Extended reality (XR) is a growing field with extraordinary potential. XR encompasses every immersive field that blends our physical world with the digital, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).
You’ve probably seen some of the tech that dominates the VR space, like Facebook’s standalone Oculus Quest or the HTC Vive. You may have also experienced augmented reality without realizing it via the filters on Snapchat or Instagram.
But what you may not know is that this technology has a wealth of applications beyond just the worlds of video games and social media. In fact, 71 percent of business managers in the United States are either currently using VR applications, or expect to do so within the next three to five years.
This technology has applications in medicine, business, entertainment, and a host of other fields. And because this relatively new field is growing so rapidly, there’s a demand for talented people that can bring an organization’s vision to life in 3D.
If you’ve got a passion for design or software and game development, NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering is offering brand new courses at an affordable rate through its partnership with Emeritus. You’ll learn the skills you need to land jobs with companies like Apple, Google, Verizon, Facebook, and more. And you’ll be doing what you love the entire time.
What Is Emeritus?
Emeritus partners with the top universities in the world to build online learning platforms. The courses on these learning platforms provide students with exclusive video content from some of the top minds in their fields, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional higher learning experience. Learning facilitators help students grasp a new skill set with a personal touch.
Students in these courses build strong portfolios with cutting-edge tools. At the end of the program, they receive career support to help them land the job of their dreams. Students watch on-demand videos with job hunting tips as Emeritus pairs them with career coaches and mentors who will help them show off their body of work to potential employers.
The combination of learning and career support with a certificate from a top university gives graduates a boost as they enter the workforce. And with these courses from NYU, you’ll be building your future in a forward-thinking new field.
Learn new skills, receive career support, and obtain a certificate from a top university at a fraction of the conventional cost with Emeritus.Check out Emeritus’ offerings today.
NYU Extended Reality Courses
As the XR field has continued to grow, people have started to specialize in either the software development side or the user experience side of the field. NYU Tandon gives you the opportunity to study either facet of this cutting-edge field in programs that last for just a few months, along with the credibility on your resume that only an established university can provide.
Michael Allison is a senior software engineer at Scatter, and he helped build the AR/VR Development and 3D Graphics course as a faculty member at NYU Tandon. Scatter makes volumetric films and the creative tools that power them. These tools capture three-dimensional video content during the filmmaking process that is viewable in six degrees of freedom allowing XR viewers to personally interact with the entertainment experience.
“We’re trying to push this new medium. There are a few others that have an interest in this field like Intel and Microsoft,” Professor Allison said. “It’s an emerging medium. It’s immersive 3D-first, and it’s really great for making virtual reality storytelling come to life using real people, capturing their real emotions and being.”
But before Professor Allison was part of an XR revolution, he was an NYU grad student working on a master’s degree in interactive telecommunications. He was programming graphics and doing procedural art when the Oculus Rift first came out.
“I tried it out and immediately [fell] in love with the possibility of being inside the worlds I was creating with the computer graphics I was writing,” Michael said. “So, that was it. I knew I had to go in that direction.”
If you want to build immersive worlds and the methods that people can use to interact with them, Professor Allison and the other passionate developers that built each program have given you robust options.
Professional Certificate in AR/VR Development and 3D Graphics
This seven-month course teaches students to build experiences in a game engine, script 3D environments, and create prototypes out of their ideas. You’ll be building these experiences using the Unity platform. This technology began its life as a game engine before expanding to offer a fully-fledged suite of XR solutions.
Professor Allison is obsessed with particle systems, which can be used for everything from rendering a new universe to creating realistic and dynamic water simulations. Throughout the course, you’ll pick up some of his expertise in numerous ways. For example, you’ll learn how every step of the graphics process works from how your graphics card drives the pixels in your screen to how shader programs create those pixels.
“I always want to know from all the way to the bottom how something is really working,” Professor Allison said. “My approach to teaching that section was really about starting at the bottom. And while that is maybe a lot to absorb in a short amount of time, at least knowing how that process works really helps you when you’re working on a high-level tool like Unity. You’ll know how to use a shader or a mesh, and that the results you get on the screen aren’t magic.”
