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Hired: AR/VR engineers replace blockchain programmers as hottest commodity

AR/VR engineers are in high demand.

AR/VR engineers are in high demand.

Image Credit: Hired

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Augmented reality and virtual reality jobs are hot, with demand surging 1,400% in 2019, according to a new State of Software Engineers report by job site Hired.

This means that AR/VR knowledge is the hot new thing, supplanting blockchain engineers, who according to Hired’s data were in demand a year ago. In last year’s report, blockchain engineer demand grew 517%. It’s a surprise to me, as AR/VR is having a mixed impact in consumer markets. But demand in the enterprise is strong.

Hired said that AR/VR engineer salaries range from $135,000 to $150,000 in large U.S. tech hubs. The majority of software engineers predict that we will see the full impact of AR/VR in the next five years. Meanwhile, demand for gaming engineers grew 146% in 2019, and demand for security engineers grew 49%.

The data comes from more than 10,000 companies and millions of job seekers who interact with the Hired job site. The company takes that data and combines it with thousands of survey responses from top tech talent to discern their wants, needs, and expectations.


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Meanwhile, the report highlights the consistently high salaries commanded by machine learning experts. It also notes the growing need for engineers skilled in Google’s Go language.

Above: Hired shows that AR/VR demand far outpaces other types of engineering disciplines.

Image Credit: Hired

It’s worth noting that demand growth for blockchain engineers slowed to 9% this year, normalizing from its explosive 517% growth last year. This isn’t a surprise, as a lot of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies are struggling to get mainstream acceptance. Some companies are scoring relationships with big companies, but there were a lot of blockchain companies that got funding and haven’t found traction.

Hired said it sees the growth in AR/VR demand as a direct reflection of the technology itself coming of age for a broader swath of business outside of gaming. From beauty companies like Sephora to furniture retailers like Wayfair, many different types of companies are embracing the capabilities of these world-building technologies.

Companies are keeping pay competitive

Above: The Bay Area salaries for search experts are sky-high.

Image Credit: Hired

In every major market, machine learning engineers rank within the top 10 highest paid roles, with San Francisco leading the pay pack at $162,000 per year (a 6% increase over last year’s average machine learning salary in San Francisco). Search engineers get paid even more than the machine learning engineers at $165,000 a year.

Other highly paid constants across markets are the roles of NLP (natural language processing) engineer, security engineer, and gaming engineer, all of which cracked the top 10 highest paid roles in at least two Hired markets.

The most in-demand skills

Above: Engineers tell how they learned to program

Image Credit: Hired

In last year’s State of Software Engineers report, the candidate skillsets that made them the most in demand on the marketplace were candidates with Google’s Go, and those candidates have only become more in demand in the last year.

Before developers land jobs — or even get an initial offer — they have to work their way through a variety of coding exams, whiteboarding sessions, and behavioral interviews.

But only 31% think coding exams effectively test their aptitude, while two-thirds say most coding exams are irrelevant to the daily job of an engineer, Hiring said. Of all the tests they’ll have to take to get the job, developers aren’t up at night worrying about behavioral interviews — just 12% say it’s the most stressful part of the process, Hiring said.

Coding exams and whiteboarding sessions are a different story. A full 42% of developers cite coding exams as the most stressful part of the interview process, and 38% say the same about whiteboarding sessions.

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