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Why the Internet of Things Will Change How We Work – By Sherri Hammons

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Author: Sherri Hammons, CTO at IQ Navigator

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the latest buzz words in technology.  At its most generic, it means connecting unconnected things.  For instance, your refrigerator could sense that your milk is going stale and automatically place an order with your favorite drone delivery service.  To do this, though, your refrigerator has to have the sensors to collect the data from the milk carton, which must know when germs are beginning to take over the milk… and, well, you get the picture.

At its most promising, IoT could handle many of our daily chores, much of the mindless work we do today, leaving us to become more strategic in our work and home and giving us a lot more free time

I’m in!

But a dearth of skill sets could prevent us from a future that allows us to “strategize” on a beach in Fiji while our connected world takes care of our every need.  And we’ll also be missing out on huge opportunities for financial growth as this market takes off.  I don’t believe this phenomenon will manifest into new job titles.  I believe our talent landscape is on the verge of a dramatic shift away from titles and careers to project-based skills and attributes.  We may not need a four-year college degree to become successful at completing a project or even building our own IoT milk carton.  We may only need to take some courses and learn to play in an IoT playground.

To be successful in IoT, you will need some hard skills:

  • Sensor technology. An electrical or mechanical engineering degree will not hurt here.  But, you can also buy a raspberry pi for $39.95.
  • Programming Languages. You could get a computer science degree for tens of thousands of dollars or take a few courses at Udemy.
  • Big Data. See above.
  • Various Disciplines. GPS-enabled technology, security infrastructures, machine learning, microcontroller programming, circuit design

If we followed the traditional route, an IoT Professional would need to have multiple degrees in hard sciences.  Or, we could begin to develop curricula that give someone the skills they need to build our future with a few courses that make sense.  And we’ll need some labs to provide the playground.  Rather than waiting years, we could change the talent shortage landscape within months.

You will also need some of the following attributes:

  • Curiosity. The IoT space is emerging, so curious minds who want to figure out how things work, how these things might piece together, and how they might solve a business problem will be critical.
  • Creativity. Software engineers know that software is a very creative field.  IoT will push that into overdrive by meshing electronics with programming and a whole bunch of data to make sure that milk is ordered at just the right moment.  It might turn out to be more art than science.
  • Analytic Thought. Figuring out that the milk is going sour will require some brains.

I am currently on the Board of the Internet of Things Talent Consortium, headed by Cisco with partners from MIT, GE, Rockwell Automation, Pearson and others.  We are attempting to do just what I am describing, which is understand which attributes and skills will be required as our world changes dramatically and then coming up with a plan to get the right curricula available.  We see the future and we want the future to be ready for the amazing new life we see just ahead.

We could use your help.

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Sherri Hammons

About Sherri Hammons

Sherri is a technology executive with more than 18 years of experience managing technology assets, architecting technical solutions, and enabling technology and information to support, enhance and frame a broad range of corporate initiatives. She provides leadership and direction for all areas of Information Technology both nationally and internationally.