How the IoT exacerbates the IT talent gap

The challenge in building IoT applications is that building connected, intelligent apps currently requires many, disparate technologies. And CIOs have difficulty finding highly skilled talent to configure, implement, integrate and manage a mix of different and complex IoT technologies, endpoints, platforms, back-end systems and data.

There are also new skills required for IoT projects, creating unique new roles that need to be filled.

Building new IoT and algorithmic business solutions requires scarce, hard-to-find specialist skills. According to Gartner, the top barrier to CIO success is skills and resources.

As noted in the 2016 Gartner CIO Agenda Report, 66% of CIOs believe there is a talent crisis in the world, yet there is surprisingly little talent innovation.

The 2016 State of the CIO survey found that 49% of CIOs expect to experience IT skills shortages in the next 12 months. And according to a statistic cited by Gartner, through 2021, market demand for app development will grow at least five times faster than IT capacity to deliver it. CIOs must consider new approaches to acquiring and keeping top talent.

>See also: Debunking myths about IoT projects

The reality is that it doesn’t have to be this difficult, and CIOs just need to consider how emerging technologies focused on abstracting away from technical complexity can help alleviate and close the talent gap.

Instead of looking for specialised talent to manage all the technology needed for IoT initiatives, use the combination of an IoT Software Platform and a low-code development platform.

An IoT software platform brings together all of the technology required for an IoT project. IoT software platforms help simplify deploying, managing, operating, and capturing insight from IoT-enabled connected devices.

Some IoT Software platforms to consider include: IBM Bluemix, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, GE Predix and SAP Hana.

Combine this with a low-code development platform that can help businesses get ahead of the talent challenge by enabling a much broader range of users. Who, in turn, can build IoT apps using visual models and reusable components and connectors to IoT services, including professional developers as well as developers with hybrid business-IT skill sets like business analysts.

With model-driven development, business and IT have a common language to rapidly test, build and iterate new IoT solutions, shortening time to market while enabling easy ongoing modifications as needs and requirements change.

How to find the right talent for IoT projects

With this in mind, the talent pool does not need to be filled with developers that have specialised IoT experience and technical skills. Instead, business leaders should be looking for talent with a specific mentality, versus skillset. Here are the characteristics they should be looking for.

>See also: Big data vs. the Internet of Things: how the projects differ

Business savvy developer

This person has a good understanding of business requirements and the ability to see the big picture when delivering software projects.

Tech savvy business analyst

This person has a solid understanding of all of the tiers of software development (database, middleware, business logic, UI) and SDLC (requirements, developing, testing, releasing).

Passion driven

Look for talent with a passion to deliver software applications that the business wants to use. They are passionate about having impact, solving business problems and experimenting.

Team player

Find cross-functional team players who are willing to collaborate in order to come up with new ideas and see them to fruition.


Look for developers with open minds to new technologies and willingness to learn and expand skill sets.

Vanguard architect

These people are creative, strategic thinkers who understand the ‘why’ of technical decisions and how new technologies can be applied to deliver business value.

>See also: This year will see competitive advantage in the IoT

They’re also human-centric and possess the behavioural skills required to influence people, build trust and lead the organisation through disruptive change.


Once business leaders have filled their talent pool, they can begin working on bringing their first project to completion.

With this project agnostic group, businesses can go on to bring an entire digital transformation program to fruition, not just one IoT project.

Once the new team of business savvy and agile developers works through one project together successfully, business leaders can split their talent pool into multiple teams that can work on various types of projects by size, priority and type.

Sourced by Arjo van Oosten, global director of digital transformation at Mendix

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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