worldwide can make it challenging to hire augmented reality developers or virtual reality developers that are capable, experienced, and can complete your VR or AR project on time and within budget. 

Here you can learn about the available options and the factors to consider when hiring an AR/VR dedicated development team or individual developers.

How to Hire Virtual Reality Developers and Augmented Reality Developers

All the best practices for hiring software developers apply to the search and recruitment of AR and VR professionals. Firstly, you will need to formulate your needs, goals, and requirements as clearly as possible. 

They will largely determine where you should hire VR developers and how you will cooperate with them. Three scenarios are available:

In-house AR/VR development team

You may form a whole internal AR/VR team or extend your existing team of in-house developers with AR/VR specialists if

  • your AR/VR development is going to be an ongoing full-time project and require post-delivery support;
  • you prioritize total control and comfortable and transparent communication during the development process, complete dedication and alignment with the company’s culture;
  • lengthy job advertising, screenings, interviews, and background assessment is not a problem;
  • you are ready to pay higher wages and provide better conditions and perks than your competitors.

You can find virtual reality developers in many places:

However, you may face two issues at this stage: the shortage or absence of qualified specialists in your area or their annual salary that is too steep for your company. 

The salaries of AR/VR engineers understandably vary from country to country and even by area within a country.

When local talent is too expensive, business owners often hire an in-house team only for the pre-production process that requires the closest communication between developers and the owner and then delegate the remaining work to an outsourced development contractor. 

Hiring AR/VR freelancers

It is easy to find AR and VR specialists on freelance websites like FreelancerGuruPeoplePerHourToptal, and Upwork. Freelancers are a popular option for small projects and short-term non-core jobs. More importantly, you may find a domestic developer that charges a lower hourly rate than the developers in your city or a foreign specialist whose rates will be twice lower than any freelancer’s in North America, Europe, or Australia.

However, besides cumbersome recruitment and onboarding, freelancers require greater project management effort, especially if they are dispersed geographically. You will need to manage their schedules, coordinate and integrate their work, control engagement and motivation, deal with unplanned time-offs, etc. This increases the risk of project failure.

Entrepreneurs can mitigate this risk by contracting a dedicated team from a reputable software development agency.

Contracting an AR/VR app dedicated team

A tailored team of professionals entirely focused on a client’s AR/VR project offers many benefits:

  • The agency can assemble the team within days, enabling the client to start the development quickly without the pains of recruiting, paperwork, and onboarding.
  • The team can quickly assist with your business idea validation, carry out the project from A to Z, and provide end-to-end project management support. 
  • You can easily change the requirements and project scope and ramp the team up and down to meet the current business goals.
  • If the project team line-up changes, you can be sure of a successful knowledge transfer. 
  • Vetted experienced AR/VR engineers ensure a higher quality of the software and content.
  • Clients can have their software development run 24/7.
  • A software development agency can provide seamless active support when your project needs some installations, updates, fixes, new assets, and features to upgrade your AR/VR experience.

Still, this cooperation model is not the best solution for small tasks and projects.

Entrepreneurs typically look for outsourcing partners on platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms, networks like LinkedIn, and industry events and conferences.

Although costlier than a team of freelancers, a VR/AR app dedicated team may come with the cost-efficiency of outsourcing. For example, the annual salary of a Ukrainian VR developer can be 1.5-3 times lower than a comparable engineer’s salary in the US, UK, or Switzerland. There are neither benefits packages, office rent, VR headsets and other equipment, software licenses, electricity bills, nor administration and training costs.

Whatever cooperation model you select, several aspects have to be addressed when you hire VR developers.

Details to Consider when Looking for VR App Developers and AR Developers

Specific technical knowledge and hard skills

AR developers primarily need:

  • knowledge of the major platforms, operating systems, and development tools
  • advanced computer vision skills
  • 3D modeling (texturing, shading, and rendering)
  • desktop, web, or mobile programming skills

The most popular desktop tools used by VR developers include:

  • Unity 3D. Initially a game engine, Unity 3D offers numerous 3D, 2D, and other libraries and functions. It allows quick prototyping of VR apps, designing an app in a virtual environment, rapid iterative development, and exporting it to almost any platform: Android, iOS, Windows, Oculus Rift, Steam VR, Playstation VR, Microsoft HoloLens, etc.
  • Unreal Engine. This gaming engine offers numerous advanced features and graphics for the most realistic imagery and gaming experience.
  • Blender. This free solution is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It is excellent for modeling, mapping, and animations.
  • Google SketchUp. This VR development environment facilitates the creation of VR/AR apps for interior design, civil engineering, architecture, and landscape designing. 

