The skills it takes to be an IoT expert

40% of technology professionals believe IoT will be the biggest future challenge for the tech industry. This was a finding from our Voice of the Workforce research which was based on the views of more than 1,600 technology professionals around the world. And there are a number of ways in which IoT is already disrupting the industry, as indicated in a recent report by Canonical; the company behind open source software platform Ubuntu.

From greater business insights to reduced operating expenditure and how it could enable new services to be developed, there are a range of benefits businesses recognise that the internet of things can bring. But as with any emerging technology, there are also a number of challenges that IoT poses and one of these is knowing what skills are needed to reap the benefits that this connected technology can bring and importantly, where to find them. Many IT professionals looking to get stuck into the IoT revolution also want to know how they can expand on their experience and broaden their skill set to increase their employability within this field. One handy source which provides some insight to these questions is Canonical’s Defining IoT Business Models report.

Canonical’s report, which collated the views of more than 360 IoT professionals, found that more than two thirds of IoT professionals are struggling to hire the IoT skills they need. Nick Bailey, Head of Practice - Connected World, Networkers, explains why this might be so:

“Whilst there is a large number of people with knowledge of a specific element within IoT such as software, hardware, and analytics, there are less people who possess a mix of these skills. As architecture, coding and operations all have to come together for successful IoT, it’s extremely difficult to find professionals who can combine all of these skills. They not only need to possess strong technical skills but they also need to know the market and business flow for a specific market vertical. From experience, professionals from a technical background often struggle to show experience of this which is why it’s so difficult to find professionals such as IoT solutions architects.”

 

The research also revealed the skills that IoT professionals are finding difficult to find:

  • Data analytics & big data (35%)
  • Embedded software development (33%)
  • Embedded electronics (32%)
  • IT security (31%)
  • Artificial Intelligence (30%)

 

These skill sets are not only recognised as difficult to find but are also unsurprisingly seen as skills that are necessary for IoT experts. 75% said data analytics skills were necessary in IoT, followed by software development skills which 71% deemed crucial.

However, aside from the technical skills that people expect IoT experts to have, there are of course certain ‘soft’ skills that also come in handy in IoT jobs. In a survey of 500 IEEE engineers commissioned by Northeastern University Silicon Valley, over 55% said the strength they thought was most relevant to those working in IoT was communication; being able to explain ideas or concepts clearly and effectively. It’s critical that IoT sales people can explain to customers (often C level execs) the value of IoT in order to gain buy-in. With the connected world still in its relative infancy, IoT experts are looked to for ideas and practical thinking as well as the skills to communicate their thoughts to the wider business.

Once employers have decided what skills they need and analysed what skills already exist within their business, the other decision to make is whether to hire people on an outsourced, contract or permanent basis.

Nick explains what types of opportunities he is currently seeing within the IoT jobs market:

“There is strong demand for end-to-end IoT Solution Architects, Project Managers, Program Managers and professionals with both technical and business knowledge to make the best IoT business decisions. There is also demand for Sales, Presales, Product Managers, Business Development and Ecosystem Managers. From the technical side there is a need for Embedded Software Developers , System Architects, and Web Application Developers on the server or cloud side of things.”

To view our latest IoT and Connected World jobs, click here.

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