You’ll learn more than just that. You’ll lay a foundation in object tracking in AR before progressing to projects as complex as building your own virtual world. You’ll also see how AR, VR, and AI collaborate in areas beyond media/entertainment — such as the medical industry — to get a broader sense of what’s possible with these technologies. This course will help you become a competent XR developer, and thanks to recent developments in XR technologies, a career in this field has never been more possible.
“If we were teaching this course, maybe five or 10 years ago, that would not be the case,” Professor Allison said. “It would have been almost impossible to create a course like this and have it be relevant the next year, whereas I think the industry is at a point now, especially where all these tools have become more consistent.”
This is the right course at the right time for people interested in the intersection between design, development. Though this course won’t be extremely coding-intensive, it helps if you do have a background in programming, either professionally or just as a hobby. And there are plenty of resources to help you learn C#, the programming language you’ll be using in this course.
Professor Allison enjoyed building this course, and he even got to employ his passion for particle systems to spice up the curriculum and teach the creative technologist’s mindset and process.
“When you’re in VR, you have to navigate around with your hands and maybe you see an arc that connects to a reticle that shows you where you will teleport or something,” Professor Allison said. “But I think just having visuals like simple lines and circles is kind of boring.”
“So I break down how to create visual effects for those elements using particle systems. And I do it in the framework of you having a magic wand. It becomes this magical stylized particle simulation, and you can teleport yourself around! it just feels really great and it was really fun to put together.”
The next cohort of this program begins on September 16, and it requires a time commitment of around 15 to 20 hours per week. You can pay for the program upfront at $7,000, or take advantage of the program’s payment plans to spread the cost around.
If you’re interested in something equally engaging but more design-focused, the team at NYU Tandon also has something for you.
Professional Certificate in UX & Emerging Interaction Design
This six-month course trains designers to build out user experiences (UX) and design in XR. If you’ve already learned the principles of UX design for tech, or if you’ve done any work in graphic design, you can round out your skills here.
Digital experiences are shifting the ways that users interact with technology every day, and if you’re already working in UX design, this course will help you stay on top of the shifting landscape. You’ll take the design principles you’ve already mastered, and use them to create user-friendly XR experiences with some brand new tools.
“It’s approaching it as a more structured way of thinking about breaking down XR experiences and design with the users in mind,” Professor Allison said. “You design these really technically advanced things with a human at the center of them.”
You’ll learn the tools you need to develop a painless UX that takes advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology in this course. You’ll start by prototyping your UX in Figma before also exploring haptics and designing with Unity and Adobe XD. As you approach your capstone project, you’ll learn how to explain your vision to stakeholders and create your own project with design documents for your portfolio.
This course’s curriculum is a collaboration between NYU’s world-renowned Tisch School of the Arts and Audio UX, a company that’s created audio branding for USA Today, electric vehicle manufacturers, and more. So if you’re a designer looking to future-proof your skills while learning from a company with years of industry experience, this course is for you.
The next cohort of this program begins on August 19, and it also requires a time commitment of around 15 to 20 hours per week. You can pay for the program upfront at $7,000, or through one of the program’s payment plans.
The cost of these programs may seem too low for everything that you’re learning, but the asynchronous nature of Emeritus’ programs helps make them more accessible. You’ll have the opportunity to learn from experts in both fields at one of the most prestigious universities in the country thanks to this partnership.
Professor Allison believes that if students are passionate about either topic, they should give their programs a try. They may initially seem daunting, but if you’re ready to fully commit, then you can help lay the groundwork for a field that’s on the verge of mass adoption.
“Bring a passion to build something compelling. Because there’s so much content that you might not be able to absorb it all,” Professor Allison said. “So come ready to absorb as much information as possible and bring excitement to try things and fail and try again and fail fast towards success.”
“This sounds really hard, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. I think once you get into it, it’s so creative and there’s so much room for expression and new ideas that it’s totally worth taking a dive into the field.”
If you’re ready to dive into this field, visit the NYU Tandon site to apply now.
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