Since Mark Zuckerberg announced the renaming of Facebook’s parent company, discussions about the announced advent of the “metaverse” have dominated high-tech news in recent months.
In October 2021, the social media giant indeed renamed its company “Meta” and took the opportunity to launch a set of metaverse development tools for developers. Since then, everyone has started to study the possibility of creating other metaverses, and to think about the benefits that this could bring. The involvement of large companies in the metaverse undoubtedly offers future opportunities for anyone who wants to professionalize and become a “metaverse developer”.
As the metaverse building trend gains momentum, it’s reasonable to wonder about career opportunities. Of course before that, we must first try to understand what seems to be a new Eldorado.
The metaverse, what is it ?
Basically, a metaverse is a digital space in which there are digital representations of people, places and objects. In other words, it’s a “digital world” with real people represented by digitally. If you haven’t seen “The Matrix”, now is the time!
In many ways, in a Microsoft Teams, Zoom or even Discord session, we are already in a form of metaverse. You are “there” in the room, but you can be represented by a static image, such as an avatar, or a live video.
It can be used for many things: meetings of course, but why not a visit to a factory, training… In fact, almost all programs related to Human Resources can be redesigned to become metaverses. And if you add 3D glasses, then the metaverse offers a totally immersive experience. It’s almost like the Matrix, I tell you! Except, of course, the metaverse doesn’t stop at a Zoom meeting, which still differs a lot from what the Facebook founder prophesied.
Metaverses will be much more:
- They will be persistent, meaning they will never reset, pause, or end: they will be there indefinitely.
- They will be synchronous, and “alive”: pre-programmed, self-contained events will occur, just like in “real life”, but the metaverse will be a living experience existing for everyone, constantly, in real time.
- They won’t have a concurrent user limit, although each user will have an individual sense of “presence”. Anyone can be part of a metaverse and participate in an event, go to a place, perform a specific activity with other participants, at the same time.
- They will have a functional economy: individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, buy, sell, invest, in anything that has a “value” recognized by others.
- They should provide an experience spanning both the digital and physical worlds, private and public networks or (experiences), and open and closed platforms.
- They will provide unprecedented interoperability across data, digital assets, content, and more. For example, your favorite World Of Warcraft armor could also be used to dress you up in Fortnite, and even gifted to a friend on (or via) Facebook. Gone is the digital world behaving like a shopping mall where each store uses its own currency, requires ID cards for each customer, has different units of measurement for things like shoes or clothes, etc.
- They will be populated with “content” and “experiences”, created, operated and consumed by a very wide range of contributors, some of whom will be individuals, others will be informally organized groups, and of course businesses commercial.
Metavers: Who will be the main actors?
As you will have understood, there will not be just one metaverse, but many: some for business, others for commerce, others for education and others for entertainment…
Many companies will invest in this new space: Facebook, of course, which has chosen to rename its entire company, to mark the occasion. But also Microsoft which is already very present. And the trend is going to get much stronger: in fact, just about every tech company, every merchant, and every entertainment company wants to participate.
Think about what Disney, Netflix, Amazon and others could do in such a context?
If we try to figure out what’s next, then we’re going to see a lot of metaverses flourish. Take the example of the entertainment industry. Disney recently announced that it will “connect the digital and physical worlds” for its stories and park animations. Who wouldn’t want to walk into a Disney movie (in 3D or with an avatar) and talk to the characters? Disney displays its ambition to become “the happiest place in the metaverse”.
And finally, what about the shopping metaverse? Imagine going to an Amazon store (or Darty, Ikea, etc.) to buy furniture, do your shopping, buy a book, going directly to chat with the author or see a food product in 3D. Besides, Amazon owns Twitch, the largest “gaming” network in the world: do you think Amazon isn’t working on something and is waiting with folded arms?
Metavers: Which programming languages?
The metaverse will have a constant need for engineers, developers and programmers. Almost all of the biggest (and most influential) companies in the world, like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, as well as “new” companies like OpenSea, Roblox, Niantic, The Sandbox, Decentraland… are already recruiting for metaverse roles, whether in AR (augmented reality) or VR (virtual reality), or even a mixture of the two, or via the blockchain. Since the metaverse encompasses many facets of technology and society, the knowledge and skills that one can bring to bear are wide-ranging.
Whether you’re coding for augmented reality, virtual reality, or in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space , there are a number of programming languages you’ll need to know in order to help build the metaverse. Let’s see which ones.
C# was designed by Microsoft in 2000: it has been the main programming language for the Unity game engine since 2005. Unity is a very popular platform for those who develop virtual reality applications. The platform already has more than 750,000 developers, including major game publishers, but also independent studios, and even students or simple amateurs. Unity is one of the two main game engines that are very popular with developers.
The other game engine uses C++ as its main language. Created by Epic, this is Unreal.
Often considered more powerful and faster than C#, you will often see job descriptions requiring knowledge of both languages, as well as Unity and Unreal: the two go hand in hand.
As Python uses an open and transparent development process, with an open-source code base and a large number of third-party modules, it is the ideal language to learn how to create virtual reality scripts or interfaces. It is considered one of the easiest languages to learn, and it is often put to use in industrial applications for VR and AR. With Python, it is also easy to then move on to a more advanced language, such as C#.
Developed by Ethereum, the popular blockchain, Solidity is an object-oriented language that is primarily used to write and implement “smart-contracts” in the Ethereum blockchain. If you’ve ever bought or sold an NFT , chances are it was created using Solidity. A free support forum is available for those who are interested or wish to get involved in the Solidity language and the ecosystem surrounding it.
Rust has been around since 2010. It is a multi-paradigm compiled programming language, designed and developed by Mozilla Research. It was thought to be “a reliable and practical language”, supporting purely functional programming styles, as well as object-oriented (in some respects).
Solana, the rising blockchain, uses Rust for its programs. Solana has a rapidly growing ecosystem of developers and apps, now is the time to get on board!
If you want to develop applications for the metaverse, we advise you to learn these programming languages.