How the Internet of Things Will Impact Engineering Careers

New opportunities abound for those in software, mechanical, and manufacturing

14 February 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT), with its promise of connecting machines and making tasks easier, more efficient and less expensive, is increasingly winding its way into everyday life.

Applications range from the more innocuous consumer applications—think Amazon’s Alexa—to lifesaving wearable ones that can automatically sense respiratory levels and send a warning if dangerous conditions are detected. Monitoring weather and seismic activity from data extracted from temperature, humidity, wind speed, and weighing sensors can be distributed quickly from connected industrial grids. And in the future, for example, real-time monitoring of damages for emergency response team management will be possible.

For engineers, the rapid adoption of IoT technology is changing the future trajectory of their careers. New opportunities abound for software, mechanical, and manufacturing engineers in a world of internet everywhere, all the time.

Simultaneously, our economy is evolving into what has been called the “creative economy,” where anyone can create valuable content. Facebook and Google track how users navigate the internet to determine what a particular user is interested in, in order to more efficiently serve up advertisements. User agreements permit these companies such access; people trade their privacy for the convenience of having a platform to espouse their beliefs and opinions. Everyone creates value, even if that value is largely based around making it easier for sellers to sell products and services. The IoT is how all of that is connected and those networks can be as varied as industrial applications or mobile designs.

Engineers specializing in mobile development and hardware engineering will be particularly sought after in this golden age of IoT. They will continue to work on projects focused on device performance monitoring, environmental sensors and areas such as preventative maintenance and equipment upgrading. And the consumer electronics industry is moving even faster into IoT than industrial segments.

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding not only about quality of products, but about the quality of service. They want a personalized experience that meets or exceeds their expectations. To achieve that business needs sites that track preferences and conversations in order to provide experiences rather than outright advertising. Failing to meet expectations can result in extremely negative posts and it’s impossible to tell which of those have the potential to go viral. So engineers have become vital in building the systems and software that power the connected customer experience.

The IoT will replace various low-skill jobs with high-skill engineering jobs. The connection of machines will lead to the creation of new jobs that will help drive business success. Hardware and software engineering as well as UI/UX design are desired engineering skills for IoT applications. Engineers familiar with standalone embedded systems will be particularly in demand as designs evolve into massive and powerful networks of devices that deliver unprecedented amounts of data over the internet. Those who know hardware and web design have been able to increase their marketability and salaries thanks to the many new engineering opportunities developing in the IoT.

Content sponsored by Digi-Key Electronics.

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