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05 Jan 2018

Six essential skills IoT developers need

Oliver Horn

Oliver Horn, senior solutions architect at Red Hat, lists six skills that all developers need to make it in the world of IoT

Ability to work in a team/listen and cooperate

IoT requires a very broad set of skills, ranging from electronics for sensors, actors and SOCs, to wireless transmission, field bus protocols, messaging and networking, to data centre technologies including data storage, AI, machine learning, API management, mobile/web UIs and legacy application integration and to other areas including end-to-end security, OTA, CI, CD. No one person can have all these skills at once, so be ready to collaborate with others.

Being open to innovation and change

Large data volumes, infrastructure management, scalability, performance, security and so forth – IoT is a complex beast, and a very fast running one as well. Plan for changes wherever you can, what is impossible today might be the new de facto standard tomorrow. On the subject of standards: have a look at existing and emerging standards in all IoT areas (see skill #1) and your specific application area.

Business orientation

Always keep the customer in mind. Everything you do should support a specific customer need. Stay focused on the customer and make intensive use of methods, technologies, and strategies that enable you to be faster in delivering to them, such as design thinking, DevOps, container platforms, CI, CD and rollout strategies such as canary or blue-green.

Being architecturally minded while staying agile

There are many IoT offerings out there that promise immediate results, but take some time to think about the mid and longer-term consequences of using a particular solution. Step back and consider the architecture, the lock-ins, the security risks or limitations that you might trade in for a quick solution or platform.

Familiarity with open source projects and commercial/enterprise use of open source products

Be aware that rule #2 applies especially to the incredible pace of innovation that comes with open source projects and communities. Most groundbreaking technologies we see these days either started as an open source project or became one after a short incubation phase, such as
Apache Hadoop for big data or the Android mobile operating system. So be sure to understand how to work with open source projects and how to get stable enterprise-ready solutions as you approach the productisation of your IoT offering.

Open-mindedness and curiosity

Read everything about IoT, at least try to. This can be exhausting but is absolutely worth it; we are living in exciting times.

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