As Virtual Reality (VR) becomes more and more important to businesses, they are undertaking an increasing number of VR development projects. However, it‘s hard to find competent VR developers, therefore, in this article, I will explain how to hire VR developers.
The growing importance of VR
VR is making a big impact in the world of business, e.g.:
- Marketing campaigns have benefitted from VR since the technology allows new modes of campaigns according to experts.
- Large enterprises are increasingly using VR to train their employees on key hands-on business operations, and you can read more about this in “5 important augmented and virtual reality trends for 2019 everyone should read”.
- The technology has made a big difference in the gaming sector, driving the popularity of VR video games. The worldwide market for VR games will likely reach $22.9 billion in 2020, according to a Statista report.
- VR can make it easier to manage meetings and conferences, and you can read more about this use case in “What importance virtual reality holds in the modern world?”.
- Customer support and technical support functions in a business can benefit from VR, as experts explain in “How to integrate VR into your business”.
Given the value VR offers to businesses, it‘s no surprise that the global market for this technology is growing rapidly. A Mordor Intelligence report estimates that between 2019 and 2024, the global market for VR will experience an impressive 48.7% growth, and the report identifies Vive, Sony, Oculus, Samsung, Lenovo and Google as the key players in this sector.
The high demand for VR developers
As you would expect in view of the growing market for VR, there is a high demand for VR developers. The following reports on the job market illustrate this:
- US businesses find it hard to hire VR developers, according to this CNBC report.
- A Quartz report puts VR development skills right at the top of skills in high demand.
- An ARPost report states that the demand for AR and VR game developers increased by 93% in early 2018.
What should you look for in VR developers?
I will now explain the skills and competencies you should look for in VR developers, and these are as follows:
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1. Deep knowledge of software development life cycle (SDLC) models
A VR app development project can be a high-stakes project in the organization with very high visibility, moreover, it can also be a project to develop customer-facing web and mobile VR apps. Competent VR developers should have in-depth knowledge of the following SDLC models:
- Waterfall: High-stakes projects would typically have well-defined requirements and such projects require thorough reviews after key milestones. Waterfall if the right model for such projects, with phases like requirements analysis, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
- Agile: The business might launch customer-facing web and mobile apps as “Minimum Viable Products” (MVPs) and enhance them based on market feedback. This calls for iterative development and Agile is more suitable for such projects.
At DevTeam.Space, we have considerable expertise with key SDLC models, and I have explained these models in “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?”.
2. Experience of working with prominent managed cloud services platforms
Businesses are increasingly gravitating towards managed cloud service platforms since they can innovate at scale and have a predictable cost model. VR developers you hire should have hands-on experience with the following prominent cloud offerings:
- Amazon EC2: Amazon Elastics Compute Cloud (EC2) is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering from AWS, and many businesses use this solution to build their apps. AWS has considerable cloud capabilities, however, using an IaaS platform requires more work since the provider only manages the infrastructure.
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk: AWS Elastic Beanstalk is the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering from AWS, and here AWS manages cloud infrastructure, networking, storage, middleware, operating systems and runtime environments. VR developers you hire should have experience with integrating 3rd party APIs, database, DevOps services, etc.
- AWS Amplify: This is the Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) offering from AWS. It can help the project team to focus on the design and development of the front-end since they don‘t need to develop and manage the mobile backend.
3. Expertise with popular VR SDKs/APIs:
SDKs and APIs help in incorporating key features in your app, therefore, you can expedite your project. The good news is that you have several VR SDK/API solutions to fast-track your development, and you should hire developers that are experienced with these. Look for developers that know the following VR SDKs/APIs:
- Oculus VR SDKs: Oculus is a popular provider of VR platforms, and the company offers SDKs for developing VR apps for systems like Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, and Oculus Go. More information about its SDKs is available here.
- Google VR SDKs: Google VR SDKs are available for several platforms, e.g., Android, iOS, Unity, and Unreal. These SDKs can be downloaded from here, and the documentation for them is available here.
- Amazon Sumerian: This is the VR/AR solution from Amazon, and it works will all popular platforms, e.g., Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, Google Daydream, and Lenovo Mirage. Sumerian also works with Android and IOS platforms. You can use Sumerian for many use cases, e.g., training, education, field services productivity, retail sales, etc.
4. Node.js skills
You will very likely launch a web app as part of your VR app development project, and Node.js is a great runtime environment for web app development. This runtime environment has many advantages, e.g.:
- js is open-source, and a thriving developer community contributes plenty of open-source sharable tools and frameworks for this runtime environment. Developers using Node.js typically have high productivity due to this.
- js supports asynchronous, event-driven programming, and this improves the scalability of the app. Scalability should be an important consideration for a VR app development project.
- This runtime environment is good for streaming, and for a VR app development project, this represents a key advantage.
