Almost every industry is currently experiencing some sort of skills shortage. Advances to modern technology have created new roles and forever changed required skillsets, at a rate that education and real-life experiences have been unable to keep pace with.
Many of today’s IoT experts previously worked with broadcast technology. Experience with a physical product with sensors capable of connecting to other devices or the internet naturally lends itself to working with IoT devices. However, as technology becomes increasingly cloud-based, few universities are teaching students the required skills for working with physical devices.
The current skills shortage
This lack of investment in skills at university level is concerning, particularly as we are already facing a skills gap within IoT technology. Almost half of IoT leaders believe that there are not enough skilled workers, with 38 per cent citing complexity or technical challenges as a barrier to further adoption. If talent cannot be found, progression and development of the IoT will stall.
Some tech giants, such as Microsoft, have attempted to close the skills gap with training schools and initiatives, but without a combined approach from businesses, governments and academic institutions, the war for talent is likely to intensify.
The curriculum conundrum
Several leading universities now offer excellent Master’s degrees within IoT technology. However, the practical application of this technology which was once taught at Bachelor’s level is increasingly disappearing from curriculums in favour of newer innovations. This means students must commit to further tuition if they are to be skilled enough to work within the IoT, and that they are graduating at Bachelor’s level with less exposure to IoT compared with previous generations.
The experience paradox
While businesses in need of IoT experts are generally in agreement that there is a lack of skilled talent, very few are currently investing in closing the skills gap. Often this is because organisations rely upon contract workers, who will work within the business for a temporary period, and so there is a reluctance to invest in talent. Equally, contract workers are already skilled in their respective fields, limiting their desire for organisational learning and development. But, if universities aren’t supplying IoT talent, and organisations are not giving experience to those who need it, how will we close the gap?
An holistic solution
Clearly, if universities are declining to teach these much sought-after skills, then there is a disconnect between education offered and the experience needed. Organisations must work with academic institutions on a local and national level, so that graduates are best prepared for the world of work, and vice versa. This won’t solve the current skills gap, but it will prevent it from worsening and widening in years to come. Future generations will be ready and able to rise to the challenges of the IoT.
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