What’s the Internet of Things—and How Do I Get Paid to Build It?
Is there a smartphone in your pocket right now? If so, congratulations, you’re a participant in the Internet of Things or IoT. It’s the broad term that describes the global phenomenon of Internet-connected devices.
Most people (just under 70% in the U.S.) are familiar with smartphones, but thanks to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection capabilities, you also have smart thermostats and smart washing machines and smart everything else. The IoT revolution is underway, and it’s growing. According to a recent Gartner analysis, the number of IoT-connected devices is expected to double in the next three years. That’s a big change.
How might your career path benefit from a greater focus on the IoT? We have a few ideas.Get certified
The largest area of demand in the IoT-driven job market right now is in the engineering world. Software, systems, control, process, electrical, and mechanical engineers are seeing their worlds turned upside down by the rapid changes imposed by the Internet of Things. For people who already have specialized expertise in these areas, demand is insatiable.
But what about the rest of us? Is it too late to be part of the Internet of Things conversation? And are expensive engineering degrees the price of entry into the field?
The good news: It’s never too late.
And there are ways to gain specific expertise in IoT-related fields that don’t involve as big of a commitment of time and money as a full-fledged, four-year or graduate degree. Some more entry-level positions on the technician, mechanic or analyst level, can be filled by people with a less intensive educational background in engineering.
Consider the following:
- The International Society of Automation (ISA) offers certification programs such as Certified Automation Professional and Certified Control Systems Technician
- CompTIA, the trade association for IT professionals, offers several
- Medical devices and the data they generate are a big part of the IoT; the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers certifications in health informatics.
The Internet of Things, like many technological advances, is developing faster than most academic and trade institutions can keep up. Certifications are a great way to show employers that you have the required knowledge base, but a lot of the newest advances in IoT discovery are happening among like-minded communities of IoT workers.
The best thing you can do? Join those communities. Get engaged. Learn from peers.
Networking is a crucial component of any career advancement. Get to know the people who are currently building the IoT, get guidance and recommendations based on experience, and get as close as you can to the forefront of IoT solutions as they exist in the here and now.
Director Woody Allen once told a reporter that 80% of success is just showing up. So be where the people leading the industry are—even if it’s as an observer. A great place to go to see who the major players are and how the ideas are unfolding is the IoTDEV Subreddit.
Whether you’re a seasoned engineer or just starting out, it’s great to know as much as you can about how people are approaching the IoT.Ask
The Internet of Things is huge, incorporating an estimated 8.4 billion devices. That means there are plenty of ways to get involved, across numerous industries, in plenty of geographic areas, incorporating a wide variety of technical know-how. Which is best for you to pursue? The answer to that question is as unique as you.
Reach out to a peer mentor with IoT experience. Better yet, find an expert Aerotek recruiter who can help you determine which opportunities are within your grasp.