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Recruiting smartly for the internet of things

As the internet of things continues to shake up different industries, businesses are being forced to interrogate and evaluate their recruitment strategies to make sure they have strong teams in place that can develop and maximize IoT technologies. The sheer scale and scope of IoT means that there are a whole range of skills that could be required depending on the nature of a project. This makes recruitment a real challenge, particularly as the skills required today may not be the same ones that businesses need in a couple of years’ time.

This challenge means that organizations need teams that are multifunctional and thus generalists by nature. However, they also need employees to cover a number of specialisms across the entire software stack from low-level embedded code to machine learning capabilities both at the edge and in the cloud. Inevitably some of these will be commonplace already, but IoT will also increase the need for skills that weren’t previously required.

To this point, our research has revealed that 68% of IoT professionals are struggling to hire employees with IoT skills, with the hardest one being data analytics and big data (according to 35% of IoT professionals). This skill is critical to gathering, analyzing and potentially monetizing the vast amounts of data produced by IoT devices.

It’s not just cloud development talents that are required. When asked what skills they deemed necessary to be an IoT expert, after data analytics (at 75%), software development skills were found to be the most needed skill, according to 71% of IoT professionals. In one sense this is surprising, as embedded development is by no means a new discipline. But when considering the fact that hardware is rapidly commoditizing, with monetization and differentiation increasingly coming from software, it is natural that businesses invest in building up their embedded software development capabilities. Unfortunately, 33% are struggling to hire employees with this particular skillset.

The IoT jobs of the future range from CIoTOs and IoT business designers, to an increase in demand for chief data officers, IoT architects and security consultants. However, in an industry as demanding and fast-changing as IoT, most companies are not in a position to hire at scale. Fixed costs become too prohibitive, especially for those in the early adoption stage of IoT where the value and ROI to be derived is still questionable or has not had chance to prove its full worth.

Therefore, once an organization has identified the skills they require, consideration needs to be given as to whether some or all of these skills are better outsourced at least in the short term. In addition to overhead advantages, there is also the benefit of bringing in expertise from individuals, consultancies or system integrators who have significantly more IoT experience to aid the implementation while sharing knowledge throughout the business.

Above all, though, businesses must adopt an iterative and agile approach when it comes to deciding on the right people, skills and team to take them forward into their internet of things world. It is unlikely that what is decided upon today will remain the same in even one or two years, so constantly being in a position to evaluate what requires changing and being able to execute this quickly is a must if businesses are to thrive in the IoT gold rush.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.