By November 2, 2020

The Essential Guide to Becoming an IoT Developer

The global network of smart and connected objects (internet of things or IoT) has changed every industry. These smart devices have contributed to what we commonly refer to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. It’s tough to imagine life without these connected devices as they make life easier and give us greater control over our lives.

Almost all tech innovations depend on the internet, and IoT drives this trend. The latest estimations by Statista reveal that the global IoT devices market will amount to 75.44 billion by 2025. IoT is changing the game for businesses around the world, giving them a serious edge over their competitors. However, a recent Microsoft study reveals that a majority of organizations lack advanced IoT skills.

It’s no wonder, then, that the demand for IoT developers is growing exponentially. An increasing number of businesses are looking to hire proficient IoT developers who can use their skills to build innovative IoT solutions that address business opportunities.

If you are planning to compete in the IoT job market, it makes sense to hone your skills and build your reputation as an expert in this field. In this post, I’ll share with you five valuable tips to help you become an ace IoT developer.

Develop an Understanding of Sensors and Hardware

An IoT developer is expected to specialize in several areas, depending on the complexity of the system and the layer of the IoT architecture they are working on.

For the device layer, for instance, the developer is expected to specialize in embedded software development for smart sensors and endpoint IoT devices. Similarly for the data analytics layer, an IoT developer should have experience in batch and stream big data processing, data visualization, and implementation of ML algorithms.

Besides possessing practical knowledge of coding languages (for the back end of web applications), IoT developers should have a deep understanding of embedded systems, field gateways, and data management and analytics. They should know how sensors work and integrate into the IoT architecture.

A computer science or electrical engineering background can secure your career as a successful IoT developer. Alternatively, several online education platforms like Udemy and upGrad offer certified programs and guided modules on IoT sensors and devices. Enrolling in such online courses will give you an in-depth understanding of the technical areas essential to professionals in the IoT industry.

These platforms offer various courses and projects related to sensors and wireless communication, allowing aspiring IoT developers to upgrade their knowledge.

Get Proficient at Python

A Stack Overflow survey revealed that Python is popular and the fastest-growing programming language among professional developers. It is a versatile language that supports any programming style. Unlike C++ or Java, Python is designed to implement business logic right at the device level.

The language is easy to learn, syntax, and debug. It supports large standard libraries and meets all developer requirements, whether they are creating an IoT project from scratch or working with sensors and actuators. In fact, Python is used for Raspberry Pi, the most popular microcontroller in the market.

Python is indispensable for IoT projects involving machine learning and other machine intelligence tools. So, if you want to be a successful IoT developer, knowing Python can be a huge plus point. It can help you code development boards, work with Raspberry Pi, and automate more efficiently. Moreover, you can use the Python server-side language to interact with the database.

Play with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino

Greenhorn IoT developers who are passionate about learning more about IoT through experiments should work with Raspberry Pi and Arduino Uno. Understanding how these two work can help you enhance your IoT skills and apply that knowledge to fields like wearable tech, smart environments, and home automation.

Further, several factors need to be considered when choosing suitable hardware for an IoT project. For instance, scalability, functionality, and flexibility are a few factors that determine whether or not particular hardware is good for a project.

Both Raspberry Pi and Arduino are great for prototyping. However, Raspberry Pi offers more onboard features and can run more complex functionality than Arduino. On the other hand, Arduino—although pricey—is effort-efficient and can easily handle simple repetitive tasks.

So, if your IoT application needs to collect data from multiple sensors, pull data from the internet, connect to a smartphone, and share a complex output, you should go for Raspberry Pi. Experimenting with Raspberry Pi and Arduino will help you understand how they compare and make a suitable decision based on the project needs.

Pursue a Passion Project

IoT is an ever-evolving domain that demands high-quality, scalable, robust, secure, and user-friendly solutions. However, these applications evolve at a blistering pace, rendering dream IoT applications obsolete in a few months.

To stay on top of these ever-evolving trends, aspiring IoT developers should take up passion projects that can give them a real-world IoT experience. Further, you should consider showcasing these projects in an IoT hackathon or summit. This will improve exposure to your prototyping systems and help you network with small and medium-sized firms for project opportunities.

Join an IoT community

becoming an IoT developerBeing surrounded by a community of inventors, developers, and business visionaries can help an IoT developer in more ways than one.

By engaging with thought leaders and mentors within the industry, you can share your ideas and challenges you face, and discuss the best practices and growth opportunities. Such interactions will help you refine your thoughts, allowing you to evolve as an expert IoT developer.

IoT is a nascent and nebulous domain. A community of experienced IoT professionals can give you a peek into what’s happening in the industry. It also strengthens your network, opening up a world of opportunities for you as a developer.

Communities are built on shared challenges of people committed to a common cause—mastering and contributing innovative ideas to the domain. Joining an IoT community will help you develop a solid career path alongside seasoned developers and mentors.

Over to You!

The IoT landscape is expanding. Innovative IoT applications are transforming our world into a complex and dynamic system of connected devices, making our lives easier. The widespread adoption of IoT has made it pertinent for businesses to have skilled IoT developers on board who can come up with innovative and competitive solutions.

Right now is an exciting time to enter the IoT development field. If you are passionate about IoT, use the best practices shared in this post to advance your knowledge in the domain and position yourself as an expert IoT developer.

About the author

Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Pratik has spoken at the 80th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting and Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few.