Globally, there are not nearly enough trained and certified Internet of Things (IoT) experts to fill the growing demand, according to a white paper from Cisco. The paper asserts that organizations that think ahead are the ones realizing they must train their people now to prepare them for the coming changes:
- Convergence of IT and OT (operations technology) will deliver competitive advantage but will also reveal skills gaps.
- Every year, 220,000 new engineers will be needed.
- Fifty percent of developers and CIOs surveyed in the State of IoT 2015 Global Develop Study said that they were uncertain whether they had the skills or resources to deliver on the promise of IoT.
“IoT is more than just platforms and machines,” the report states. “It must have the talent to support, operate, secure, and maintain it. This is where organizations are facing a real challenge. One might have the greatest vision in the world, but it takes skilled people to bring it to fruition.”
Mind the talent gap
The talent gap exists for several reasons, including:
- IT and OT engineers don’t understand the converged IoT network yet, so the relevant talent and skills aren’t critical to them at the moment.
- The IoT platform is a new ecosystem of interconnecting technologies and collaborators, so trained individuals aren’t yet in critical demand.
- Umbrella security still needs be developed and integrated into the IoT platform. In the meantime, organizations continue to use legacy systems.
- IoT and business strategies aren’t aligned, so IoT talent is viewed as unnecessary.
- Existing systems and solutions are not integrated and interoperable. As a result, IoT talent is not fully incorporated into the enterprise.
- IoT is at a stage where modeling is still needed for early evaluation and optimization. This is to allow for service refinements in the face of IoT complexity and scale.
An IoT-ready workforce
So how can a company address the shortage of skilled workers to remain competitive in the IoT marketplace? Cisco has some ideas:
Train the people already in place. These IT and OT personnel know the company strategy and products, and they should become a high-priority investment. As they train together, they can even collaborate on solving problems and building a solid foundation for the IoT functions within the organization.
Hire the skilled
People who come into a company already trained and certified for these positions can help support that company’s growth potential. Look for those with certification in IoT or industrial networking or similar. If candidates lack certification, companies may wish to hire promising candidates and enroll them in the proper certification training. Companies can energize existing employees, with additional new talent for the innovative IoT projects.
A major benefit to training staff or hiring those already trained, is that certification holders become fluent in bringing together multi-platform industrial environments using the most popular industry standard protocols. These professionals can also make sure that the current infrastructure is optimized, while developing a flexible platform to support any future business outcomes.
“Recognize that the IoT talent gap is widening, and industrial verticals will be competing with your organization for certified IoT skilled professionals,” Cisco urges. “It’s paramount for executives to help enable the workforce to function effectively as a unit to support flexibility, growth, and competitive advantage.”