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How to Become a Virtual Reality Designer, According to a VR Intern at Facebook

by Fahad Saleem

Maheen Sohail worked as a Product Design Intern at Facebook in the summer of 2016. She documented her experiences and what she learned while working with the tech titan in the realm of virtual reality in a post on Medium. Here’s what Maheen thinks you need to do if you want to become a virtual reality designer.

The Technical Skills 

To become a virtual reality designer, you have to have a strong knowledge of virtual design, product interaction layers and flow. You should have a strong technical grip on JavaScript or C#, according to Maheen. These languages are used for scripting in the Unity framework, which is the base of virtual reality, animations and game computing.  If you are a beginner in Unity or want learn the framework, the Facebook intern recommends YouTube channel NurFACEGAMES. The intern also recommended courses to learn design, Unity and animation. You should also strengthen your animation, design and architecture knowledge.

Test, Test, Test 

It’s necessary to do massive testing on a headset before finalizing the product. It’s just like mobile development or designing. No matter how beautiful your product looks in Photoshop or building environment, when you test it on the real devices and give critical looks, you come to know that there’s always a room for improvement. For a VR designer, it all starts from the paper. Sketch your ideas or final product on the paper. You can use a 2D programs like Sketch or a 3D program like Photoshop to build assets, animations, initial designs. You can also use Adobe After Effects or Framer for the animations and framing.  You can then make prototypes on Unity and test things on the headset for which are making the product. If you are working for a high-end VR headset like Oculus, and you don’t have access to the real piece, you can use Google Cardboard or Gear VR.

Select a Platform

Virtual Reality has different platforms when it comes to making products. You have to choose your platform first. Maheen recommends starting from Google Cardboard, mainly because it’s very cheap and cool, and because it is the best VR device for the virtual reality beginners. You can make mobile apps for VR with Cardboard platform as well. High-end and advanced VR platforms include HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The Facebook intern makes a valid point that if you are making Vr products, you should focus on platforms and products that are more affordable for people.

What Bakcground You Need to Have to Become a VR Designer 

Another important revelation by Maheen is about the strengths and background. She says that you can become a VR designer with a background of product design, software programming, game development and normal design. If you haven’t worked in VR before, there is nothing to worry about. You can always start from scratch and excel.

VR Textbooks 

The one thing that Maheen didn’t mention in that article I am referring to is the importance of reading the basic textbooks of Virtual Reality design. Textbooks are always necessary if you are just starting in any field.


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