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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.

 

Big data and data analytics

As if there weren’t already huge demand for people with skills in data science, data analytics, business intelligence and related areas, IoT is expected to add enormously to the need. Today, 46 percent of companies report a shortage of staff with the analytics skills to support their IoT plans, according to Inmarsat.

With so many devices consuming and sending exabytes of raw information, the true potential of big data will be realized as IoT evolves, says David Foote, chief analyst at Foote Partners LLC, an IT analyst firm and independent benchmark research organization. “Big data is a big part of [IoT].”

Organizations will collect, store and analyze smart device data streams for actionable intelligence, Foote says. Business intelligence (BI) specialists with skills in sensor data analysis, data center management, predictive analytics, and programming in the leading big data platforms such as Hadoop and NoSQL will be ideally positioned to meet these needs, he says.

Possessing a strong business acumen will also be a key differentiator, particularly for BI executives responsible for divining additional opportunities in the burgeoning IoT, Foote says.

According to research by Foote Partners, hot BI skills for IoT include data visualization, database management, knowledge of statistical analytic systems, machine learning and predictive analytics.

“While we wouldn’t require IoT engineers to be data scientists, we do require that they have a strong understanding of data collection, organization, and storage,” says Bill Thirsk, vice president of IT and CIO at Marist College, which has launched an IoT project.

“IoT devices drive data and can act as sensors collecting and sending various information, sometimes in a constant stream, sometimes in batch if the network transit is only available intermittently,” Thirsk adds. “Understanding how to collect and review big streams of data will allow the engineer or developer to use this information for business intelligence and innovation.”

 

Information security

The large and growing need for people with all kinds of cybersecurity skills has been well documented, and the growth of IoT initaitives will only add to the demand for these professionals. Three in five companies with IoT plans are currently understaffed in cybersecurity roles, Inmarsat reports.

Organizations will need be able to secure the devices and other things that will be connected, the networks providing the connections, the internal systems being used to support IoT, and the data that’s being gathered, shared and stored.

“IoT engineers need an advanced understanding of the security features of the [connected things], and an intermediate understanding of the systems to which they will connect,” says Thirsk.

“Most important of all is to be able to protect the devices from participating in automated attacks such as DDoS [distributed denial-of-service], or other emerging exploits or botnets,” Thirsk says. “A familiarity with the creation and use of systems for auditing, managing cryptography, and assuring secure authentication and data transit across wireless networks is essential.”

 

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