The nature of work is about to change as Internet of Things (IoT) companies create countless new jobs in IoT security and data science.
The Internet of Things is one of those technologies we have been promised for the longest time. Like VR, people have been talking about IoT for decades as though it’s just around the corner. Each year, Internet of Things companies tell us “this is the year of IoT,” and each year, we get an expensive fridge that no one buys.
The global IoT market will be worth $14.2 trillion in 2030.
But IoT is coming. In fact, it is already here! There are currently 6.7 billion “data collecting devices” in use today, with 20 billion projected for 2020 according to Amazon. Gartner predicts there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2021, and Accenture suggests that the global IoT market will be worth $14.2 trillion in 2030 (as reported by CRN).
As IoT grows, it is going to have a huge impact on the job market. As a techie, you stand to benefit from this huge paradigm shift. However, you’ll need to expand your skill set to incorporate Internet of Things security and related technologies.
Market forces driving Internet of Things companies
How can we be sure that the Internet of Things is just around the corner?
Simple: the incentive for Internet of Things companies is too great for it not to happen.
The old-school internet (“the internet of pages”) has taken off in part for the same reasons IoT is about to take off: data collection. By watching our web browsing behaviors, companies are able to gather huge amounts of data about us and what we like. They can then display targeted ads, or sell that information on to third parties.
The scale of these data collection efforts is at once staggering and frightening. Companies track us across the internet using cookies, usernames, and even our social interactions and then take all that information to construct a comprehensive picture of who we They can infer demographic information, hobbies and interests, personality, job role, size of social network, financial situation, aspirations, and even when we’re most likely to be home!
The internet of everything has the potential to take this much further by collecting more data about us than ever before.
It’s an added bonus that the web also provides a perfect medium for marketing, not to mention hosting online stores and payment processing.
Internet of Things companies know that “the internet of everything” has the potential to take this much further by collecting more data about us than ever before. Likewise, IoT devices are capable of communicating with us in more ways than ever before, and even of automating our purchases.
The consumer is similarly incentivized by the convenience of IoT. We will spend less and save time. Without the latest connected home appliances, you’ll risk being left behind.
Finally, businesses also have the opportunity to benefit from IoT. Industrial IoT is a huge topic, and one that can have a huge impact on automation and quality control. Managers will be able to get information about the health of their various systems, to control them remotely, and to collect massive amounts of data.
A quick recap: What is the Internet of Things?
For those that are a little fuzzy on what IoT means exactly, allow me to refresh your memory.
The Internet of Things is a term that is broadly used to describe a future where everything is connected to the internet. That means not only your computer and smartphone, but also your fridge, your television, your front door, and your boiler. We’re already seeing this start to happen with smart locks, smart televisions, home assistants, and more.
This is not the Orwellian surveillance state we’ve all feared – at least not yet.
Suddenly, Internet of Things companies have access to information about how many people live in your home, how stocked your fridge is, and how healthy you are.
This is not the Orwellian surveillance state we’ve all feared – at least not yet. This information should be anonymous, obfuscated, and buried in extremely large data sets. But while that’s true, the data is still immensely valuable to companies that can use algorithms to anonymously show you ads for those things.
And in the future, Internet of Things companies will branch out further. As technology becomes cheaper and internet access becomes ubiquitous, we’ll eventually start to see milk cartons with chips in them. Next will be soap, shaving products, and mirrors….
You could put in a standing order with your local supermarket so that you get new milk whenever yours runs out. Likewise, a company might be able to recommend a skin product based on a quick analysis of your appearance in the morning. If your sleep tracker tells Amazon that you aren’t getting enough sleep, you might start seeing ads for coffee and sleeping pills appearing on your car windshield.
Companies will have unlimited ways to sell us precisely what we need precisely when we need it. And for our part, it could actually be rather convenient and a great way to reduce waste. No more buying milk preemptively because you think the carton is “nearly empty.” And no more running to the shops! This technology is ripe for abuse, but Internet of Things companies will be cautious not to scare us off by pushing their luck too far. At least to begin with.
Companies will have unlimited ways to sell us precisely what we need precisely when we need it.
There will be winners and losers here. Things like Point Of Sale displays might become extinct, reducing our impulse purchases. Our likelihood of stumbling upon products we didn’t know we wanted will also decrease once all our groceries are ordered for us automatically.
Also read: Here’s how we’re already living in 1984
This won’t deter Internet of Things companies though, as they will all see themselves as being the ones to emerge on top. Whether this is an ideal image of automation or a horrifying dystopia is a matter of opinion. But the reality is that it’s coming.
