US: West Coast Leads VR Talent Geography

US: West Coast Leads VR Talent Geography
December 17, 2016

As more US tech companies bet on virtual and augmented reality, the number of professional people who work on the field increase, latest LinkedIn data shows.


“In April 2016, there were 22,699 people on LinkedIn from US with the phrase ‘virtual reality’ in their profile,” wrote Justin Hendrix, Executive Director of NYC Media Lab, in a series of tweets.


“Today, in December 2016, there are 34,673 people,” he added, representing nearly a 50 percent job increase, in 9 months. “This isn’t a scientific measure. The numbers are simply pulled from search results on LinkedIn,” told Justin Hendrix to Haptical, about the accuracy of these statistics.


“There is probably a hype effect at play here, but the numbers are interesting directionally. No surprise that they map to media and tech job hubs.” According to Hendrix’s search on LinkedIn, Google is the top company offering virtual reality jobs amongst the other tech giants in US.


Currently, 522 people are working at Google with ‘virtual reality’ phrase in their profile, followed by 504 at Microsoft, 260 at Facebook/Oculus, 241 at Intel Corporation and 230 at IBM. Justin Hendrix says, ‘the total number of people who have the phrase ‘augmented reality’ in the profiles is 21,487.’


The map of professionals in US is also an interesting sign that shows how the West Coast has a stronger base on immersive virtual reality technology, compared to East Coast.


According to the LınkedIn statistics, San Francisco Bay Area has 5,686 VR profiles, followed by 4,150 in Los Angeles and 1,812 in Seattle. On the East Coast, New York is the most popular destination for VR related works with 3,990 profiles. NY is followed by 1,283 profiles in Boston, 1184 in Washington DC and 370 profiles in the Miami area.


The same map shows that currently Chicago has 1,034 LinkedIn people with the phrase ‘virtual reality’ in their profile, and Austin has 574. Justin Hendrix claims, San Francisco has added 2,000 more VR professionals profiles since April 2016. In the same period NYC added 1,700 more.


In a recent news, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) announced to invest $6 million to build a virtual and augmented reality lab in NY.


The announcement is seen as a move to bolster New York City’s positioning in the emerging virtual and augmented reality industry. The Virtual and Augmented Reality sector has seen nearly $3 billion investments in US during the past two years, according to a 2016 Citigroup report.


The report also projects that the global VR/AR market could grow to $2.16 trillion by 2035 as different industries and applications make use of the technology.

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