- Web apps developed with Node.js are performant.
We at DevTeam.Space have significant expertise with Node.js, as I have earlier explained in “10 great tools for Node.Js software development”.
5. Experience of developing scalable web apps
As I have mentioned earlier, a VR app needs to scale well, therefore, you should look to hire programmers with a credible track record of developing scalable web apps. This requires the following expertise:
- First of all, programmers should know how to define scalability objectives using the right metrics.
- Scaling a web app requires using the right Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions, and developers should know how to use them.
- Using the right PaaS platform is key, and I have explained why you should hire programmers familiar with AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
- When you form your team, look for IT architects with deep knowledge of architectural patterns since selecting the right pattern is key for web app scalability.
- Developers should know the right frameworks that help in scaling web apps. For this project involving Node.js, I recommend using js, which is a lightweight framework that improves scalability.
- Using the right database is important for developing web apps that scale. PostgreSQL is an RDBMS that helps to scale apps, and MongoDB is a good NoSQL database option for scaling. Developers you hire should have expertise with these.
Developing scalable web apps is a key area of expertise for us at DevTeam.Space as I have earlier explained in “How to build a scalable web application?”.
6. UI design expertise
You will need to hire UI designers for a VR app development project, therefore, you should look for designers with experience in the following:
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- Web app UI design: Designers should know the rules for great web UI design, as explained in “10 rules of good UI design to follow on every web design project”.
- Android app UI design: UI designers should know the Material Design guidelines since Android apps must conform to these.
- iOS app UI design: Apple uses the Human Interface Guidelines, therefore UI designers should know these.
- There are specific guidelines for designing a VR app UI, e.g., “Designing user experience for Virtual Reality (VR) applications”. UI designers should be familiar with them.
7. Experience with Android app development
The VR app development project will most likely involve an Android app development, therefore, you should look for Android developers with the following expertise:
- Developers should know how to code an Android app using Java.
- They should also know how to use Android Studio, i.e., the popular IDE for Android development.
8. iOS app development expertise
You will likely target the iOS platform also for your VR app, therefore, you should hire iOS developers with the following expertise:
- They should have experience with Objective-C, which has been the mainstay of developing apps on Apple platforms since long. Many developers working on Apples‘ platforms know this language, and Objective-C has powerful features. We at DevTeam.Space have considerable expertise with this language, as I have explained in “How to convert app from Swift to Objective-C?”.
- Programmers you hire should have familiarity with Xcode, i.e., the popular IDE for developing apps for Apples‘ platforms.
9. Experience with testing frameworks
You need to hire testers for this project, therefore, look for the following expertise:
- Testers should know how to use popular open-source testing frameworks like Selenium.
- They should be familiar with Espresso, which is a popular framework for testing Android apps.
- Testers also need experience with XCTest, which is used for testing iOS apps.
- Testing with a wide range of browsers and mobile devices is important, therefore, testers should be conversant with testing solutions like pCloudy. pCloudy offers a wide range of browsers and mobile devices on Cloud.
10. DevOps expertise
You will need competent DevOps engineers for this VR app development project. Since I recommended AWS platforms like Elastic Beanstalk and Amplify for this project, you should look for DevOps engineers with experience in AWS DevOps tools and infrastructure.
11. The willingness and capability to collaborate
Modern-day software development projects take place in fast-paced environments, and a VR app development project won‘t be an exception. An effective Continuous Integration (CI) environment is key for the success of such projects since it enables analyzing, building, testing, and deploying an application continuously.
Building an effective CI environment requires modern DevOps tools, however, tools can never do the job fully! An effective CI environment requires close collaboration between developers, testers, DevOps engineers, and the scrum master.
Developers, testers, and DevOps engineers you hire must be willing to collaborate, moreover, they must have the maturity and capability to do so. Read more about the importance of this in “5 common pitfalls of CI/CD—and how to avoid them”.
Hiring freelancers vs. field expert teams
I have explained the skills and competencies you should look for, however, you also need to decide whether you should hire freelancers vs. field expert teams. VR app development projects tend to be high-visibility ones, and you would want to mitigate delivery risks.
Hiring freelancers would mean that you will hire individuals, and you will need to integrate their work. This requires far more project management effort than it would require if you work with a field expert development team.
You will also need to manage the schedule of individual freelancers, therefore, you need to mitigate risks of freelancers taking unplanned time-offs. In case of a field expert development team, the software development company providing this team takes the accountability for mitigating such risks, as I have explained in “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams”.
Planning a VR app development project?
While I have explained various aspects of hiring VR app developers in this article, a successful VR app development project requires much more than just developers. Such projects tend to be complex, therefore, you might need end-to-end project management support. Consider engaging a reputed software development company for such projects, and read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” before you do so.
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