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The next IT jobs boom? The internet of things

Bob Violino | Sept. 12, 2017
Massive investments in IoT will shake up the core skills in high demand at IT organizations in the years to come. Here’s how to transform your career path to capitalize.

The ideal potential employee should have expertise in hardware, networking, design and development, security, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, McCabe says. “This is a very unique and difficult-to-find combination of skills, and employers are finding it difficult to get all those skills from one person.”

That won’t stop them from trying. In the meantime, here are some of the skills expected to be most in demand in the coming years, as IoT efforts expand.


Technology and business management

Because technology plays such a primary role in IoT, CIOs and other senior IT executives who are fluent in IoT-related tools and processes will be desirable to organizations. A recent survey from global satellite communications provider Inmarsat found that 76 percent of companies with current IoT plans need additional help at the senior, strategic level for planned IoT deployments to come to fruition.

“We’re seeing demand for CIOs and CTOs who know how to anticipate the kind of disruption and business advantages that IoT will bring,” says Matt Aiello, a partner at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

“It’s not that the CIO or CTO needs to be an expert in IoT, but rather that he or she needs to help steer the leadership team and company strategy so the benefits of these technologies are fully realized,” Aiello says.

Heidrick & Struggles is seeing this demand especially in more product- or industrial-based businesses, “which are most susceptible to being disrupted by IoT,” Aiello says. “Again, these firms are looking for technology leaders who think outside of typical IT issues and instead are more mindful about new technologies — such as IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence and analytics — and how they will impact business strategy.”

Another popular role is chief digital officer (CDO), an executive who partners with the CIO or CTO to help transform a business into a digitally connected environment, says Sean Carroll, a partner at Heidrick & Struggles.

Some experts predict that the role of “chief IoT officer” will begin to emerge at organizations, although not a lot of companies appear to be creating this position as of yet.

To be successful, a chief executive of IoT needs to have four key skills, McCabe says. One is knowledge of the internal IT architecture that supports all the connecting things. That includes having a good grasp of security and governance. Another is an understanding of customer relationship management (CRM) and the sales/marketing operation, and what data is needed to support these areas.

A third necessary skill for these executives will be in the area of product development, including research and development. And finally, chief IoT officers will need to have enterprise-wide project management skills. They must be able to oversee digital transformation efforts throughout all divisions of the organization, McCabe says.


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