Future-Proofing Your IT Career
Future-Proofing Your IT Career
IoT is changing how enterprises operate. To stay relevant, here are six ways general IT pros can prepare for the IoT job boom.
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According to a recent forecast from Gartner, more than 20.4 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020. This means tens of thousands of jobs in the IoT marketplace, especially for engineers exploring new opportunities in the Internet-of-everything economy.
According to Srini Vemula, Global Product Management Leader at SenecaGlobal, the barrier to entry is lower than ever. It’s equivalent to what it was when Apple and Google first introduced the App Store and Google Play, both of which led developers to rapidly monetize their ideas. Amazon’s Alexa is a well-known example of this, as developers can build a complementary product or service, integrate with the Alexa platform, and monetize it by selling the solution through their marketplace.
IoT devices, at a basic level, can be broken into the following six components. Each of these components involves different technologies and techniques, which require developers to acquire new skills.
Here are the six types of specialties IT pros looking to future-proof their career should look to develop over the coming year:
Specialty in building a thing that does something useful — Electrical engineers need to harness sensor technology and domain knowledge skills. Some electrical engineers may choose to specialize in one of the many sensor types, whether it be for position, pressure, flow, acoustic, humidity, light, or temperature. To develop an edge over the competition, you should focus on developing the ‘thing’ that can best sense, act, compute, and communicate with the IoT network.
Specialty in developing communicative chips — A chip, which is attached to the thing, senses, computes, and communicates data. The skills needed to harness this technology are integrated circuits technology, low power wireless technologies, and embedded system engineering. To gain an edge here, one could develop an affordable chip that modulates wireless technologies and is extremely small, accurate, and energy efficient.
Specialty in developing communications gateways — Every device needs a communications gateway that collects data from the thing and sends to a cloud. Network engineers need to understand wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, LTE, WIMAX, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Network architects need to be able to engineer communication protocols and design networks that can work with limited packet sizes and UDP bindings such as CoAP. You’ll need to develop network protocols that are self-healing, reliable, secure, can handle congestion gracefully, and scale on demand.
Specialty in managing a computing cloud — Another crucial component to an IoT device is a computing cloud that analyzes the data and provides feedback to the thing. This is where Big Data technologies complement the IoT world, since collected data provides a wealth of opportunities for:
Engineers with experience with Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) and Batch parallel processing technologies from the Hadoop stack.
Engineers proficient in handling unstructured data and storage such as HDFS and Cassandra.
Big Data engineers for complex event processing with tools like Apache Spark.
Data scientists applying machine learning for powering cognitive computing — self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition, and natural processing to mimic humans.
Data visualization engineers who are able to identify patterns and structure of the data.
Specialty in developing security solutions that cut across the IoT stack — Engineers who are able to secure data, networks, and devices from bad actors will be in high demand.
Specialty in domain knowledge and/or regulatory expertise — Professionals without technical expertise can use their domain knowledge to help identify and solve problems with IoT. Regulatory frameworks and collected data will continue to be applied and drafted in the future. So, people from this space should take the lead in coming up with proposals for different verticals considering security and privacy aspects.
You can demonstrate value by being able to do the following:
Use of sensors to capture an event or state.
Transmit sensor data reliably to the cloud.
Store and aggregate sensor data.
Analyze data leading to information, predictions, and actions
Use sensor data to drive decision-making and actions.
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