Just a couple of weeks after unveiling a self-driving car nanodegree, massive open online course company Udacity announced a similar program that will aid developers looking to make the jump into the virtual reality industry.
The field of virtual reality is a burgeoning one, given the 800 percent growth rate of jobs related to the industry year over year. Virtual reality is considered to be the future of creative content, which makes entering the field a potentially lucrative one for developers.
Udacity will be helping developers get involved with the virtual reality industry through the new nanodegree program, which will have Google VR, HTC Vive and Upload as its partners in preparing a curriculum covering both hardware and software.
According to Christian Plagemann, the team lead for Udacity's VR Developer Nanodegree program and the cofounder of Google VR, graduates will be able to enter the industry through several career paths, including seeking employment in established leaders in the field, assisting start-ups in launching new VR technologies, carrying out freelance work or establishing their own company.
The program will have a monthly fee of $199, with students who complete the course within one year to automatically receive a 50 percent refund of the fees. The estimated completion time of the program is six months.
Students will be taught how to build apps on platforms such as Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Students will also learn about user interaction, VR design, game engines and 360 media, among many other things, for both desktop VR and mobile VR. 3D engine Unity will be integrated into the program's lessons and projects.
The course will take place in a VR environment, which will allow instructors to show concepts in 3D. This will be different from other interactive courses offered by Udacity, which typically use traditional content such as documents, images and videos.
Interested students are recommended to fulfill certain qualifications, namely having access to a Mac OS X 10.8 or later computer or a Windows 7, 8 or 10 PC, along with access to an Android smartphone, equivalent to the Nexus 5 or Samsung Galaxy S5 or later, or an iPhone 5 or later. Students are also recommended to already have advanced computer skills, including image and video editing or desktop publishing, though no programming experience is required.
For students who own higher-end VR headsets such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, they have the option to complete additional coursework focused on high-immersion VR.
There is no start date yet for Udacity's VR nanodegree, but the company's official webpage on the program has a facility wherein interested users can sign up to be notified once the nanodegree launches.