Ushering in the Age of IoT. What Lies Ahead For IT Jobs?

IT sector will lose 6.4 lakh jobs 2021, as IoT gathers pace.

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We dwell in interesting times – times of revolution and constant change. This is where technological prowess and evolution is taking us beyond explored frontiers, breaking the shackles of the status quo. The coming of the internet was a major revolution that the human race had to come to terms with in the twenty-first century.

It saw a lot of professions across the globe become obsolete and paved the way for a new way of doing things. The internet space is set to undergo yet another revolution, some calling it Digital 2.0.

This is the world of the Internet of Things, where the World Wide Web will transform into a phenomenon such as electricity – existing in our lives, and yet invisible to the naked eye. Come the year 2020, and IoT is expected to bring in $19 trillion worth of profits for companies worldwide.

IoT and changing jobs roles

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Enterprises are busy gearing up for this change and developing devices which are intelligent enough to communicate with each other. This will engulf and transform every aspect of life as we know it today, including jobs and recruitment. Hence, it is immensely important that the workforce of the present, and the future, is equipped with necessary skills to succumb to this change.

A recent report by HFS proclaims IT sector in India will lose about 6.4 lakh jobs of menial and redundant nature by 2021, as IoT gathers pace. The maximum job cuts will be seen in process based jobs, and this does look like a grave situation for the country’s $160 billion ITeS industry.

However, the same report also suggests a 56% increase in high-end, skill-intensive jobs, which would ideally mean a migration of jobs from the bottom of the skills pyramid, to the upper reaches. Needless to say, the 15 lakh workforce which comes in each year needs to match the new skill requirements, to be suitably employed. In coming times IoT will become all pervasive leading to new job roles such as.

Chief Internet of Things Officer (CIoTO)

Companies are likely to appoint Chief Internet of Things officer in the near future. And in the light of the fact that 94% businesses are investing in initiatives to prepare for IoT, this will happen sooner than later. The CIoTO will design the company’s IoT strategy, and drive technology decisions that’ll help the business embrace Digital 2.0. They’ll mastermind IoT products and initiatives and analyze and predict trends based on data gathered from IoT devices. Effective communication and sound tech knowledge will be paramount for this position.

Industrial Data Scientists

Touted as the sexiest job of the decades to come, data scientists will find themselves in great demand. An industrial data scientist will literally assume the role of the man behind the machine, with the machine being the analytical solutions for an enterprise. The skillet ideal for such a job would be a sound footing in statistics and concepts of regression, along with a prowess at handling myriad technological tools such as R, SAS etc.

  • IoT Architect

Here’s how IBM defines an IoT Architect’s job responsibilities – “an IoT Architect is responsible for translating the client’s business requirements into specific system, application or process designs.” In short, an internet of things architect will be responsible for architecting a strategy based on requirement analysis and communicate the same to C-suite execs. This will require a sound knowledge in design, the know-how of developing mobility solutions, and an analytical bend of mind.

  • Robotics Coordinators and Managers

Once IoT spreads its wings, the most common sight at industrial facilities and workplaces will obviously be – smart machines and robots. These will be well connected to a lot of sensors and other machines, and will have robust working algorithms.

However, there will always be a need for people who can monitor the working of these robots and be of assistance whenever there are error signals or malfunctions. Replacing faulty robots and maintenance of existing ones will form the working day. Robotics will be a sought after skill in the future.

  • IoT Software Engineer

Building products, prototypes, and IoT systems, and testing and running lab simulations will be a key responsibility of an IoT software engineer. He/she will also evaluate the best approaches, and associated risks, to produce development plans. Knowledge of MQTT, RabbitMQ, CoAP, Google Pub/Sub, Cisco XMPP and Azure Event Hub need to be in the CV of an IoT Software Engineer.

  • Security Experts

In a world in which machines are densely connected with each other, there will be an increased threat of security breaches and violations. Data and information security experts will hence find ready usage in such a setting.

There will be a need for effective firewalling, gateway security fencing and implementation of other preventive measures to ensure a seamless and safe operation of connected devices.

The Skills of the Future

As more and more jobs are created in the IoT sector, there’ll be a steep increase in the demand for professionals trained in specialized skills. Here are some skills touted as must-have to land an IoT related job.

  • Get Analytical

Every IT professional, or otherwise, will need to become analytical. We are talking about the world which will have its components generating loads and loads of data every second and analyzing it to come to logical conclusions is what shall be at the heart of every new age business.

With the 40% increase in internet connectivity of devices world over, India’s process oriented IT/ITeS job base needs to transform into an analytical one, which is able to drive problem-solving.

  • Associative thinking and communication

When complex automation and algorithms will drive information technology, there will be a need for mediators who can act as a bridge between those developing these solutions and the enterprises. The business analysts of today’s world stand the best chance of getting the job with a sound base of upscaling. What will be needed is an analytical approach to logical modeling of real world IoT scenarios and presenting them in an abstract format.

A crucial part of this upscaling needs to begin at the very onset of formal technical education. There is a huge need to reiterate the very changing demands of the IT industry of the future amongst students and job aspirants. The need of the hour is to ensure skill-based courses are a part of the curriculum and students are trained in industry-relevant skills.

We at NIIT believe in empowering novice IT professionals in a way that they can seamlessly integrate into the IT industry of the future, and contribute to it effectively. Our digiNxt programs train graduates in future skills to help create a job-ready talent pool for the fast-evolving global economy.

The Author, Prakash Menon is the President, Global Skills & Careers Group, NIIT Ltd.


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