The Internet of Things (IoT) is proliferating across a multitude of sectors. We’re fast adopting IoT technology across our workplaces, homes and cities in the form of smart home assistants, connected lights and machine-to-machine communication.
Investment in the IoT worldwide is expected to reach $880 billion by 2022. With this growth comes the need for people who can work with the IoT, to ensure devices work well together, to analyse data and secure them.
Because it’s an emerging technology, people with direct experience in the IoT are in scarce supply. But that leads to a great opportunity for those in other industries who want to work with the IoT. Companies are broadening their horizons and looking for candidates in other areas, after all.
Driving success with the IoT requires broad skillsets in big data, engineering and cybersecurity. Plus sector-specific skills like setting up IoT infrastructure on a factory floor.
The IoT will create a vast quantity of data. Data scientists, analysts and visualisers will be needed to make sense of this. In just a year, there was a 220 per cent increase in the demand for machine learning skills thanks to the IoT.
Luckily, the skills required are similar to other data science and analysis roles – with a few exceptions. Expertise in sensor data analysis, data centre management and predictive analytics are highly desirable in the field.
Because of the demand for big data skills across all industries, employers are considering candidates from a range of backgrounds neyond technical and engineering backgrounds, to include people from hard sciences, maths and social sciences. As long as they can prove that they have the requisite skills, an analytical approach and working knowledge of data science toolkits, these candidates will go far in the IoT.
Engineers are integral to the ‘things’ within the IoT. They build devices and the networks that connect them. An IoT engineer is highly collaborative with other functions, so having hybrid skills is a significant advantage. A hardware engineer would do well to have software capabilities and vice-versa. Connecting two IoT devices and making them work well together requires a deep understanding of APIs also.
Data breaches and attacks are becoming more commonplace, with the huge growth of the IoT increasing this risk. Especially since research has discovered an IoT device can be compromised within five minutes of connecting to the internet.
To address this, companies will need to invest in IoT-specific security talent. Such people will have knowledge of various cybersecurity solutions and technologies that relate to end-point devices. Having a strong, proven working knowledge in wireless networking is essential. As is understanding IoT-specific vulnerabilities and strategic risk. Ethical hacking and knowledge of Public key infrastructure (PKI) are also sought after.
Because the IoT will work across all industries, there are many inroads into the sector. Candidates with strong analytics skills, hybrid engineering knowledge and security experience in end-point vulnerabilities and wireless networking, will be in good standing in the future. Savvy candidates are learning what skills are needed by IoT employers and then honing those abilities – in the IoT itself as well as other sectors.
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