According to Gartner, more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate an IoT element by 2020, which helps explain why the current job boom is happening in IoT (Internet of Things). Unfortunately, even with the booming job market, it appears that there aren’t enough skills to go around; the Inmarsat Research Program reported earlier this year that 47% of companies don’t have necessary IoT skills to realize true business transformation.
Fortunately for you, looks can be deceiving. In the area of IoT hires, the true problem isn’t that there aren’t enough skills to go around, it’s that companies often hire inefficiently because they don’t realize that IoT takes an entire team with a range of skillsets. Gartner also reports that three-quarters of IoT projects will drag out twice as long as they should – but that means that, with the right team, your company can become the one-quarter that easily pulls ahead of the competition. All you need to do is hire smart.
Here are the most necessary skills for IoT in 2018.
- Data Security
One of the issues of leveraging IoT is that the devices don’t tend to be tremendously secure. Last year’s DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack that shut down some of the Internet’s most popular sites including Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix was an unfortunate side effect of lax security policies for IoT devices.
It’s a given that you don’t want hackers to control the functionality of any IoT devices you’ve created, including devices for consumer use or that you choose to leverage in your own operations. The key to providing adequate protection for your devices is to use a layered approach to security that protects critical, highly vulnerable areas.
To protect your IoT devices (and your company’s data), you’ll need to hire for a set of IT security skills:
- Security engineering – determines your vulnerabilities and fixes them
- Infrastructure security – covers your networks, computers, devices, and more
- Software security – ensures that your software is hard to hack
- Hardware security – some commodity hardware is infected when shipped and must be cleaned
- Endpoint security – your company’s computers are connected to various IoT devices and must have more protection than notoriously behind-the-times antivirus software
- Physical security – often forgotten by device manufacturers, protects stored data even when a device is physically stolen
Ensuring that your technology is properly protected before it ships is only one half of the total security equation. After devices are in use, you must also maintain a long-term team of IT professionals to monitor security so they can counteract the ever-evolving threat landscape in today’s digitally driven world.
- Data Science
IoT devices generate a lot of data. In fact, since IoT was unleashed on the world, global data transmission has increased from approximately 2,000 GB per second in 2007 to 26,600 GB per second in 2016. By 2021, those numbers will have increased to a whopping 105,800 GB per second. Searching through all this data manually is literally impossible because it’s too much to filter and organize, so it’s lucky that computers can also analyze all of our data for us – as long as we have professionals to set up our data analytics the right way.
Data compilation, extraction, and analysis requires tech professionals who are skilled in:
- Machine learning – new technologies enable better, faster, more efficient machine learning that’s quite affordable but they require well-written algorithms to work properly
- Back-end engineering – AI (artificial intelligence) needs updates and tweaking for continuous improvement
- Data architecture – setting up pathways for data to flow through determines the speed and range of your data capabilities
As we’ve all learned by this point, data is easy to amass but hard to use if we don’t have the right systems in place. Since your IoT devices will exponentiate your data output, you’ll need to ensure you have the right data infrastructure in place to correctly capture and leverage the wealth of information you’ll soon have access to.
Though you know that developers are crucial to creating IoT devices, the pace of tech moves so fast that you may not know the various development skills for which you’re looking to hire. Talent acquisition for your 2018 IoT development projects should focus on:
- Microprocessors – these tiny devices control input and output, which is what makes the IoT interactive
- Node.js – the application of choice for IoT development due to scalability and a wide, open-source-powered ecosystem
- GPS development – if you want a location aware device, it needs to have built-in GPS capabilities
- Design – aesthetics is important for consumer adoption and intuitive functionality is critical for business use
- Electrical engineering – though you’ll probably purchase most of your electronics pre-made, an electrical engineer can ensure that the components you choose work efficiently in tandem
In addition to your developers, you’ll also need ongoing technical support professionals who can maintain your IoT devices using a full-stack of development capabilities and also handle support requests from device users. Whether your IoT device is meant to be used solely in-house or is something you intend to ship out to the world, when your end users have a problem, you’ll need a friendly helping hand to keep them using your device. After all, widespread adoption is what makes your time, effort, and cash investments all worth it.
Will IoT Transform Your Organization?
W. Roy Schulte, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner once said that, “The IoT is relevant in virtually every industry…” but as recently as January 2016, only one-quarter of organizations had reached a stage in which IoT was transforming their business processes. If Gartner’s predictions about widespread IoT adoption by 2020 is correct, the future’s successful companies will be the ones that start planning their IoT projects now.
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