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How Unreal Engine 5 will affect the Unreal developer job market?

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Unreal Engine 4 developer’s skills are still in high demand in the job market in 2021

3D graphics and real-time 3D graphics are currently a global trend present across various industries and companies that are competing with one another to deliver the most immersive and interactive experiences. Technologically speaking, there are two main players in the market when it comes to 3D graphics: Unreal Engine vs Unity. We’ve already covered the Unity Developer job market in another piece, so now it’s time to analyse what’s happening in the other corner – the Unreal Engine 4 Developer jobs.

There’s a job market analysis in the context of demand for 3D graphics and real-time 3D graphics skills done by Epic Games and Burning Glass Technologies. They found that the demand for Unreal Engine skills is growing faster than any other segment in real-time 3D, and those jobs are paying the highest salary premiums in all of 3D graphics.

In general real-time 3D skills are undersupplied and the demand is growing rapidly. In English-speaking countries across the world, real-time 3D skills are pulling ahead of 3D graphics skills in terms of growth in demand. Since 2013, the market has grown by 243% in the UK, 653% in Australia and over 1000% in Singapore!

Unreal Developer salary

With demand outstripping supply, Unreal Engine Programmers salaries well outstrip the market average, and this gap is increasing. Jobs requiring Unreal Engine 4 skills exhibit the highest pay rates out of those in real-time technology, which commands an even larger premium over the already substantial salaries found in 3D graphics. In fact, Unreal Engine jobs offer an average salary that is $14,354 above those that do not. Also graduates who know Unreal Engine are highly sought after, and they earn more – can get a salary premium of 45% above other entry-level jobs.

Unreal Engine is the fastest-growing game engine skill

First of all – what makes Unreal Engine so popular and in demand? Apart from the technology itself, one of the factors is the Epic Games payment model: any game or software maker who uses Unreal Engine for commercial purposes doesn’t owe Epic Games a penny until a single piece of software exceeds one million USD ($1,000,000) in gross revenue. This is on top of the company’s existing policy to not charge Unreal Engine users a monthly fee, whether they’re using the software suite for commercial or educational purposes. No wonder now that within the AEC market, Unreal Engine is the number one real-time rendering engine according to CG Architect.

Unreal Engine 5 demo

All Unreal Engine Programmers have seen it – the Unreal Engine 5 demo. Without doubt, it’s going to be a game changer because it will enable truly immersive experiences while reducing the complexity of building games, as well as in film and animation. The new features remove the constraints of a static world and concerns of poly counts. Unreal Engine 5 introduces increased levels of visual variety and a new approach to rendering of the models and assets. It scales heavily with resolution showing crazy levels of fidelity and levels of detail we haven’t seen before in any engine. Seems that all the Fortnite money was put to a very good use ;). I bet Unreal Engine programmers are dying to see how this impacts the power and memory use as usually there’s a price to pay.

Apart from the graphics, Unreal Engine 5 also introduces a new audio technology that brings a whole new level of realism. Combining that with the graphics, it adds up to a more immersive experience than we ever seen before.

UE5’s technology is critical for next gen consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, though there are some doubts in the community how performant it will be on older consoles. I guess we’ll see about that soon enough!

Future of the Unreal Engine jobs market

The demand for Unreal Engine Developers jobs is projected to increase 122% in the next 10 years, nearly twice that of other market competitors. Unreal Engine is the most in-demand engine when it comes to real-time graphics and with the real-time features and scalability that Unreal Engine 5 has to offer, there’s no doubt the demand will be rapidly increasing.

Unreal Engine 5 is expected to release in preview in early 2021. A full release is expected to follow later in 2021, but for now you can try Unreal Engine 4 to make the transition from one to the other smoother when the time comes.