The Internet of Things (IoT) industry that was once at a nascent stage is now booming. According to a report by Gartner, in 2017, the number of connected devices in use worldwide was around 8.4 billion, outnumbering people. The same report predicts that by 2020, more than 20.8 billion IoT devices will be in use. That’s just over two years from now, and that’s a lot of devices. Srini Vemula, global product management leader at SenecaGlobal, believes this influx of new IoT devices will lead to tens of thousands of new jobs in the IoT economy.
Therefore, to remain relevant — and build a successful career — not only do you have to keep your skills up to date, but you should be ready to embrace the IoT explosion. To get started let’s understand the skills that you will need to build a career in IoT.
- Communicative chips
These chips sense and communicate data and should be energy efficient, very small and super accurate. This needs a focus on integrated circuits, low-power technologies, and embedded systems.
- Security solutions that cut across the IoT stack
Engineers who are able to apply strong security measures and controls both to IoT devices and the data they process will be in high demand. The key focus here would be on end-to-end security, including the ability to perform reliable testing.
- Communication gateways
These are the wireless technology — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, WiMAX or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) — devices that allow collected data to be sent to the cloud. The network engineers managing this will need to be familiar with these technologies and be ready to engineer protocols and networks that can work with small packets and constrained protocols.
These are a critical part of the IoT infrastructure and building useful devices that are able to sense, act, compute and communicate with the IoT network is what is needed to move forward.
- Cloud management
Analyzing data in the cloud and providing feedback to the IoT device is one of the key aspects. Engineers looking to build a career in IoT must get experience with “Extract, Transform, Load” (ETL) along with batch parallel-processing technologies from the Hadoop stack.
It is also essential to be comfortable working with unstructured data and storage such as HDFS and Cassandra, complex event-processing using tools such as Apache Spark, machine learning for cognitive computing, and data visualization that can identify data patterns and structure.
The scope of career in IoT in India
Predictions from multiple global firms say that by 2020 there will nearly 25 billion to 50 billion connected devices. That is a huge number and the Government of India under its Digital India Initiative has given IoT its due importance. The government’s vision comprises of building an IoT industry worth $15 billion by the end of this decade, and for that, they have set out a strategic plan to increase domain proficiency, promote entrepreneurs, accommodate failures and invigorate the research sector in IoT.
The steady growth of this industry is opening up a world of opportunities. Back in the day, no one knew Internet of Things would become this big a field. Even though there are quite a few defined roles and positions now, all that might change pretty soon since standards in this domain are still being created.
Career options in IoT
Tech companies are working to solidify their IoT strategies, but the major challenge is they don’t have the processes and talent in-house to make these things happen. In fact, Gartner says that three-quarters of IoT projects will go on for twice as long as they should, because of insufficient talent in key areas. Therefore, now is the perfect time to master the skills and build a successful career in IoT. Some of the options individuals can look at are:
- Sr. Staff C++ Software Engineer/Architect
This individual would be passionate about building core components to power the Internet of Things platform in a variety of areas such as artificial intelligence, computer science, distributed computing, stream & batch data services, large-scale system design, and more.
- Senior SW Development Engineer
As a Software Development Engineer, this individual will be responsible for architecting, designing, & implementing the organization’s IoT (Internet of Things) Products. He/she will work with the engineering team that utilizes a highly collaborative development model that requires deep involvement from start to finish of each project.
- Web Development Engineer – AWS IoT Team
A web development engineer will work towards embedding technology into physical things – from smart homes, wearables, intelligent industrial automation and more. This individual will be a passionate software engineer who loves to build customer-facing applications that operate at IoT scale.
This individual will develop new features, improve existing functionality, and design a web architecture that connects all the parts of the IoT ecosystem with a high availability web service and website. He/she will be responsible for taking projects from the beginning and see it through to completion.
- CLOUD – Senior Software Engineer
An individual in this role will participate in the design and implementation of the organization’s new software technology. They will handle support inquiries escalated from the internal technical support group and collaborate with a globally distributed engineering team.
The opportunities in the field are endless and the starting a career now would prove to be fruitful in the future. Rather than have your capabilities evaporate into dinosaur heaven, proactively assess your skills and learn the skills you don’t have. If you’re a student, mindfully consider how your educational path can aid you in becoming employable in this new era. If you’re an executive or an employer, recognize that you’ll need to adopt radical new learning approaches that impact your organization in exponential ways. There is a wealth of courses available online and offline to help you get that cutting edge.
So put on your smart-thinking-cap now and prepare to innovate!