Unity is arguably the most widely used VR development platform nowadays. Among other things:

  • it works with all leading platforms and device manufacturers
  • offers super-quality frame rates
  • a variety of features is coupled with a versatile VR/AR API

If your VR project involves iOS app development, you need mobile developers with expertise in Objective-C, Xcode, and the Human Interface Guidelines. If you target the Android platform, look for developers coding in Java and using Android Studio and the Material Design guidelines.

There are also specific guidelines for designing VR app user interfaces.

Additionally, when screening resumes/CVs, make sure that candidates have hands-on experience with the following managed cloud service platforms:

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk 
  • AWS Amplify

DevOps engineers should also have experience in AWS DevOps tools and infrastructure.

When you hire testers for your project, look for the following expertise:

  • The use of popular open-source testing frameworks like Selenium
  • If applicable, frameworks for testing Android apps (e.g., Espresso) and iOS apps, such as XCTest
  • Testing with multiple browsers and mobile devices using solutions like pCloudy

Experience with popular SDKs and APIs

Software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) help incorporate key features in an app. VR developers you hire should be able to integrate third-party APIs, databases, DevOps services, etc.

Look for VR developers that are skilled at working with the following:

  • Oculus VR free SDKs facilitate the development of apps for Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, and Oculus Go. They work with C++ and Unreal Engine. 
  • Open VR provides an open license solution that can work with any hardware or software.
  • Google VR SDKs allow building apps for desktop, web, Android, and iOS on the respective mobile platforms, Unity, and Unreal Engine.
  • Amazon Sumerian works with Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, as well as Android and iOS.

The choice of a particular technology depends on the project and used hardware. For instance, Oculus is one of the most popular VR headsets. Your VR developer must be knowledgeable in Oculus SDK and documentation, C++, CryEngine, Unity, and Unreal.

The Gear VR headset by Samsung uses the Oculus platform, so your VR developers should be familiar at least with Oculus mobile SDK. They should code in C, C++, and C#, and be skilled with game engines like Unity and Unreal.

SteamVR is supported by HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Open VR. You need to hire a 3D game creator skilled with Unreal and Unity engines, OpenVR SDK, Viveport SDKs, etc.

VR is developing rapidly and requires constant learning. As new SDKs and devices are released, programmers need to stay abreast of the developments.

The tools popular among AR developers include, but are not limited to:

  • The ARKit and RealityKit frameworks and creative tools like Reality Composer and Reality Converter enable the creation of AR applications for iOS devices, especially for gaming and other entertainment apps.
  • EasyAR supports iOS, Android, Windows, and Unity platform.
  • Maxst AR SDK has many features to offer during the development for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and other platforms, as well as smart glasses. 
  • Vuforia supports Android, iOS, Windows, and Unity platforms. Both local and cloud-based databases are supported for image processing.
  • Wikitude supports marker-based and location-based object recognition for iOS and Android app development and on Unity.

Knowledge of device and content interaction

It is mandatory for VR developers to understand the visualization and 3D models, how the content they create will be perceived on different devices, and which platform is most suitable for each case.

Each device comes with both benefits and challenges. Entrepreneurs that put the device first risk funding a costly custom app that isn’t portable and may be outmoded or unsupported in several months without a chance of repurposing.

Experienced specialists prioritize content over the device. Once the content is generated in 3D and managed, they can adjust it for different devices easily. Putting 3D content first and making it flexible, relational, and manageable helps protect your investment in an AR/VR project.

Relevant domain experience

To leverage existing reusable expertise, try to find virtual reality developers with experience in your specific business vertical or solving similar challenges in a related vertical. Look for agencies with rich portfolios and teams that have developed visually appealing quality AR and VR products relating to your project. 

For example, if you want to create a VR game, look for game developers. The team members should include:

  • specialists in a game engine like Unity or Unreal
  • artists who have experience in 3ds Max, Photoshop, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, and Zbrush
  • VR environment designer who will take care of all the details of the experience you want to produce and make sure they feel great in VR

Proof of concept

If you plan a major innovative project, you may ask the candidates to provide a basic prototype to check their motivation and competence.

Besides testing the technical feasibility of your idea, a proof of concept (POC) app will help you gauge the developers’ skills and understanding of your project and get a glimpse of what they can deliver. The POC also provides a tangible sample of the total vision to share among stakeholders before investing in a full-scale project.

Contract a team that can quickly deliver a POC app with a nominal investment.

Effective software development process

Look for a mature partner with established product development, release, and maintenance processes specific to VR and AR that offers training, adoption, and analytics support. A standardized production with templates, methodology, and best practices to leverage will speed up the development process, save your money, and facilitate the product’s high quality.

The developers must have a deep understanding and experience with the primary software development life cycle (SDLC) models. Particularly, constant feedback, rapid iterations, and close cooperation throughout the project cycle offered by Agile workflows are highly beneficial for AR and VR development. Laying out a detailed production and sprint schedule with your team will support a structured process driving quality deliverables.

