Main image of article How Much Can VR and AR Developers Make?

How much can a virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) developer make?

According to, which crowdsources compensation data for a variety of tech professions, the answer is quite a bit. Median total compensation for VR/AR software engineers stands at $252,000; VR/AR specialists at companies such as Meta and Niantic (maker of popular AR games such as “Pokemon Go”) can earn nearly a million dollars per year from their base salary, bonus, and stock options.

The data from aligns with other sources, including a Washington Post report from April that suggested Meta’s “metaverse” engineers (tasked with building out VR apps and services) are earning anywhere from $600,000 to $1 million, depending on their seniority and specialization.

VR and AR remain relatively niche industries, which is one reason why specialists in these technologies can command high salaries—relatively few people have mastered the tools and techniques necessary to build excellent VR and AR apps and services. In addition to that, many of the nation’s largest tech companies are convinced that VR and AR will become major computing platforms over the next few decades, and they’re willing to pay top dollar to tech professionals who can potentially help realize that future.

For those curious about VR and AR, you have several options for exploration. Meta’s massive developer site gives you access to the tools and documentation for its VR platform; and if you’re interested in what Apple is doing to create virtual worlds, you should review the VisionOS SDK, which developers can use to build software for the upcoming Vision Pro headset. (Apple developers interested this space should also learn ARKit (the company’s augmented-reality toolkit), Unity’s developer tools, Apple’s Xcode app-building toolkit (including Reality Composer Pro), and the Swift and Objective-C programming languages.) 

In general, developers who want to build games and immersive experiences should learn how to use the ultra-popular Unreal and Unity platforms. Even if the VR and AR markets don’t take off anytime soon, Unreal and Unity knowledge is transferrable to other fields, most notably game design. While it’s anyone’s guess when VR and AR will truly go mainstream, keep an eye on the space, especially since companies continue to pour billions into related hardware and software.