Virtual reality developers are in demand. Learn how to become an Oculus developer with these four steps.
Oculus is an industry leader in the virtual reality (VR) space . In addition to its powerful hardware, the Oculus platform is home to some of the most popular VR games on the market, such as Beat Saber, Budget Cuts, and Blade and Sorcery. With Developer Mode, you can share your own VR content with millions of Oculus users worldwide . The article below includes a step-by-step guide for creating and publishing your own VR application on the Oculus platform—no experience required.
An Oculus developer is a virtual reality developer. VR developers use computer technology to create simulated digital environments. They design, develop, and test VR software. Then, consumers use headset devices like Oculus to explore these environments. Typical duties of a VR developer include:
3D modeling. 3D modeling is a technique used in computer graphics to produce representations of real-world objects. A VR developer may use 3D modeling to generate environmental elements, special effects, or character animations.
Digitalization. Digitalization is the process of converting information into a digital format. It converts text, audio, and visual elements like pictures and videos into forms that computers can process.
Designing. VR developers enhance the experience of their virtual environments through audio and graphic design.
One of the most important skills for Oculus developers to possess is technical proficiency. Each of the responsibilities above requires the use of software development tools. For example, many Oculus developers use Unity to build, test, and publish content on Oculus Home. Additional relevant skills include:
Project management capabilities
The Oculus for Developers platform allows anyone to promote, showcase, and release their applications, including those who are not VR developers working for the Oculus brand. The Oculus Store is curated for quality, however. Applications submitted for publication must meet the Oculus Store's guidelines and requirements, which include elements like data usage thresholds and content requirements. Below, you will find two essential resources for navigating Oculus development:
The Oculus Application Submission Guide. The application submission guide navigates users through the technical and content review processes.
The Official Oculus Developer Forum. The Oculus Developer Forum is a platform for Oculus developers to share insight and troubleshoot technical issues.
The VR market reached 28 billion US dollars in 2021, with a projected growth of 250 billion by 2028 . Additionally, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 22 percent growth rate for software development careers between 2020 and 2030 . Developing for Oculus can help you get your VR content published. The VR industry includes other platforms like Google Play, Steam, and Viveport, and many companies hire in-house VR developers. Consider exploring software development career paths with a focus on VR. Online specializations like Extended Reality for Everyone are a great way to explore your interests and build credibility through certifications.
The guide below walks beginners through the process of creating a VR application and publishing it to the Oculus Store. If you already know how to develop VR applications, skip to steps three and four to learn about Oculus-compatible tools and developer account creation.
In addition to fundamentals of software development like coding, VR developers must also be well versed in 3D graphics, VR interaction concepts, and VR hardware and technologies. If you are new to software development, an introductory coding course like Coding for Everyone, a C and C++ Specialization, is a good place to get started. If you already have a foundational knowledge of software development, think about going straight to a VR-specific course like the Virtual Reality Specialization from the University of London.
Design is a critical component of VR development. To create a high-quality digital environment, VR developers must learn:
Visual and audio design concepts and ethics
Extended reality (XR) design processes
Digital design tools and techniques
Prototyping and storyboard creation
Aspiring Oculus developers can learn the above criteria and create their own prototype with a course like the University of Michigan’s User Experience and Interaction Design.
Technology is constantly evolving. Developers must stay current to ensure they're utilizing the best tools and techniques on the market. The vast majority of VR developers use Unity or Unreal. Both are game engines and VR development software. Of the two, most Oculus developers use Unity. Oculus employs Unity-specific tools that help VR developers publish content on the platform efficiently. Learning to use Unity proficiently can also make collaboration with other developers easier.
You can learn the ins and outs of Unity, Unreal, and other major VR development tools through online courses like the University of Michigan’s Developing AR/VR/MR/XR Apps with WebXR, Unity & Unreal, which also teaches advanced prototyping skills and how to create a development plan for your concept.
There are currently two ways to create an Oculus developer account after navigating to the Oculus for Developers homepage:
Sign up with a Facebook account. This method requires you to link your Facebook account with your Oculus developer account.
Sign up for an unmerged Oculus developer account. Although it’s possible to create an Oculus developer account without a Facebook account, it is not recommended. Functionalities are limited, and support for unmerged accounts is scheduled to end on January 1, 2023. You do not need to provide any alternative information to continue through the steps to account creation if you select the unmerged option.
Once you have made your selection, you will create your username and password and verify your email address. After gaining access to your account, you will need to visit the Account Manager. Access this tab through the gear icon in the top right corner of your account homepage. Oculus will prompt you to verify your account, requiring you to provide additional information and set up two-factor authentication.
If you are publishing VR content under an organization, you must add the organization to your Oculus developer account. From the homepage of your Oculus developer account, navigate to the Manage tab. You can then choose organizations and create an organization. Be sure to read the terms of service before clicking the submit button. At this point, a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) will appear. Read the contents thoroughly before checking the box and agreeing to the terms.
Ready to publish your first VR application? Start building your expertise with this Introduction to Virtual Reality specialization from the University of London.
Oculus: Oculus is a video game platform run by Reality Labs, a Meta business dedicated to VR and augmented reality (AR).
Oculus Quest: Oculus Quest is a VR headset and controller package with built-in sound. It can be used with a smartphone app or connected to a gaming computer.
Oculus Quest 2: Oculus Quest 2 is the advanced version of Oculus Quest. It includes updated versions of all the Oculus Quest hardware, like ergonomic controllers and a softened head strap.
Oculus Rift: Oculus Rift also includes a headset and controllers, but it requires a PC to function. The Oculus Rift also has its own store with hundreds of PC VR experiences.
Under the Oculus Start developer program, eligible applicants can obtain a developer kit. The Oculus Start program is for VR content creators that have already published or will soon publish an application. These kits are assembled based on the hardware that is currently supported. They typically contain equipment, supportive resources, and software-related savings.
Developer mode enables your Oculus hardware to perform development-related functions. For example, users can transfer files and data between their computers and Oculus devices. Developer mode also allows users to install games and applications from external sources (platforms other than the Oculus Store).
1. Statista. “XR Headset Shipment Share Worldwide, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1222146/xr-headset-shipment-share-worldwide-by-brand/.” Accessed April 26, 2022.
2. Statista. “Unit Shipments of VR Devices Worldwide, https://www.statista.com/statistics/671403/global-virtual-reality-device-shipments-by-vendor/.” Accessed April 26, 2022.
3. Statista. “AR, VR, MR Market Size Worldwide in 2021 and 2028, https://www.statista.com/statistics/591181/global-augmented-virtual-reality-market-size/#:~:text=The%20global%20augmented%20reality%20(AR,billion%20U.S.%20dollars%20by%202028.” Accessed April 26, 2022.
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm.” Accessed April 26, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.