Careers in IoT – Internet of things

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By: Ranjan K Baruah

We cannot think of a day without the internet and the absence of the internet means the absence of many things.  The Internet has enabled an easy-going life for us and things have been made easy for most of us. It has impacted both positively and negatively but it has more positive impact than negative as it is like a medium to do many things. These days, students and other young people, and other professionals can’t think of a day without the internet. There are many options related to the same and we can explore and build our careers with the help of the internet. In this edition, we are discussing a topic that is related to the same.

The Internet of things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects) that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks. This has become important everywhere in the world which includes doing a few basic things to big tasks. In simple terms, it is a virtual network of any type of object embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enables these objects to connect and exchange data.

In layman’s terms, IoT is an engagement of physical objects that are connected to the internet and controlled remotely. In technical terms, this translates to collecting large amounts of unstructured data, analyzing them, and then predicting future behaviours. This, in turn, involves multiple network protocols, frameworks, and languages. IoT is the technology that lets you connect everything, from your home security system, air purifier, lighting, music, television, etc.  Even our apparels could be internet-enabled and the washing machine might notify the repairman if it requires fixing.

The field has evolved due to the convergence of multiple technologies, including ubiquitous computing, commodity sensors, increasingly powerful embedded systems, and machine learning. Traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation), independently and collectively enable the Internet of things. In the consumer market, IoT technology is most synonymous with products about the concept of the “smart home”, including devices and appliances (such as lighting fixtures, thermostats, home security systems and cameras, and other home appliances) that support one or more common ecosystems, and can be controlled via devices associated with that ecosystem, such as smartphones. The IoT can also be used in healthcare systems apart from other sectors.

There are several concerns about the risks in the growth of IoT technologies and products, especially in the areas of privacy and security, and consequently, industry and governmental moves to address these concerns have begun, including the development of international and local standards, guidelines, and regulatory frameworks. But all these bring more opportunities for young people who are interested in building their careers related to IoT.

Though there is no specific degree on IoT, special courses are mainly suited for engineering students and graduates with a basic understanding of electronics and microprocessors. Here, the students, study big data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things and undergo mandatory induction programs and internships. The course consists of an overview of what is IOT; how it works and its impact on customers and businesses; a detailed explanation of each layer of IoT and its role; IoT technologies used for communication, different protocols, and their applications; introduction to the cloud, etc. There are special diploma and certificate programs related to IoT. Engineering students or students from Computer Science backgrounds may especially take up courses related to IoT.

One must be familiar with embedded systems, computer programming, networking, data management, machine learning, network security, cloud computing, mobile development, etc. Apart from these other soft skills and employability skills needed to excel in this career path. Job opportunities are there in the country and abroad too. Few job titles include IoT Product Managers, IoT Architect, IoT Developer, Data Scientists, Robot Coordinator, IoT Cloud Engineer, etc. (The author is a career mentor and skill trainer, he can be  reached at [email protected])

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