Employers aren’t picky when it comes to developers

Given how consumed the world has become with big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, one would think employers would be laser-focused on hiring people with those skills. According to a new Dice hiring report, however, employers seem to want generalists, not specialists.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t demand for IoT-focused developers. As VisionMobile highlighted two years ago, there is a desperate need for millions of IoT developers to help build the future. But when the job reqs start flowing, employers want generic “developers” or “software engineers” to the tune of 66%.

What’s your strategy?

Even though it’s still new, there’s a lot of money in IoT. Analyst firm IDC forecasts that firms will spend upwards of $232 billion on IoT technologies in 2016. Gartner polled enterprises to uncover IoT adoption and found that 50% of companies plan to roll out an IoT project in 2016. In total, 64% of enterprises expect to climb aboard the IoT train at some point in the not-so-distant future.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that few of them seem to know why.  According to Chet Geschickter, research director at Gartner, firms are stymied by IoT, even as they rush to implement it, largely for two reasons:

The first set of hurdles are business-related. Many organizations have yet to establish a clear picture of what benefits the IoT can deliver, or have not yet invested the time to develop ideas for how to apply IoT to their business. The second set of hurdles are the organizations themselves. Many of the survey participants have insufficient expertise and staffing for IoT and lack clear leadership.

In other words, enterprises know that IoT will be BIG, BIG, BIG…but they don’t have a clue what to do with it, and they don’t have the in-house talent necessary to figure it out. A Northeastern University-Silicon Valley survey of 200 IoT professionals at the recent Sensor World found the same: nearly 50% of those surveyed pinpoint the development of a “comprehensive IoT strategy as the biggest challenge in IoT.”

This is eerily similar to what plagued big data early on.

Just get me a developer

It’s interesting, therefore, that enterprises aren’t aggressively trying to hire IoT developers. At least, not self-styled IoT developers.

According to the Dice report, while developers are in heavy demand, with 51% of hiring managers identifying “developers” as their top hiring priority in 2016, and another 15% picking out “software engineers” as their priority. While the two are similar, a software engineer tends to be the person designing a system, while the developer actually builds it.

Data specialists (analytics, etc.) are the top priority for just 3% of hiring managers. And IoT-specific professionals? Well, that’s a rounding error.

This doesn’t evince a lack of interest in IoT. Far from it. If anything, it may simply be a recognition that great developers can apply their expertise to any number of types of applications. The key is to find a great developer, then she can learn IoT.

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