This article is for everyone who is keen for making a career in the field of IoT or stuck with the question i.e. Why and How to Learn IoT? I will share certain insights which could bring a wave of enthusiasm to embrace this new world of digital revolution. This article can answer questions for millions of tech savvy individuals for whom IoT is yet just a charming term with no vision of ‘how to jump in this golden field of opportunities?’. Let’s get started.
Clarification of term: IoT
First thing first, let’s get the term ‘IoT’ digested well before we plunge deep. I am doing so as I know the fact that not more than 15% to 20% people on the planet have even heard what is IoT? You should feel good as you are already advancing by landing on this article and reading it for a purpose.
The term ‘IoT’ stands for Internet of Things. The world is going through a digital revolution where there is a rat race going on to make anything and everything smart. Anything would be considered ‘smart’ if we can control it and monitor it remotely or if we are able to collect data from that regularly, process this data, analyze this data and use the data to make optimal use of the object in personal life or business depending on the scope of the object. For making this possible we need to connect these things or objects to internet. And that’s why we call it ‘Internet of Things’. The world is slowly filling around with such things pretty fast. Few of such things include fitness bands, pet monitors, telepresence robots, smart car systems, internet controlled door locks, brain controlled drones, next gen industrial automation, etc. You can look around and you will find many more.
IoT: A multi-disciplinary field and basket of job opportunities
Any organization which would like to establish itself as an IoT product company, requires much more than just an idea. I am not talking about the financial and human resources, rather I am throwing some lights on what all it takes for a company to design, develop, launch and manage their product globally. This is important to know as these organizations are the ones which would need professionals in IoT. And that’s where you can turn your fortune!
IoT tightly couples ‘Computer Science and Electronics’ as a single subject with any type of operational technology. Remember, maybe not for simply getting a job in IoT sector, but to get outstanding success you should gather intense knowledge of any one or two disciplines of your choice. It could be anything including automobiles, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, supply chain, aviation, home automation, sports science, etc. apart from being well trained in IoT. You can also join concerned communities and show some activities. For example, my friend loves to automate personal environments, so he keeps a tab on any news related to home automation. He has also joined few communities and displays his work on POCs to bring in new ideas. He is also researching to write a white paper on ‘Alternate way of calculating power consumption used by consumer electronics’. By doing so, his expertise as an IoT professional would increase towards home automation sector and he could be a valuable resource to any company coming out in the market with similar products or solutions.
Let it be a simple product meant for masses or a very specific set of devices designed for a B2B solution, it takes a lot to end that project. It is because the checklist of skills needed to bring out a product is huge. I have listed few really popular and widely used profiles and subject expertise utilized for IoT.
- Computer Networking
- Embedded Systems Engineering
- Mobile App Development
- Cloud Computing
- Big Data/ Data Analysis
- Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence
- Software Testing
- Cyber Security
- Core Electronics
- Industrial Control Systems / Instrumentation Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- 3D printing
- Design Engineering
- Material Engineering
- Project Management
- Data Scientists and Artificial Intelligence Professionals
and the list goes on and on depending on the scope of the project. Now that’s a good news for career opportunists. Right?
What qualities are needed to be successful in an IoT career?
- Creativity: IoT is the field of innovators and innovations doesn’t come out without creativity. It’s an important ingredient required for a successful recipe. IoT is all about creating some value out of creativity. Though it’s required in every field, here this quality is significant.
- Curiosity to Explore: You may be from a specific stream of technology, where you learned things in a traditional way and you might not be used to do a lot of deeper exploration of everything you come across. But, curiosity to explore could prove very handy here. In the learning process of IoT, you may bump into some new terminologies, tools or maybe some old-school science principles which are no longer retained in your memory. The more you explore, the more you gain.
- Ability to Integrate: The holy grail of IoT is integration. That’s what we do here in IoT. A real-time complex IoT solution is full of multiple entities integrated with each other. Right from embedded systems to cloud-based artificial intelligence, the beauty of IoT solution lies in its magnificent integration. You should cultivate the ability to see things in a connected way.
- Patience: IoT is still very young. As per many experts, the current position of IoT is matched to that of what cloud computing was in the year 2008. This means, there is still time for the Indian market to open for the full fledge recruitment based on IoT skills and knowledge. This is also good news as you have enough time to prepare before the race begins at full throttle.
- Focus: If you are fascinated with IoT, that’s a good thing. But, this may divert you to see new concepts and new ideas to an extent that you lose your focus from the primary project you are on now. Whenever this happens, just think that the current project was also sounding equally stunning, to begin with. So, keep your work on until you accomplish that project to gain your piece of credits and success.
How to begin this journey? (Doesn’t matter who you are!)
Does this question confuse you? I will give a simple 5 step process which you can follow and jump start with IoT.
Step 1: Analyze your skills and determine your operational technology or domain.
As I mentioned before, IoT implementation is always linked to some specific operational technology, domain or industry. You need to think what is your field of expertise? Are you a programmer, a network professional, a production engineer or maybe a mechanical or electrical engineer? Remember, if you have any sort of technical background and you have the urge to learn new things, you can make your career in IoT by still staying a part of your existing industry. I will give an example. Let’s say, you are a research scholar who is focused towards developing ‘Advanced Medical Equipment’. If you wish to make a smarter and better equipment which can match today’s highly advanced digital platforms than it is vital for you to know ‘How smart solutions work?’, ‘How they are integrated with the existing environments?’ or ‘How can you monitor and control that equipment for better enhancements?’ Answers to these questions are given by the field of IoT today. If doctors would soon operate patients remotely from a different country, then it is nothing but a superb integration of existing medical research and IoT co-existing in a safe environment. Think, what you can achieve with IoT, aim something for long-term to achieve in a domain of your choice or expertise.
Step 2: Get used to the ecosystem of IT systems and build some basic programming skills
There are very good chances that you already belong to IT industry somehow if you are reading my article. In that case, this step may not be applicable completely. Read some articles on how networking works? What are the different protocols used over the internet? What is cloud computing? How public cloud works? What is Artificial Intelligence? How is a web/mobile application developed? What is the importance of Big Data and technologies in concern? If you are not aware of programming languages, then try to learn few fundamentals. You don’t need to be a hardcore programmer, but little knowhow of programming at an intermediate level is vital in IoT as you may have to direct some software developer to write some logic for you as per your instructions. Don’t worry, it is not that tough as you think. By reading more about these topics, you will automatically start understanding the overall scenario on how these technologies work with each other.
Step 3: ‘Good training is half win’ – Get yourself trained by professionals.
Being a trainer myself, I am impressed by this proverb used by ancient Japanese Samurai. There are many options in the market today when it comes to learning a new technology or art. If you are ready to spend some time and money, then all routes are open. There are very few companies that provide hardcore training on IoT with suitable hands-on experience. We at CloudThat, have four levels of IoT training starting from fundamentals and leading to advanced topics. Recently, we have launched a certification track that helps prepare for GE Predix Certified Developer Exam. You can click on below links to get more details and get started:
- Fundamentals of IoT – Level 1
- Working with Electronics in IoT – Level 2
- Cloud Robotics and Advanced IoT Architecture – Level 3
- Designing and Implementing IoT Solutions – Level 4
- GE Predix Developer Certification BootCamp
Step 4: Get into the practice of making useful POC (Proof of Concepts) trying to integrate them in the eco-system of your domain.
Don’t stop by achieving just a training completion certificate from any organization. Your true journey begins after the training. Start implementing what you have learned. I advise you to get a kit for yourself like some development boards, sensors, motors, soldering station, PCBs, etc. Now when you have been educated on the process, wear your thinking caps, think about a regular activity carried out at your workplace and try to automate it or enhance it using IoT. This will give the confidence you need to act as an Architect in long run.
Step 5: Make your presence felt on social media and technology communities as an IoT skilled veteran in your operational technology or domain.
Don’t forget to present your work on social media and technical communities. You may also write blog articles if you have a writer within! Be active within technical communities and constantly put up your thoughts and some POC work to contribute towards your operational technology or domain. These activities could potentially lead many talent search and corporate human resource units to recognize you for an early opportunity someday.
Why should you get an entry into the world of IoT asap?
Time is ticking! This is the best time to get into the trending field which is going to change the world. The market seems to be growing with time for IoT. Especially India and many other developing countries are establishing their smart city projects. This could be considered as a green flag to start the race early. It is expected that IoT could have a $2.3 trillion worth impact on the global economy by 2025. IoT engineers, professionals and architects would not only be needed by IT companies but almost all companies in various ratios worldwide. I think putting early efforts towards IoT can open various corridors for everyone. Recently HDFC bank came up with personal assistance robots to help people who visit their branch. I can say, India itself is a huge potential market for IoT business.
Feel free to share your views in the comment section below.