If you are here reading this article it means that you already know a little bit about the Internet of Things (IoT). The industry has probably caught your interest and you are wondering ‘Where do I begin?’; ‘What can I do to ensure that I pick up the right skills and knowledge to become a part of this industry?’
First, congrats! You are in the right place, at the right time. The IoT industry is transforming companies and people’s lives in ways that are going to shock and awe the world. According to analysts at BI Intelligence, there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, up from 10 billion in 2015, and that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.
So, you truly are looking at an opportunity of a lifetime. The IoT industry wants people with the right, relevant skills and they are willing to pay big to reward those who are willing to invest in making themselves IoT ready.
So, what can you do to get started?
The best way to understand the industry is to get on to good old google and randomly search and read blogs and articles on the topic. Join discussion forums, follow experts and start contributing and asking questions and follow IoT related businesses on social media. All this will help you to talk the IoT language and will build your understanding of IoT terms, technologies and real-life applications.
I would also suggest picking up a copy of some popular IoT books to help you get a good understanding of IoT, it’s various layers, challenges and future trajectory. Some books also provide some do it yourself IoT projects to work on. Some book suggestions would be:
TIP: As you develop more confidence in all things IoT, start contributing or collaborating on open source IoT projects. Participate in IoT hackathons and online challenges like Hackster.io. Lots of more information on this available online.
Once you begin developing a deeper understanding of the different facets of the IoT industry, you will have to reflect on the IoT path you want to take and the path that is best suited for you. This might not always be the same and hence you will have to evaluate your present skill set and past experience and plot your course.
In order to do this, you first will need to look at the various job areas in IoT. On the technical side broadly, the areas are Electronics, Programming and Analytics and on the non-technical side you have Consumer awareness and marketing (brand, social media, advertising), Sales and Supply Chain to name a few.
To further expand the technical job areas in IoT:
Having identified the IoT space you want to work in, it is now time to invest in the skills you need in order to be employable there. Research the space thoroughly, find out what recruiters are looking for and then invest in those skills. However, keep in mind that recruiters want to also see a varied skill set.
While it is good to be focused and train in a particular programing language or analytic tool, or perhaps show expertise in building sensor networks, it is critical that you also demonstrate a diversified skill set that is relevant and updated.
For example, an in-demand IoT skill set could include programming skills (C, C++, Java and Python), analytics knowledge and UI skills.
Perhaps this should have come right at the beginning! To enter the IOT industry the right mindset and a certain soft skill set is essential. You need to be a sharp associative thinker, who is prepared to innovate in order to always stay relevant and meet the needs of the industry. You need to be a positive collaborator and an effective communicator. And most importantly you need to stay curious, persistent and creative.
This 4 step plan can help you chart your course in the IoT industry. At present the opportunities are tremendous and the spurt of growth for IoT professionals seems limitless. You have done well by choosing to enter this industry. Stay the course. Success is imminent. All the best!