How can organizations close the IoT skills gap?
How do we close the IoT skills gap?
Are we skilled up enough to start creating dedicated IoT specialists? Image Credit: GoodData

How can organizations close the IoT skills gap?

As the IoT continues to grow, there are currently very few ‘IoT specialists’ out there. The fact is, we have yet to see too many job postings with the term IoT actually listed in the job title. With a looming skills gap in front of us, how will we consolidate skills in the software engineering realm of developers, architects and device specialists to provide for our IoT-enabled future?

Internet of Business spoke to chiefs from GoodData, Teradata and Particle for the inside track.

Roman Stanek, CEO, GoodData

Product management is key for IoT success as this role consists of the vision, strategy and security needed to handle ‘at risk’ IoT data. Two new sets of expertise will be required with IoT: ‘How to Design’ and ‘How to Protect’. 

‘How to Design’ refers to the product manager and how IoT fits into the product. ‘How to Protect’ refers to the security aspect. All employees need to think about how IoT plays a role in the company and solutions offered.   

Organizations can identify and harness talent from resources already within their firm by looking to the ‘I’ in IoT and focusing on interconnectivity. IoT is a multi-functional collaboration of teams, since the assumption is that everything will become connected. The strategy should be owned by product management, since they handle the overall product vision and requirements. The security team must also play a large role by owning the security framework and strategy. The exposure to a company is much greater now with IoT.

IoT needs to be collaborative because traditional expertise needs to be extended. For example, when building cars in the past, one had to understand how to build the machinery, but wouldn’t be knowledgeable about the computer design. Now, one needs to know how even the smallest piece of functionality built into the car will be connected, monitored and measured. 

GoodData is known for its cloud-based business intelligence and big data analytics platform.

Dan Graham, general manager, enterprise systems, Teradata

IoT projects need edge analytics, IoT platform analytics, and scalable enterprise-class machine learning. IoT analytics developers have been brewing sensor data skills for over a decade. They are inside manufacturing, utilities, oil, and transportation companies. For them, IoT is only a buzzword. Every day, data integration developers wrangle sensor data into usable data.

And every day, data scientists distill sensor data into ROI [return on investment]. They use pattern recognition, correlations and machine learning. The IoT data skills checklist is modern data integration, sensor data analytics and big data management. None of this is easy – but nor is it hopeless.

Search your business intelligence and big data staff first. IoT sensor data skills may already be on-board. They are hiding in specific industries and professional services firms. Their heyday has come.

Teradata is known for business analytics and for its ecosystem architecture, consulting and hybrid cloud products and services.

Zach Supalla, CEO, Particle

The IoT skills gap mirrors that of the World Wide Web back in 1994. If you wanted to build a website, you couldn’t hire anyone with that particular skillset since it had never been done before. Fast forward to the year 2017 and we’re in the same predicament with IoT – it’s a good theory, but the lack of skills are holding back the actual practice according to a recent CompTIA study

Your basic IoT team includes: an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, industrial designer, embedded systems designer, one back-end developer, one front-end developer and one product manager.

But where do you find these people?

Look at your own organization. Is there someone who has stellar analytics skills, to help determine the value of the project? What about someone with great communication skills, to help lead and manage? Given that most of these folks have never worked together, success means putting them all in the same room to build and manage an IoT project. We’re still in the team-building phase of IoT, but if we leverage and evolve existing job roles and titles, we’ll see IoT take a similar story arc to that of the Web.

Particle is a full-stack IoT device platform that includes a device cloud platform, connectivity hardware and SIMs for cellular products.

I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant.