The idea of a ‘smart home’, where residents can regulate all aspects of their domestic environment through voice commands and gestures, is considered the next big thing in housing. Unfortunately, the constant struggle with internet connectivity issues has hindered the development of such houses and similar home automation concepts. As a result, IoT and IoT developers play vital roles in transforming these ideas into reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is considered as a small-scale version of the internet. It involves various components such as sensors, user terminals, data storage and processing hardware, and operating protocols, all of which must work together correctly. IoT Engineers are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of hardware components, software and coding, as well as other essential areas such as cyber security, UI design, and communication protocols. This article covers the basic requirements of becoming an IoT Engineer, the different career paths available to IoT Engineers, and the most popular uses, jargon, and other valuable information regarding IoT and IoT Engineers.
Requirements for an Internet of Things Engineer
To be successful, an IoT Engineer must possess a diverse range of theoretical and practical knowledge. This knowledge can be divided into two distinct categories based on the level of attention required.
Software Skills Required by IoT Developers:
Proficiency in JS, Java or Python coding: With the expanding number of libraries, frameworks, and packages used in the Internet of Things (IoT) and a variety of other domains, numerous modern high-level programming languages now offer various features beyond their source code. For IoT developers, it is crucial to be skilled in at least one of these languages and its associated frameworks, packages, and libraries.
IoT experts can use server-side frameworks, such as Node.js, Netbeast, and Neura, to facilitate the development of applications for the Internet of Things. These frameworks are required for server-side web development, which involves managing numerous connected devices.
Hardware Requirements for IoT Developers:
Sensors: Any potential Internet of Things engineer must have a comprehensive understanding of sensors and how they can be integrated into new or existing system architecture. This familiarity is critical, as it enables the collection and sharing of information with other network components in near-real-time, making it one of the most critical requirements for IoT developers.
GPS: In various applications of the Internet of Things, real-time access to location data is crucial, making it a valuable skill for engineers who want to work in the fields of smart transportation, wearable technology, and logistics.
Portable Technology: Wearables and smartphones are examples of mobile devices utilised in IoT systems. As demonstrated in drone applications and transportation logistics, the hardware used in many IoT implementations is mobile and not fixed. As a result, IoT engineers must have extensive knowledge about the operation and maintenance of these portable devices.
To succeed as an IoT engineer, it is necessary to possess the following data-centric skill sets.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: The capacity to analyse data is critical for any data analyst since it enables them to consume, analyse, and display large datasets effectively. This capability will be especially beneficial to engineers working in the Internet of Things sector, who may have to manage vast quantities of data.
Management of Big Data: IoT devices generate vast amounts of data that must be analysed quickly and accurately. Consequently, while machine learning and artificial intelligence have cross-over applications with Big Data, IoT engineers require the full range of skills associated with Big Data, including the expertise of data managers.
Utilising Cloud Services: With IoT data, storage has proven to be a significant challenge, far more than data gathering and analytics. As a result, it is crucial for aspiring IoT developers to have experience in managing extensive data volumes through cloud services.
Additional Essential Attributes of IoT Engineers
User Interface (UI)-Focused Design: A critical requirement for Internet of Things systems is providing users complete control over all system functions via the user interface, which should also enable cross-device collaboration. IoT engineers should therefore strive to understand the architecture of the underlying infrastructure in terms of the user experience, even though this may be a challenging task.
Internet Safety: Due to the scalability and complexity of Internet of Things (IoT) systems, they are exposed to digital or cyber security risks. While air-gapping can be a reasonable solution to address this problem, it is not always practical. Hence, it is crucial for IoT developers to have extensive knowledge of cybersecurity.
IoT Engineers: Understanding IoT’s Functioning and Architecture
The operation of the Internet of Things (IoT) architecture is based on four primary levels, each with a specific role. These four layers are universal and are applicable to any IoT system, regardless of its scale or complexity. The four layers are:
Information Collection through the Sensing Layer: The sensors and other connected devices that make up this tier of the Internet of Things (IoT) system acquire data from the physical environment and transmit it over the internet.
Data Transmission through the Top-level of the Network: This includes Data Acquisition Systems (DAS) and other networking hardware. The latter converts analogue sensor readings into digital information usable by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. When the network is connected to the internet, advanced gateways are required to protect against threats like malware and to screen incoming data.
Data Processing Layer: This layer comprises units that process the information collected in the initial tier. Here, the data is processed and then directed to a data center where it is accessible to various software applications. The focus of this layer of the Internet of Things (IoT) is on end-users and their interaction with the various intelligent applications available. This category encompasses end-user devices in various sectors.
