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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.

Companies will need people to take responsibility for ensuring IoT security. For those security executives now serving as CSOs and CISOs, it’s a good idea to get up to speed on IoT and what it will mean from a cybersecurity and physical security perspective.


Hardware and software development

With the growth of IoT, there will be a need for both software and hardware developers. But software developers will need to have some hardware skills and hardware developers will need to possess software skills, Foote says.

Software developers won’t be designing the next revision of a product’s printed circuit board (PCB), Foote says, but it will be useful to be able to build out a circuit for prototyping.

Understanding basic electronics will be valuable, Foote says. Software developers should know how basic components such as resistors, capacitors, and LEDs behave in a circuit. Other important skills for software developers might include reading data sheets, understanding timing diagrams and clocking, electronics concepts such as pull-up and pull-down resistors, logic gates, and transistors.

Hardware developers will be designing the next revision of a product’s PCB, and will be selecting and integrating microprocessors, sensors and radio interfaces, Foote says. They could also find it useful to know software basics.

The goal is not simply to build out a 200,000-line source code base complete with an underlying build system, Foote says, but to gain an appreciation of the requirements of the other half of a development team. For example, hardware developers will need software prototyping skills.



IoT involves a number of different networking elements, and companies will need to have people onboard who understand how the existing networking infrastructure might need to be tweaked to support IoT.

Networking issues include support for IoT applications that require high data transfer rates and low latency, and those that need low power consumption but wide-area coverage. Companies also need expertise in long-range IoT connectivity technologies such as 5G, LTE-NB, and LTE-M; and short-range connectivity including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee.

Other areas related to IoT networking include cellular telecommunications network technologies, including radio access, the core transport network, and service capabilities such as security and quality of service.

Networking professionals will need to have a working knowledge of many of the IoT standards that are currently in development worldwide.

“IoT developers need to know how devices communicate, the protocols they may use, and how to make these communications reliable, fast, and secure,” Thirsk says. “Knowledge of the OSI model, IP/TCP, routing and switching, as well as wireless channels, ports, and capabilities are all required skills.”


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