How to engage more students in the IoT

The educational gap between skills demanded by IoT companies and practical knowledge of workforce could decrease (endanger) the expected growing of the market.

The best well-known research companies are continuously publishing reports with estimates and forecasts on the burgeoning IoT market, including device growth, amount invested and potential return on investment. But there is an important reality that only a few warn of: the educational gap and practical knowledge absence to cover the workforce needed to develop IoT solutions.

This Business Insider Intelligence report forecasts that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Gartner predicted in the symposium held six months ago that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up to 30 percent from 2015. Moreover, IoT devices will account for 24 billion by 2020, while traditional computing devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, smartwatches) will comprise 10 billion. They also state that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.

Education must focus on integrating the IoT into the curriculum

Current students must select their degrees knowing that around 4,5 million of job positions will be required to work as IoT developer in the next years and technology progresses so fast that demand is growing daily. In fact, 26% of European companies do not find the right profiles for their vacant positions. The Internet of Things market opens a new opportunity for electronic and computing engineers and Libelium is focusing on education by training current students that will be the future leaders in the sector.

Nevertheless, the fact is that today only ten per cent of 1,200 student participants had been capable to finish the first edition of The IoT Spartans Challenge. The online educational program opened last year to find the best IoT developers among worldwide engineering universities and technical schools. Twelve universities engaged actively the challenge and we expected to publish a ranking with, at least, 300 finalists (300 Spartans!).

The reality shows that students are not enough prepared to follow the practical lessons in IoT development and less than 50% finished the challenge. Luckily, Jerjes was not planning to attack – at least not yet. Because the danger is not in slowering IoT adoption but in ensuring its continuity in the long term.

Impressions of the first IoT Spartans Challenge 2016 at libelium / ©libelium

Closing the gap

Due to the increasing demand of IoT solutions, the aim of this training program is to cover the gap between the skills demanded by IoT companies and the practical knowledge of future developers that are studying today Computing or Electronic Engineering.

Its promising future will be further guaranteed only if we all help to ensure it. This should be a shared commitment of corporate and social responsibility including governments, educational institutions and private companies to reinforce employment opportunities for future generations. The more “Spartans” we have for the future, the greater will the IoT market be and the faster it will reach our companies and lives.

Become part of the next IoT spartans challenge

About the author

Alicia Asín

Alicia Asín

Alicia Asín is CEO and co-founder of Libelium, the wireless sensor hardware provider, creators of Waspmote, a modular, open source sensor platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). Alicia is a computer engineer focused on how IoT can change our world, starting with Smart Cities and smart agriculture. She is a frequent speaker at international conferences on issues related to Smart Cities, wireless sensor networks and IoT. After the Mobile World Congress 2016, The Financial Times talks about Libelium as one of the Spain’s baby unicorns referring to its revolutionary technological developments in the country. She is a guest author of the Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog.