It may be hard to fathom, but our lives are about to get even more connected than they already are, and I’m not just talking about smartphones. It’s the mundane everyday devices we barely notice, such as security cameras, watches, cars, toasters, and even, baby monitors. This new level of “smart” device connectivity is referred to as the Internet of Things, more commonly known as the IoT, and it’s exploding.
According to a recent report from Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected devices over the Internet by 2020. Let’s put that in perspective, shall we? First, eMarketer reports there are currently 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, which if you look around, we know is a whole lot of smartphones. IoT usage is forecasted to be more than 12 times that. Second, 6.4 billion connected devices are currently in use according to Gartner, so in just four years that number will quadruple.
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”
All of this incredible growth comes with more serious implications that technology professionals at all levels need to be concerned with, and that’s security. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen firsthand examples of how vulnerable our networks are due to the IoT.
With the nation already on edge due to security breaches tied to the presidential election, huge parts of the country experienced an Internet outage for several hours in late October. This was no ordinary disruption, but a coordinated attack that took advantage of the millions of devices out there with lax security barriers – yep, could have been your smart thermostat or your city’s street light system. While the perpetrators of the attack are still unknown, it certainly won’t be the last.
What are the Mobility and Security Career Implications?
What does this mean for you as a technology professional? As companies respond to the IoT phenomenon and recognize the severity of the security risks at play, hiring is on the rise for this type of role.
In fact, more than 80 percent of 600 global firms surveyed by Forrester and Zebra Technologies believe that IoT solutions will be the most strategic technology initiative for their organization in a decade. Also, VisionMobile’s IoT Megatrends illustrates just how quickly the need for these workers is growing, as the analyst firm’s report from just two years ago predicted there would be 4.5 million developers working on IoT [projects] by 2020. We’ve already hit and well surpassed that number, as its newer report finds that there will be 10 million developers working on IoT by 2020.
Based on conversations I’ve had with our ever-growing roster of mobility clients, the roles in demand to support IoT initiatives vary depending on a company’s existing infrastructure, security needs and plans to implement it in the future. Some job title examples my team has recruited for recently include:
- Big data analyst
- IT developer
- Open source developer
- Java developer
- Mobile app developer
- Web programmers
- Application security engineer
- Software engineers
- UI and UX developers
- Certified PMs, including Agile coaches
In addition, according to AT&T, programming for IoT cuts across many languages, so IoT development teams typically include a mix of embedded systems, mobile application, and web programmers. Each group comes with different coding preferences, which can make choosing a common development approach a challenge.
- Java, C#, Python, Adobe AIR, Silverlight (web runtime)
- JC/C++, QtC++, Objective C (native)
Because everything is still very new in the IoT space, it’s a learning curve for many organizations. Their biggest concerns will be focused on how to navigate the expectations of highly connected consumers, while still protecting their organizations and products from security issues in a cost-effective way.
IoT Career To-dos
With so much hiring demand forecasted, many technology professionals are expected to transition into IoT-related roles in the next several years. In addition, clients often tell me there just aren’t enough people that are well-versed in these issues.
As such, there are a variety of ways to ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest security issues, build your skill set and showcase your ability to manage under pressure.
First and foremost, familiarize yourself with the latest IoT trends, news and challenges. This might mean subscribing to a few newsletters, checking the mainstream news regularly for updates and reading industry trades so you’re in the know. If you’re serious about a job in the IoT, you have to stay on top of what’s important.
Second, depending on your background, it’s time to up your skill set in the areas I mentioned above, including specific programming languages. Now is the perfect time to hone your experience or skills, as the IoT revolution is still relatively new to many; you can be ahead of the curve!
Third, promote yourself as an expert when it comes to the IoT in your personal brand and communications. If you’re applying for position supporting the IoT:
- Be sure to highlight your passion for security in your cover letter, as this is where you have more space to dive into the details.
- Provide specific examples of your experience and expertise working with the IoT in your online profiles and resume.
- Got some extra time? Consider attending (or even organizing) a meetup in your area discussing the IoT.
- Signup for KellyMitchell’s mobility talent network to stay on top of the latest trends in mobility and understand what you need to know to find a role in this area.
A Kelly Mitchell team member since 2009, Maldonado oversees the organization’s entire telecommunications portfolio from our Dallas office, while also managing our St. Louis and Southwest branch offices. She delivers by engaging with the best and brightest talent to consistently provide excellent service and solutions to our Fortune 500 partners, and her infectious energy, work ethic and passion ignites enthusiasm throughout her growing team. Her full bio is here.