Like many areas of technology, the internet of things is outpacing the number of people with the knowledge and skills to know what to do with it.
This is not a new issue. The same challenge is there with leveraging Big Data. Business leaders admitted, in a report from McKinley Global Institute, that finding talent for data analytics positions is harder than filling any other position within their companies.
A recent survey from Inmarsat outlined just how common the struggle to conquer the IoT skills gap is, with 76% of businesses surveyed expressing a need for more people at the strategic level of the organization who have the skills to deploy IoT initiatives.
IoT Jobs and the Skills Gap
The survey found further issues with IoT jobs that indicate the success of the technology could hinge on more people learning the skills needed to both maximize its use and protect the data it requires.
Inmarsat found that 72% of businesses around the world have a shortage of people at the management level with experience in IoT deployments.
Another 80% report a lack of skills among employees in IoT deployment, while 60% said they need the staff members with the cybersecurity skills needed to safeguard data. And 46% said employees lacked the skill sets needed for data analytics.
Paul Gudonis, president of the Inmarsat Enterprise Business Unit, said the survey showed a high level of commitment to IoT and an awareness of the pivotal role it plays in business success. However, he said, “many currently find themselves without the skilled staff required for this transformation, and unable to take advantage of the potential that IoT solutions offer.”
Another survey, from London-based Canonical, identified specific skill sets that are lacking. They include analytics expertise and experience in the use of big data, embedded software development, embedded electronics, IT security and artificial intelligence.
Bridging the Gap
The fundamental problem with IoT jobs is that innovation is happening faster than academic institutions can develop the programs to teach it.
One area that is picking up speed is data science. Many schools now offer graduate-level degree programs in data science and business analytics. These programs teach the technical skills not generally found in typical MBA courses.
MBA programs are now adding data analysis as a component in coursework. While it focuses primarily on interpreting data rather than the skills needed to properly create data models, it’s a step in the right direction.
Outside of the classroom, businesses have made moves on their own. Some of the strategies they are looking into include the following.
Collaboration. Many businesses are creating partnerships with schools to help design academic programs that meet the requirements of the contemporary business world. This is helping universities meet the needs of employers much faster.
Changing standards. Even working with a business partner, it can take years for colleges and universities to develop academic programs. While earning a bachelor’s degree remains the standard most companies use to determine whether to hire someone, more consideration is being given to creating IoT-focused associate degree programs.
Certification. Another strategy is to create non-degree programs that teach employees a specific skill set needed in IoT deployment. This also would involve collaboration between universities and businesses, as well as a commitment from companies to hire people who earn these type of certificates rather than a degree.
Combined, all of these ideas can help bridge the talent gap.
The message for students starting their careers, and professionals who want to make a career change, is that an immense career opportunity is there. For those who want to go into a technical field and specifically into IoT jobs, there has never been a better time to make a move.