Regarding the future job market, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a strong contender for the best place to be. The IoT industry is set to undergo explosive growth in less than a decade. By 2027, the global IoT market will be worth approximately US$1.5 trillion, a nearly 25 per cent increase in its value from 2019. That statistic indicates that anyone looking to future-proof a career would do well to gravitate to this exciting sector, where so many Internet of Things career opportunities lie.
For those looking to make a start in IoT (or those already in it), this article will explore the Australian IoT market, including detailing 10 different types of job opportunities in the industry. It will also discuss 10 skills required to succeed in an IoT career and the fields where IoT is growing. Finally, it will highlight IoT future trends.
What is IoT?
IoT is a system of connected devices, each with its own unique identifiers (UIDs), that have the ability to transfer data over the internet without requiring intervention from a human or a computer. These devices, or “things,” can be anything from computers to digital machines to objects, animals and people. Examples of IoT are animal biochip transponders and smartwatches.
IoT can be very beneficial to people and businesses and enable people to operate more safely. For example, IoT in cars can include sensors that help drivers avoid collisions. It also allows businesses to deliver better customer experiences, make more informed decisions and leverage big data to anticipate trends and drive growth.
Despite IoT’s huge growth to date and promising future potential, the industry is relatively new. Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things” in 1999. Ashton, working for manufacturing giant Proctor and Gamble at the time, recognised some inventory discrepancies between what was on the shelf at retailers and the numbers in the inventory system.
Striving to solve this problem, Ashton pioneered radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for cosmetics. Using RFID, he was able to sync what was in the system with what was on the shelves. This early discovery spawned an industry that soon grew, largely thanks to the proliferation of the internet in the early 2000s.
IoT in Australia: Australia’s industry 4.0
Over the past 25 years, Australia’s economy has enjoyed incredible growth, thanks mostly to Australia’s strong resources sector and top-notch education system. However, one area where Australia is lagging is productivity. Australia’s productivity is nowhere near where it needs to be, with the last decade experiencing the country’s slowest growth in more than 60 years.
Productivity, in general, has been consistently less than half of what is required to ensure the nation’s continued prosperity, especially now due to pandemic interruptions.
IoT technologies represent a huge potential growth area for Australia, especially in addressing Australia’s productivity challenges. In particular, IoT can help automate industries that are currently manual in their operation and require a lot of physical activity. These include the following:
- • Construction
- • Mining
- • Healthcare
- • Manufacturing
In addition, IoT can help with easy monitoring of (and communication between) remote mining sites. Previously, these sites may have required a significant number of fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers.
Because IoT is a relatively new industry, it represents great potential for innovation and change, yet also many unknowns. Anyone looking for an Internet of Things job opportunity will likely have many choices.
The sectors that will benefit the most from IoT, like those listed above, have the potential to undergo rapid transformation. However, the industry has much work to do. Aspiring graduates in the area must be familiar with both the hardware and software that make up IoT, as well as how the technology can improve business models.
Job opportunities in IoT
With the vast growth the industry is experiencing, graduates and aspiring professionals need to understand what internet of things job opportunities are available – now and in the future – and what the requirements of these jobs will be, including educational requirements and potential salaries.
Here are 10 potential internet of things job roles, including job descriptions, educational requirements and potential salary.
1. IoT security specialist
IoT security specialists provide security during the development stages of IoT-related software and hardware systems, as well as networks and data centres. They are responsible for monitoring and mitigating any vulnerabilities and risks they find. At all times, they need to be able to recognise potential threats or attacks and build infrastructure, for example, firewalls, to minimise the impact of any untoward incident.
To become an IoT security specialist, a degree or diploma in cybersecurity or data science is required.
The average annual salary for a full-time IoT security specialist (otherwise known as a network security specialist) is $125,000, according to Glassdoor.
2. IoT network engineer
IoT network engineers create and develop devices, software and sensors that enable devices to be connected to other systems. They are responsible for researching, building and testing IoT solutions. They may also design, code and test device features, analyse user needs and provide solutions to issues related to network connectivity and platforms.
To become an IoT network engineer, a degree in computer science or data science is required.
The average annual salary for an IoT network engineer is $90,000, according to Glassdoor.
3. Cloud engineer
Cloud engineers design, implement and manage cloud systems. They identify optimal cloud solutions for clients, as well as develop and implement cloud applications. Other tasks include migrating on-premise applications to the cloud, debugging cloud stacks, and modifying and improving existing systems.
A degree in computer science and certifications in Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is required to become a cloud engineer.
The average annual salary for a cloud engineer is $124,697, according to Indeed.
4. Software developer
To become a software developer in the IoT industry, a degree in computer science and additional certifications in coding languages are required.
