OPINION

Internet of Things means some big job opportunities are knocking

Internet of Things means some big job opportunities are knocking

We often talk of "jobs of the future" that our children should be setting their sights on in sectors like science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Information technology is usually part of the discussions, and waves of opportunity have come and gone over the years.

But what if I told you there is an IT field in which skills shortages are fast becoming a global issue? Where demand for the technology, and experts who can leverage it, is growing so quickly that recruiters can't keep up?

Sometimes called the "third wave of the internet", the Internet of Things is a giant network of connected "things", including electronic devices, home appliances, mobile phones and weather sensors.

It enables users to connect in and gather data on anything, including consumer habits, wildlife movements, traffic congestion and environmental changes.

Organisations are quickly realising the enormous potential of the Internet of Things to make them more productive and efficient by giving them what they most need - information.

In recent years, this has made it the tech industry's fastest growing sector, with 12 per cent year on year growth - compared to about two per cent across the rest of the industry. And, with it, the job opportunities have come thick and fast.

Experts in the Internet of Things are in high demand across a wide range of industries including mining, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, utilities and local government.

And, based on growth projections, this demand isn't abating any time soon. So how can we, as a country, make the most of this opportunity? The answer is by skilling up the next generation.

Experts in this space need to be creative, clever and adaptable to industry need. Some of the opportunities awaiting them haven't even been realised yet, so flexibility is key.

At La Trobe University we have developed a new course - the Master of Internet of Things - that is co-created with employers to ensure it produces flexible, career-ready graduates. Students will be based in new teaching labs in Bendigo, which will include Internet of Things platforms, social robotics, as well as rapid prototyping and open source technologies.

Information will never go out of fashion. It's vital that we not only leverage this technology to save time and money, but also skill up experts in this space.

Dr Simon Egerton is head of the technology and innovation lab at La Trobe University