Internet of Things companies
With so many Internet of Things companies clamoring to get to the top, there will be millions of new jobs created for programmers, hardware designers, and researchers. If you have tech skills and you’re looking for a firm that has good prospects in the coming years, browsing Internet of Things companies might be a good place to start.
Here are some examples of Internet of Things companies:
- Flutura is a company that creates “nano apps” to provide AI solutions in the industrial IoT space.
- Belkin is one of the best known IoT companies thanks to solutions like its WeMo switches.
- August makes smart locks and door bells.
- Footbot is a company that makes an air quality monitor.
- Philips is also well-known for its Hue lighting system.
- Particle makes WiFi dev kits that help you provide IoT functionality to your own projects.
One of the biggest proponents of the Internet of Things is unsurprisingly Amazon, creator of the Amazon Echo line. Amazon also provides a cloud IoT solution for Internet of Things companies called “Amazon Web Services IoT.”
Google is also betting big on Internet of Things, both with consumer products like Google Home/Nest and behind the scenes. Google Cloud IoT is another platform for creating “intelligent IoT services.” ARM is another big tech firm to offer an IoT platform, called Pelion. Samsung has SmartThings, and not to be outdone, Huawei has its eco-Connect platform. These platforms handle data storage, processing, and analysis from globally distributed devices, making it simple and easy for companies to add smart functionality to their products (while also committing themselves to the platforms that provide the support).
These platforms handle data storage, processing, and analysis from globally distributed devices.
Many other Internet of Things companies are offering APIs for developers that want to get on board, providing general or specific functionality. Cloud Wallet for example will handle closed-loop transactions between users and IoT devices. Mozilla’s WebThings is an API that enables devices to be monitored and controlled over the web.
IoT jobs and training
Working for any of these Internet of Things companies or other upcoming startups is a savvy strategy if you want to future-proof your resume with useful experience. General programming skills will help you to land these kinds of jobs. C, Java, and Python are particularly prominent in this space. You should also familiarize yourself with PIC programming and microcontrollers such as the Arduino platform. This is what what lets you add simple logic and code to an otherwise “dumb” product.
Data science jobs are going to be in increasingly massive demand
We recommend: Microcontrollers for the Internet of Things by Thomas Tongue from Udemy as an affordable and simple way to get started, and Master PIC Microcontroller Programming in Embedded C by OpenLabPro Academy.
Android development could also be a useful skill, with Android being a highly versatile OS that is being implemented on all kinds of devices.
Data science jobs are going to be in increasingly massive demand for these companies. Collecting all that data from users is only useful if businesses know what to do with it, and how to infer actionable advice from it. How do you turn billions of purchases across millions of users in multiple different countries into a better marketing campaign? That’s where data science comes in.
Similarly, machine learning and AI jobs are likely to be big business in the near future (AI and IoT go hand-in-hand). More job opportunities might also arise from the concept of “digital twin tech.” This sees a real-world appliance, installation, or product with a digital “twin” – a 3D model that reflects the real-time data from the actual physical object. The twin also allows for remote control and manipulation. 3D modeling is a skill that can serve you well in this capacity, as well as in product design.
The need for Internet of Things security
One of the biggest areas of concern for Internet of Things companies is data security. With more data collection than ever before, there is more opportunity and more incentive for hackers to attempt to breach these systems.
One of the biggest areas of concern for Internet of Things companies is data security.
In a recent post on ethical hacking, I explained that the more inputs a system has, the greater the “attack surface” and the more vulnerable that system is. When everything in your home is connected to the internet, how certain can you be that every single one of those devices will have the latest security patches?
Gamers were worried about their Xboxes watching them when the Kinect became a packaged-in accessory. But how do you feel about your clock recording your night-time activities? Or your toilet – normally used to monitor water usage – sharing data with nosy trespassers?
Internet of Things security jobs will soon become commonplace and extremely crucial. So perhaps this is a great time to start learning whitehat hacking yourself?
To quote Scar, it’s time to be prepared for the IoT revolution (that may not be the exact quote). If you are a tech professional looking to future-proof your resume, then working for Internet of Things companies or startups might be a great strategy. Likewise, developing skills and certification as an information security analyst, data scientist, or machine learning developer could help you to land jobs with the biggest Internet of Things companies of the future. Or why not grab yourself a Particle WiFi kit, get familiar with PIC programming and any of those IoT platforms, and try launching your own IoT startup?