An effective Continuous Integration (CI) environment enables continuous analysis, building, testing, and deployment of an application. It requires close collaboration between developers, testers, DevOps engineers, and the scrum master.

Soft skills

 When you contact the developers to discuss your requirements, try to understand at once whether the individuals and the company can communicate efficiently. Evaluate their willingness to take the time and ability to understand the complexity of your project. Choose a team you will enjoy working and communicating with.

Avoid candidates with a fixation on a particular device or even technology. Find someone willing to explore and develop your use case and recommend solutions to your project’s specific objectives. They should be able to come up with brand new ideas and push the boundaries of new technologies while demonstrating operational caution. Passion for emergent technology and keeping abreast of recent research in the field is mandatory.

AR and VR developers, testers, and DevOps engineers you hire must be motivated and cooperative.

Cost of hiring VR and AR developers

 If you choose to outsource VR/AR development, which is usually a lower-cost option than in-house development, you still may have to consider many details regarding the prices. 

For instance, big VR studios that have built a robust reputation may charge fees that can burn holes in your pockets. Try looking for VR app developers at mid-sized companies and offshore outsourcing destinations. For instance, Eastern Europe abounds with skilled, experienced programmers, designers, content creators, and other professionals available at reasonable prices thanks to the lower cost of living, not quality.

For example, the advantages of hiring a Ukrainian VR freelancer or dedicated team include:

  • expert services at an affordable hourly rate of around $50
  • European standards of quality
  • tapping into the vast experience in realizing AR and VR projects for international companies
  • working hours overlapping with the majority of the countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East
  • the tech specialists’ good command of English
  • cultural fit for European and American clients

Alternative-spaces as a Reliable AR/VR Development Partner

Alternative-spaces is one of the fastest-growing and most reputable IT outsourcing companies in Ukraine, counting over 300 experts on board. We have provided high-quality VR and AR development services to international customers for over ten years. Alternative-spaces’s team has completed projects in gaming, entertainment, safety training, healthcare, interior design, culture, and other areas. 

For example, for a multi-format movie distribution app, Alternative-spaces’s experts created an ultra-realistic VR experience to immerse users deeper in a movie reality on various platforms. The solution includes 360-degree, 2d-widescreen, 3D, and Barco Escape 3-screen video formats.

For the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia, Alternative-spaces developed a historical VR tour to demonstrate important historical events. The project included digitizing items from the local museum, the animation of characters to convey emotions and speech, and aligning a 3D scan of the medieval town model including 16 million polygons and 14 textures in 8K resolution with the ground surface obtained using geodata.

Our developers specialize in Unity 3D development which is excellent for 

  • games
  • educational apps
  • 3D modeling apps
  • design apps
  • marketing and business apps
  • training apps and simulators, etc.

Alternative-spaces has experience with key SDLC models, offers fully managed service with state-of-the-art infrastructure, and is always customer-oriented and focused on delivering the best results in the shortest time possible.

Fixed prices and rates without any hidden charges plus transparent and straightforward communication make it easy to manage the costs.

Besides creating software products from A to Z, our clients can hire a virtual reality developer or entire teams to work for them for years.

Here’s our workflow:

  1. We discuss our client’s business needs (product requirements, budget, etc.) and create an ideal developer profile regarding skill sets, salary, etc.
  2. Our HR expert selects potential candidates and shortlists CVs based on the agreed profile
  3. Our client can interview selected candidates and give test tasks to assess their skills and attitude to work. 
  4. We sort out the details and sign a contract.

Alternative-spaces’s VR and AR developers, some of the best in the business, are affordable and available for projects of any type, scope, budget, and timeline. Using our staff augmentation services, you can scale your product development team or build a team from scratch, increase productivity and efficiency of your development, and reduce operating costs. 

Key Takeaways

Entrepreneurs seeking to hire VR developers require a combination of software programming, 3D modeling, UI/UX design, and video/sound production skills, obsession with the constantly evolving technology, and the ability to solve complex problems using the medium’s unique strengths.

It is essential to choose developers with considerable experience and mitigate the potential risks by:

  • clearly formulating your project requirements and goals
  • selecting a reliable outstaffing or outsourcing services provider
  • assessing the hard and soft skills of the selected candidates
  • carefully negotiating the project development stages, reporting, communication means, and work schedule

Are you looking for an augmented reality developer to extend your product team? Need a dedicated team to deliver AR/VR solutions of varying scope and complexity? Want a consultation or a project budget estimate? Whatever your needs, you can rely on Alternative-spaces. Contact us today and let us make your ideas a reality!

Content created by our partner, Onix-systems.


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