Virtual reality designer

extended reality designer
Computing and ICT

Career outlook for virtual reality designer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Virtual Reality (VR) designers create fictional worlds for developers to turn into immersive experiences. You’ll use all your 3D design skills to create engaging, multi-dimensional environments that easily lend themselves to the VR platform. 

Designing for VR calls for detail. The worlds you design must be believable, explorable and interactive. You’ll need to keep your designs free from anything that could distract the user from their digital experience. 

At the moment, the tech is most commonly associated with gaming, but it has huge potential for education and training too. You might be tasked with designing a simulation tool that teaches surgeons how to perform a new life-saving operation. Or you might create a hyper-realistic fire that’s used to train firefighters.  

Working with such new technology lets you push the limits of what’s possible. You’ll work closely with your development team to find ways to bring your vision to users’ headsets in the most realistic way.

What you’ll do 

  • Sketch concepts and ideas for the virtual reality world 
  • Map out the places and tasks a user will encounter as they progress through the immersive experience 
  • Use computer-aided design (CAD) to convert drawings into 3D models 
  • Work with developers to make sure your designs can be translated into code  
  • Design interactive VR features that engage and educate users 
  • Hold regular meetings with the other people involved in the project to make sure everything is on schedule 
  • Take part in experience testing and make design changes that incorporate user feedback 

Working conditions


Most VR designers do a standard working week, but you’ll sometimes need to flex your hours to hit deadlines.


You’re most likely to work in an office or creative studio alongside a full design team.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Adaptability
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Innovative
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You can develop the necessary skills for this role through a variety of routes.

There is no set entry route but entrants will often have degrees in:

  • Immersive systems design
  • Computer games
  • Computer animation
  • Games and virtual reality

There are also postgraduate qualifications available in subjects such as:

  • 3D Design for virtual environments
  • Medical visualisation and human anatomy
  • Serious games and virtual reality

As you would be involved in virtual reality design and software, experience or a qualification in the use of 3D modelling would also be useful.

For some courses, you will be asked to provide a portfolio demonstrating your practical skills and interest in the course.  This could be in various forms, such as, drawings, paintings or photographs.  Entry requirements will vary between colleges and universities – always check what is being asked for. You might also want to consider having a Digital Portfolio.  This will allow you to upload videos, photos and links to different online platforms such as YouTube and Flickr.


You can gain skills and qualifications in the workplace through options such as:

Foundation Apprenticeships (FAs) are chosen as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 but include hands-on learning at a local employer or college. They are the same level as a Higher.

You might want to consider an FA in areas such as:

  • IT: Software development
  • Creative and digital media

Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) mean you learn on the job. You get paid and work towards a qualification at the same time.

You might want to consider an MA in areas such as:

  • Creative and digital media

​​​​​​​Graduate Apprenticeships (GAs) are designed for industry and you'll spend most of your time learning on the job but you'll also go to uni or college. You'll get a job, get paid and work towards a qualification at the same time.

You might want to consider a GA in areas such as:

  • IT: Software development

Useful subjects

Many colleges and universities will have required subjects that you must have for entry. They might also highlight additional subjects that they would value. Look at individual institution websites for specific entry information. 

Useful subjects for this job would be:

  • Maths
  • Art and design
  • Graphic communication
  • ICT focussed subjects

Helpful to have

Not all employers list specific qualification requirements but they might ask for relevant experience, usually work based, that show a range of transferable skills.

As technology is evolving and expanding, it is necessary to keep up with advances in software, hardware and programming as well as trends and techniques used within the industry, throughout your career.

Gaining relevant work experience would be beneficial as it would help you gain experience and network - ensure quality work that you do is included in your portfolio/showreel and this can then be sent to employers.