Key Concepts for Aspiring IoT Engineers
For an Internet of Things (IoT) engineer, being familiar with specific terms and tools is essential. Understanding some of the most basic IoT concepts, such as the following, is crucial:
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): This type of Bluetooth consumes less energy, as indicated by the name, making it power-efficient. Unlike traditional Bluetooth, it doesn’t require pairing to function and is unsuitable for streaming video or music. However, it is ideal for transmitting small data packets that require considerably less energy. Its numerous advantages make it an obvious choice for Internet of Things (IoT) developers.
Pulse Width Modulation (PWM): PWM is a method of changing the intensity of a light or the speed at which a motor rotates from a digital signal into an analog one.
- Contiki for Internet of Things
- Web of Things (WoT)
- Message Queue Telemetry Transport Protocol (MQTT)
- Standardization of the Bluegiga APX4 protocol
- This is a Raspberry Pi computer.
- PREDIX – IoT platform
Frequently Asked Questions in Interviews for IoT Engineers
The field of the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly, which necessitates engineers to remain updated on a wide variety of topics. As a result, interviews with potential IoT Engineers frequently focus on a specific area of expertise rather than a broad range. Moreover, the creation of an IoT system entails working on both software and hardware, such as sensors and similar devices, so any examinations should take this into account. Some common technical queries for entry-level IoT Engineers are as follows:
- What are the common attributes of all IoT devices? Why are these features important to IoT engineers, and what are their benefits and drawbacks?
- How do IoT systems operate, and what aspects of the numerous components that constitute these systems should IoT engineers concentrate on?
- What are the common communication models that can be employed in a standard IoT infrastructure?
- Can you provide a high-level overview of how an IoT system functions?
- What are the datasets that IoT Engineers can access?
Define “sharding” and “replication.”
IoT developers should be prepared to answer complicated technical questions such as:
- Can you describe the differences among Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things, Wireless Sensor Networks, and Machine-to-Machine communications?
- Can you provide an overview of the functioning of an IoT gateway?
- Why is device management critical in the realm of the Internet of Things?
- Compare and contrast the primary distinctions between Arduino and the Raspberry Pi.
- Can you define the following words and phrases:
- What is the meaning of BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)?
- What does PQM (Pulse Width Modulation) refer to?
- What is Contiki, and how does it relate to the Internet of Things?
- What does the term WiT (Web of Things) indicate?
- What is MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport Protocol)?
- What does the standardization on the Bluegiga APX4 protocol entail?
- What exactly is a Raspberry Pi?
- What is the abbreviation GPIO stand for, and what does it mean?
- What is the connection between IoT and PREDIX?
What topics are covered in the personal questions for IoT Engineers?
- For how long have you been working as an IoT engineer?
- As an IoT Engineer, what are some of the resources you rely on the most while working?
- Can you provide examples of the projects you have worked on as an IoT Engineer?
IoT Developers and Their Use Cases
The popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) has surged in recent years, leading to a growing need for experts in this field in all industries that rely on wireless technology. These devices include, but are not limited to,
Smart Technology in Homes and Urban Areas As previously mentioned, the benefits and real-life applications of IoT systems were demonstrated using the example of smart homes with automated HVAC systems. The Internet of Things can be applied to any device, ranging from a simple set-top box to a fully interconnected smart home. As technology advances, the IoT has the potential to even create smart cities.
Healthcare Technologies: Connected technology has revolutionized healthcare by allowing remote real-time patient monitoring, improving coordination and productivity.
Automated Vehicles: Although autonomous vehicles are usually linked with Artificial Intelligence (AI), their widespread use requires communication and collaboration to avoid traffic congestion. The Internet of Things (IoT) is advantageous in this aspect as it enhances efficiency, productivity, and minimizes the risk of collisions.
Hospitality: The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the hospitality sector is a new idea with promising benefits. IoT has streamlined tasks such as tracking customer spending, taking orders, generating invoices, and booking rooms.
Farming: Sensors are used in the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor the surroundings and optimize crop yields. Factors like humidity and rainfall must be measured to achieve this goal.
Industry: Automation has become prevalent in various industries due to technological advancements. The Internet of Things (IoT) is among the technologies that facilitate smooth coordination between different departments and processes, eliminating common production issues such as bottlenecks.
Due to the extensive training and experience required, becoming an Internet of Things engineer is a sought-after career choice for technical graduates. While it demands a substantial investment of time and effort, those who possess the necessary expertise have valuable skills in numerous disciplines that are in demand.