Upskilling with IoT: The Answer to The Skill Gap

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For those of you asking, “How can I be the answer to the IoT skill gap?”, a recent Spencer Stuart series that explored the people side of IoT, may provide the answer. They said that “Talent with unrelated backgrounds will collaborate on the design of solutions and that companies will need  to work with unconventional partners, possibly even  competitors to bridge the skill gap.

This is encouraging because it means that because there is no one skill that IoT recruiters are looking for; the skills you have now, whether it is in coding, artificial intelligence, data analytics or operational technology, are the skills that IoT companies need to build IoT devices.

So yes, there is a skills gap in the IoT market ready to be exploited by all you techies. Yes, your current skills will be valuable but…(there is always a but!) to be truly successful and to envision successful growth in the IoT sector, the best thing to do is showcase a diversified skill set.

Listed below is a list of skills currently in high demand in IoT. A diversified skill set would imply showing expertise in at least 3-5 of them.

PROGRAMMING SKILLS

For IoT devices to perform useful functions, their microcontrollers need to be programmed. The most popular programming languages in use today in IoT are:

  • C, C++, Java, Python

Also note that the Arduino prototyping platform provides a library of C/C++ functions for developer use, and is widely used in the IoT space, so developing expertise in this would be a very good idea.

HARDWARE ENGINEERING

The success of IoT devices rests as much on its hardware design, as on its software. These skills include:

  • AutoCAD drafting
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) engineering
  • Wireless sensor design
  • Quality assurance
  • Sensor technology
  • Embedded software

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DATA ANALYTICS

IoT isn’t just about products being connected to the internet. Its real value comes from the information that spews from these smart devices. IoT companies want data wizards to collect, store, and analyze the data from their products so that they can use them for smart actionable intelligence.

Skills in Hadoop, SAS, R and NoSQL , as well as business acumen and communication are what IoT recruiters are looking for. The soft skills that encompass a data analyst, like intuition, creativity and perseverance are also essential.

OPERATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (OT)

IoT has brought into focus the potential for huge synergies between OT and IoT. In fact many experts believe that IoT is largely the physical merging of many traditional OT and IT components. Thus OT skills are a critical part of an IoT professional’s skillset. If an IT professional is able to understand and show expertise in OT or on the contrary if an OT expert is able to pick up some programming skills, they would be highly marketable in the IoT talent space.

UI/UX DESIGN

For IoT objects to become popular they need to have effective, user friendly interfaces. IoT objects will come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and those who can help design them to have high levels of user experience, without diluting its effectiveness will be highly employable. These skills include:

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Service Design

INFORMATION SECURITY

With the data industry having exploded the last decade, information security specialists are already some of the most sought after professionals out there. Now with the advent of IoT, and the vulnerabilities of IoT devices, they are even more so in demand. Some of the popular security skills are:

  • vulnerability assessment
  • PKI (public key infrastructure) security
  • ethical hacking
  • wireless network security
  • data ethics and privacy policy

MOBILE DEVELOPMENT

IoT will not only change the way mobile app development work is done, but it has broadened the scope of mobile development. With IoT, mobile developers will be needed, not just for smart phones, but also for all kinds of varied smart devices. Those with experience in developing apps that can talk to external hardware and sensors, will be in high demand.

CLOUD COMPUTING

We have watched the potential of ‘The Cloud’ explode, primarily because it is cheaper and faster than traditional data centers. Today businesses and IT are using the cloud and cloud apps more than ever. Now with IoT, things just got a whole lot more exciting, as IoT can only function through cloud computing technology. So, if you can develop skills related to cloud computing, you will be very suited for IoT jobs.

NETWORKING

The key to IoT is the devices’ ability to communicate with other devices. IoT companies will need people who have expertise in current networking standards and technologies, wireless connections and radio frequency identification.

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