Hays UK blog


Four skill gaps businesses need to embrace in the world of IoT

By James Milligan, Director UK & Ireland, EMEA for Technology and Project Solutions

The ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT continues to change every single aspect of our lives. With connectivity on a worldwide scale, it provides an incredibly exciting business opportunity.

Equally impressive is the IoT’s growth rate. Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices. This shared connectivity means we as human beings, and our devices, are far more connected than ever before. As a result, this has raised an unprecedented interest for a variety of technical expertise.

We have seen an increase in demand for workers with tech skills which includes business consulting, Apple’s Swift programming language, Big Data analytics, machine learning and traditional coding languages (such as AngularJS and Node.js).

But do you have developers with the right capabilities to transform your organisation?

How will the IoT impact app developers?

Apps have evolved from only connecting to and communicating with one mobile operating system, to connecting to a myriad of devices. Therefore, app development and programming will become a far more specialised and in-demand skill. We predict the following impact:

1. App developers will need to adapt and diversify their skill sets

Apps must be designed for flexibility to remain relevant. Equally, the role of your app developers, with your support, also need to be flexible, and should be committed to investing in their own development. An analysis of your current development teams should highlight any skills gaps so you can plan accordingly.

2. We’ll keep relying on third party software

It makes sense to build an application on top of a ready-made “IoT platform” to reduce development time and to communicate with as many “things” produced by as many manufacturers as possible. However, app developers will need to understand how to connect to these third-party platforms, probably using a diverse range of APIs. For example, a developer may need to write connectors in JavaScript that allow new things to communicate with the platform as manufacturers develop them.

3. Security remains paramount

The unsurpassed connectivity of the IoT gives cyber criminals a new window to exploit and developers must build security into the heart of every app.“Mirai” specialises in infecting IoT devices and was made open source last year. Shortly after this release, GitHub, Spotify and Twitter were all affected by an attack.

A recent report from Intel Security showed that more than 80% of IT decision makers said they lack knowledge of cyber security within their business. We expect to see a huge surge in demand for IT security expertise and training to redress this imbalance and DDoS strategies, in particular, will play a pivotal role.

4. Growth of mobile development

Your smartphone is already your communications hub, so mobile apps are a natural fit for the IoT. We expect to see growth in the mobile app development sector to complement the growth of the IoT sector.

Hybrid apps are also a good match for the IoT. The app is hosted inside a native application that uses a mobile platform’s WebView. In other words, the bulk of the app is built using cross-compatible web technologies, such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript – the same languages used to write web apps. This allows the app to access the wider functionality of the device and produce a more refined user experience.

Increased sophistication of apps through IoT

This proliferation of connectivity has created endless opportunities to create even more intelligent apps, both for personal and business use.

Smart homes - Amazon Echo, a smart speaker integrates a personal voice assistant named Alexa who can answer your questions and take basic commands is a clear example. Recent additions include support for Nest and WEMO to control smart home devices. The UK version even lets you order your favourite takeaway through the Just Eat app.

Smart cars – More than 380 million connected cars are predicted to be on the road by 2020, up from 36 million in 2015, according to BI Intelligence. You are now able to connect to your office calendar and navigate the quickest route to your next meeting.

Smart cities - The connectivity across different facilities improves the efficiency of services to seamlessly meet residents’ needs. Barcelona, for example, recently implemented a number of IoT initiatives to help enhance transport and environmental activities.

How does this impact companies recruiting for app developers?

Unfortunately, there’s not currently enough talent with the right experiences to manage and execute IoT projects. If you’re company is impacted by the above predictions we would advise you to amend your hiring requirements to finding the right people with the skill set to enhance IoT into your organisation.

Download our recent report: IT Contracting Day Rates Guide 2017 or if you are looking for support with your employment and hiring needs please contact your local office.

About this author

James is Director of Hays IT, Digital Technology and Project Solutions in the UK, Ireland and EMEA. Having joined in 2000, he is responsible for the strategy of Hays’ Project Solutions, IT and Digital Technology businesses, which includes IT contracting, permanent technology recruitment, resource augmentation and statement of work solutions across both the private and public sectors.


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