I recently participated in a panel discussion Solving the IoT Talent Puzzle at the 2017 Internet of Manufacturing Business Conference on behalf of Cisco and the Internet of Things (IoT) Talent Consortium. Alongside other industry leaders Rockwell Automation, MIT, and the State of Illinois we discussed industry trends in the IoT and the evolution of skill sets needed.

Here are the top three takeaways from the panel discussion:

  1. Manufacturing is leading the way in the IoT: The manufacturing industry in the U.S. is embracing digital technologies. According to market intelligence firm IDC, 43% of manufacturing companies are already going through digital transformation, and 41% have identified digital transformation opportunities for their businesses as of 2016. The future of the IoT looks bright in connected manufacturing. IDC has forecasted that 75% of manufacturing companies will update their operations with IoT and analytics by 2019. By 2020, 60% of plant workers will work alongside automated assistance technologies.
  2. There’s a major talent gap in the industry: As the industry continues to evolve, lack of talent and skills continues to be the biggest barrier to harnessing the power of the IoT. According to LinkedIn, there are around 67,000 control engineers within the marketplace. Industry estimates suggest that around 60% of the workforce is represented on LinkedIn. This means that there are around 112,000 control engineers worldwide. Cisco predicts that 220,000 new engineers will be needed globally every year for the next 10 years to keep up with the technological surge of IoT. This presents a huge gap. Not only is a new breadth of skills necessary for those entering the industry, but also for those within the industry. Individuals must upskill as IoT technologies evolve.
  3. The IoT Talent Consortium is working to fill this gap: The IoT Talent Consortium is an industry-wide initiative focused on building and growing IoT talent. As a founding member of the IoT Talent Consortium, Cisco realizes the need for a new breadth of skills – in security, infrastructure, cognitive, leadership, big data, mobility, and software. As part of an industry-wide effort, Cisco develops individuals with the interdisciplinary skills needed to harness the power of the IoT.

These key points resonated to an audience of leaders in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing company executives are recognizing the need to reskill their employees and the importance of credible learning providers to help develop talent from within. They also worry about objectively sourcing candidates with the right skills and are anxious to understand which training and certifications matter most.

To learn more about how the IoT Talent Consortium and Cisco are addressing these concerns, visit the IoT Talent Consortium website and the Cisco Learning Network.


Sudarshan Krishnamurthi

Head of Business Strategy, Cisco's education services

Cisco Services