The purpose of this comprehensive guide is to provide some transparency to the most commonly asked question we get here at hire.AR. With Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality becoming increasingly popular, and with companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, & many more, hiring for augmented reality jobs, we think it’s incredibly important to talk about the topic of salary/pay in the augmented reality space. Salaries have been increasing across the board the last few years for AR/VR jobs and it’s quickly becoming the position with the highest growth in technology.
It’s important to not only be sure of who you’re hiring, but it’s also important to know how you’re hiring. If the salary advertised or quoted during negotiations is not competitive with what other companies in the industry are offering, you’re going to have a low success rate of hiring candidates, and those candidates who do get hired may not feel properly compensated for their work. Hired has reported that AR/VR Engineers have seen a whopping 1400% increase in demand for those positions, from 2018 to 2019.
It’s a great time to pursue a career in augmented reality or virtual reality. The truth of the matter is, there are more companies hiring for AR/VR jobs than there are candidates to fill those roles. With 74% of software engineers predicting the adoption of AR/VR to really start increasing within 5 years, and with almost 50% of engineers stating they like to learn AR/VR technologies, it’s clear that the entire tech industry is trending towards more spatial computing jobs. With this guide, you’ll know how much your specific role typically pays.
In this guide, you may come across a salary range that seems rather wide and general. These are guidelines and industry averages, but there is some variance in the data, taking into account specialized roles and technologies, location, and size of the company. For example, a large well-funded company based in San Francisco hiring for AR/VR talent may have a higher salary than a young startup based in Raleigh, NC.
$66,000 - $124,000 (average salary: $95,000)
For tech-heavy companies, software engineers are always highly coveted team members, and, even at an entry level, their pay will usually reflect that. Software engineers in the AR/VR space are expected to have some experience with languages/frameworks like Unity, C/C++ or C#, ARKit, & ARCore. They typically have computer science degrees (although, not always), and, because they’re pursuing roles in such a unique industry, typically have an affinity for emerging technologies and new tech. AR software engineers may dabble in 3D rendering, light capture, 3D gaming, and spatial user interaction.
Some alternative names you may find may look like Interactive Engineer, Spatial Engineer, and Engineer. There are some edge cases of bigger companies paying closer to $140,000 - $150,000 for an “entry-level” software engineer, if they have experience specifically working with AR/VR technologies.
$104,000 - $220,000 (average salary: $162,000)
Intermediate and senior software engineers will have all the responsibilities that junior engineers have, but with additional qualifications and requirements. Typically companies will require a BSc, MSc, or PhD in computer science (but not always), and most definitely will require many years of work experience, usually 5+ years and oftentimes 10+ years. The salary range for senior software engineers can be quite broad, and that’s because there’s simply a large range of skill sets and experiences needed. A company like Amazon can pay upwards of $200,000+ for a senior software engineer, while a young startup might only pay $125,000 or so.
$134,000 - $241,000 (average salary: $187,500)
Computer vision engineers, and AI/ML engineers may find their roles involve everything from SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), camera calibration, 3D construction, object detection, and tracking, segmentation, image and video processing, and many more. Alternative names for this role may look like Computer Vision Scientist, Research Scientist (Computational Imaging), Senior Software Engineer (Computer Vision), and others. Apple hires for computer vision engineers, and they require, at minimum, a Master’s Degree in computer science. Snap also hires for similar roles, and they require a PhD in computer science or electrical engineering. The high pay for this role reflects the requires years of education and experience in multiple fields. Typically computer vision engineers are building the architecture needed to enhance visual communication with the wearables that are so ingrained in AR/VR companies.
$72,000 - $150,000 (average salary: $111,000)
Responsibilities for product managers in AR/VR may include driving product vision, and working with multiple teams towards deliverables, prioritizing feature requests, and communicating product updates across the entire spectrum of the company. The bigger companies in AR/VR hiring product managers will typically want at least 4-5+ years of product management experience, and preferably 2-3+ years of direct experience in AR, VR, spatial computing, or computer vision. Experience delivering hardware is a bonus as well, since many of these projects will likely include wearables like augmented reality glasses and eventually augmented reality contact lenses.
$65,000 - $170,000 (average salary: $117,500)
Designers/creatives/artists working AR/VR typically work in tight teams with engineers to craft rich immersive experiences. Typically requirements include working knowledge of Unity, OpenGL, DirectX, 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, various CAD software, & other tools. They’re responsible for everything from designing an AR filter, to texture mapping, to simulating physics, to rigging and animating characters. With the eventual AR glasses being released by the likes of Apple, Facebook, & Google, AR artists and designers are set to create some groundbreaking visuals for consumers to experience.
Other titles you’ll typically see may include 3D Artist, Visual Artist, Designer, Experience Designer, Product Designer - AR Experiences. Senior designers and design leads will typically be paid in the higher range of this estimate.
Notes: Many thanks to the good people at Glassdoor, PayScale, BuiltInNYC, & Hired for providing invaluable insights on average pay. We referenced information we researched on those sites for the preparation of this comprehensive guide.
Inherently, there isn’t much transparency across the board with how much people are getting paid at companies. Hopefully this guide provided some sort of insight into fair market value for various jobs in AR/VR, for both hiring managers/HR and for talented job seekers. If you came across this guide and you’re looking for augmented reality jobs, be sure to check our listings which are updated multiple times a week.