The average annual salary for a software developer (also called an IoT software engineer) is $96,766, according to Glassdoor.
5. IoT systems administrator
IoT systems administrators set up and maintain account access for IoT systems. They maintain the systems, including verifying that peripherals are working, arranging for software or hardware upgrades and monitoring system performance. They also create file systems, install software and manage backups and recovery.
To become a systems administrator, a diploma or degree in computer science is usually required.
The average annual salary for an IoT systems administrator is $70,582, according to Glassdoor.
6. Web development engineer
Another Internet of Things job opportunity is the role of web development engineer. Web development engineers in the IoT space develop web applications for IoT devices. These devices can be anything from cars to light bulbs to sensor grids. The web applications that development engineers design help connect these devices. Web development engineers also develop security protocols for the applications they build.
Aspiring web development engineers in IoT need to earn a degree in computer science or computer engineering and certifications in coding languages, such as Java, C++, Python, and Ruby.
The average annual salary for an IoT engineer (in general) is $90,000, according to Glassdoor.
7. IoT embedded systems designer
IoT embedded software engineers execute on the complete software development cycle (SDC). They create scalable, optimised IoT software systems, as well as review them and develop appropriate security. They design, develop, code, test and debug all IoT software.
To become an IoT embedded systems designer, a degree in computer science or engineering is required.
The average annual salary for an IoT embedded systems designer is $119,265, according to ZipRecruiter.
8. IoT solutions engineer
IoT solutions engineers work with customers to design solutions for their needs. They select suitable sensors and radio technology to meet customer requirements and guide customers through the process of realising their IoT projects. They also participate in planning, designing and architecting IoT solutions and operating and maintaining these solutions.
To become an IoT solutions engineer, a degree in technical engineering is required.
The average annual salary for an IoT solutions engineer is $90,000, according to Glassdoor.
9. IoT infrastructure architect
IoT infrastructure architects obtain, manage, filter and make sense of all of the data transmitted through IoT networks. This can include data shared between the internet and other connected devices, including smart sensors, phones, appliances, cameras and cars. IoT infrastructure architects use data to help organisations fix customer problems and design better IoT solutions.
To become an IoT infrastructure architect, a degree in computer science, data science or information technology (IT) is required.
The average annual salary for an IoT infrastructure architect is $132,462, according to ZipRecruiter.
10. Vulnerability/cyber engineer
Vulnerability/cyber engineers in the IoT industry identify current and emerging technology issues, such as security risks, vulnerabilities and threats. They also source and implement security solutions to guard against these threats. They conduct research to identify weaknesses and recommend appropriate strategies to combat them.
To become a vulnerability/cyber engineer, a degree in computer science or technology is required.
The average annual salary for a vulnerability/cyber engineer is $110,000, according to WithYouWithMe.
10 skills required to succeed in an IoT career
To take advantage of the vast number of Internet of Things job opportunities that will emerge in the future, graduates and those aspiring to work in the IoT industry need to have a number of skills.
Here are 10 skills required to qualify for Internet of Things job opportunities.
1. IoT hardware
Those aspiring to work in IoT need extensive knowledge of IoT hardware and how it works. IoT hardware includes routing devices, as well as bridges or sensors. These IoT devices manage functions such as system activation, security and communication. IoT professionals must understand how they work and how to troubleshoot them.
2. Business intelligence
People often use IoT devices to solve complex consumer problems. IoT devices can also be central to product offerings.
For example, IoT devices may communicate with remote mines and send data. For this reason, IoT professionals need business intelligence. They need to understand how the applications they develop impact businesses, people and profits.
3. Application design
Application design is an essential skill for IoT professionals. IoT professionals need to be able to design IoT applications that encompass the broader IoT ecosystem to ensure that they are functional and fit for purpose. Application design involves incorporating broader customer and societal needs and requirements, including data transfer and privacy requirements.
4. Mobile application design
IoT professionals may need to be proficient at mobile application design. Essentially, mobile application design involves designing both the user interface and user experience. IoT professionals will likely need to know how to style an application and decide on buttons and widgets.
A central tenet of IoT is helping devices communicate, and networks make that happen. IoT professionals need to understand everything about IoT networks, including how they work, why they work and how to troubleshoot them if things go wrong.
6. Data science
Every piece of communication that happens between IoT devices produces data. Understanding this data is essential for IoT professionals. IoT professionals need to understand unstructured data and be able to transform this data into meaningful business and customer insights.
7. Security infrastructure
IoT professionals need a strong understanding of IoT security and the infrastructure that supports that. The term “IoT security infrastructure” refers to the technology that safeguards devices and networks in the internet of things. IoT professionals need to understand the security risks of an interrelated system and how to best manage them.
