How to get started in the XR Industry

Whatever you do….don’t use cheesy images of VR to promote your work!

Hello, my name is Alan Smithson, Co-Founder and CMO at MetaVRse a 3D creation platform on the web. Over the past 5 years, we have been building XR solutions for some of the worlds largest companies while evangelizing the industry through my writing, podcast and show. Many times a day, I get asked ‘how do I get started in the XR industry?’ — I sincerely hope this information helps you learn more faster and find your path in XR, because we need more talented, intelligent people just like you creating the future of human communication with us.

I started learning about virtual, augmented and mixed reality (XR) in 2014 after having my mind blown with VR at Curiosity Camp. Ever since that moment I have spent every waking moment learning about the industry, how it works, who are the players, where are the investments going, which companies are using it, what solutions scale, which die.

The ebb and flow of any new industry has its fair share of boneyards, and XR is no exception, but the interesting part of everything we have seen to date is that despite the enormous amount of marketing hype around the technology, very few people are actually using glasses or head worn devices in their regular daily lives, which means that the XR industry is only in its true infancy. Over the next decade, XR technologies will help create trillions in additional economic and productivity value. There will not be one industry not impacted by XR.

So if you are reading this and you are trying to figure out whether or not XR is right for you, go find someone with a VR headset (Quest, Vive), AR glasses (nReal, ThinkReality) or MR visor (Hololens/Magic Leap) and spend as much time as possible trying the new new! This is the fastest way to learn about the industry. TRY EVRYTHING!

A few high level use cases for XR

Here are some resources that I have created and used over the past 5 years to help bring you up to speed with all things XR. Good luck on your journey, remember the whole industry needs you to be successful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers, everyone is making it up as they go, just like you. Go forth and create something of value to the world and most importantly, Have Fun!

Here are my tips on how to get started in XR:

  1. Watch my weekly XR Show
  2. Subscribe and listen to my podcast (XR For Business)
  3. Subscribe to my wife/partner Julie Smithson’s podcast (XR For Learning)
  4. Read the XR Collaboration Guide
  5. Learn about game engines; MetaVRse, Unity, Unreal
  6. Learn about 3D Creation Tools (Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender)
  7. Watch keynote talks from AWE
  8. Connect with your local VR/AR Association Chapter
  9. Sign up for Microsoft HoloLens Mixed Reality Academy
  10. Subscribe to UploadVR, Road to VR, and VRScout
  11. Setup Google alerts for “Virtual Reality” and “Augmented Reality”
  12. Follow Charlie Fink, Cathy Hackl, Alan Smithson (me), Tom Emrich, Julie Smithson, Jeremy Dalton on LinkedIn
  13. Read XR news 2–4 hours a day (set Google Alerts for ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘Augmented Reality’)
  14. Learn to create AR on Facebook’s SparkAR and Snap Lens Studio.
  15. Take the FREE XR Course at University of Michigan.
  16. Sign up for Skarred Ghost and Immersive Wire
  17. Speak with EVERY person you know working in XR about the potential of it and ask “where do you see this going?”
  18. Try every XR experience that comes out (games, puzzles, enterprise training, etc.)
  19. Buy an Oculus Quest 2
  20. Go to ALL XR meetups and conferences and meet as many people as possible in the space.
  21. Start listening to the Voices of VR Podcast with Kent Bye (hint: listen on 1.5x speed or you will never get through them…there are over 1500 episodes now)
  22. Sign up for ARtillry Statistics to keep up to date.
  23. Try building your own 3D experiences on the MetaVRse Engine.

I hope this list helps propel your career into the stratosphere. Welcome to an incredible industry filled with some amazing people all with a vision to create better communication through this new medium of XR.

Alan Smithson, Co-Founder & CMO at MetaVRse




Alan’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.

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Alan Smithson

Alan Smithson

Alan’s purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.

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