8. Security engineering
Beyond the infrastructure that supports IoT, IoT professionals need a strong understanding of security engineering. Specifically, they need to understand how data is communicated, exchanged and stored and how to mitigate risks of threats and vulnerabilities.
9. GPS development
Understanding how and why GPS systems need to be connected through IoT to other systems is essential for IoT professionals. Connecting GPS systems to other devices can help them function more effectively. Connecting GPS systems to a home heating and cooling system, for instance, can help turn the system on before a user returns home.
10. Electrical engineering
Many devices that utilise IoT are also electronic, electrical or mechanical in nature. For this reason, electrical engineering skills are important for IoT professionals as they bridge the gap between the IoT connectivity in their devices and how the devices themselves function.
In what fields is IoT growing?
Across the board, IoT is growing in its use and application every day. However, IoT is growing faster and more prominently in several industries.
Here are five industries where IoT is expanding.
Between 2019 and 2025, the global IoT healthcare market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 12.59 per cent. IoT is responsible for many important innovations in healthcare, including making remote patient health monitoring possible.
This has had exciting flow-on effects. For example, an IoT innovation has enabled patients to reduce their hospital stays, while doctors get more regular and precise updates about their health. Remote monitoring has also reduced the chance of patient readmission.
Between 2020 and 2027, the IoT market for education is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 17.74 per cent. IoT makes remote learning much easier and more effective, and can include a range of classroom technologies.
One popular use of IoT in education is the interactive whiteboard. An interactive whiteboard enables teachers to display interactive content on a traditional whiteboard. Information can also be captured and sent straight to students.
3. Transportation and smart cities
IoT for smart cities and transportation will enjoy huge growth over the next decade, increasing by an annual growth rate of 18.1 per cent.
In terms of planning and powering cities, IoT has a multitude of innovative uses. IoT can monitor activity on transport and on streets so that streetlights, for example, are only on when required and public transport only runs when needed.
IoT in the telecom industry has already grown exponentially – and is expected to continue to do so. Between 2016 and 2021, IoT in telecom enjoyed an annual growth rate of 43.6 per cent.
Like other industries, IoT in telecom has a multitude of innovative uses. These include intelligent networks, data analytics, billing platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) and many cloud services.
The growth rate of IoT in the automotive market is also very high. The annual growth rate of IoT in automotive is expected to be 16.4 per cent between 2019 and 2025.
IoT is helping people drive more safely and making cars more efficient and effective. Uses of IoT range from providing infotainment to monitoring critical car parts and notifying the owners when they need to replace the parts.
IoT: Future trends
As IoT continues to grow over the next few years and beyond, several trends are emerging.
Here are five trends expected to dominate the IoT industry.
1. Edge computing
The term “edge computing” refers to computing that is done near or at the source of the data that is being processed. Right now, a lot of data is processed at offshore data storage centres, but with edge, this may no longer be the case.
Edge has a lot of benefits to IoT. In a nutshell, edge computing enables more data to be processed more quickly, which means data is more secure. In turn, this means that the data received and built into IoT systems could be even more powerful.
2. IoT in retail
IoT in retail is one trend that all IoT professionals need to understand and appreciate. IoT in this field is growing fast, and its uses are plentiful. Examples of new IoT-powered technologies that are quickly emerging in retail include RFID scanners that promote safe and fast shipping, touchless self-checkout options, and complete inventory visibility. The growing trend of IoT in retail will mean that retailers can provide an even better experience to shoppers.
3. Increasing IoT security
In response to increasing massive cyberattacks on IoT-enabled devices, IoT security is expected to strengthen in the near future. This may take many forms and will likely include increasing the security of data exchanges and introducing more regulations to govern data storage and use.
As the years go by, IoT professionals will need to become increasingly attentive to the security of their data, ensuring that valuable data does not get into the wrong hands.
4. Underwater IoT
In the past, IoT was concentrated on land technologies, but this may be about to change. JCU researchers are currently exploring underwater IoT and see massive potential in this field.
Underwater IoT can be used to connect boats, ships and other underwater objects. IoT can offer a number of different solutions, including assistance with positioning and navigating, disaster prediction and much more.
5. Smart cities
Smart cities soon may be one of the future’s brightest IoT trends. Currently, China is leading the way with investment in IoT-enabled smart cities; however, Japan and Australia are also investing big and appear set to continue to do so in the future.
Internet of things job opportunities: An investment in your future
From smart cities to smart cars, IoT is an exciting field. It presents real-world, exciting solutions to many problems. It also offers equally exciting career opportunities.
With the variety of IoT jobs available continuing to grow, now is the time to build your skillset. Enrol in JCU Online's Graduate Diploma of Data Science (IoT) to give you the foundation you need to begin your career in this exciting industry.
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