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Urgent Action Needed for Industrial IoT

Nov. 17, 2015
With the large scope and rapid growth of the Internet of Things, is there a realistic path to fill the skills gap problem? Full article brought to you by Rockwell Automation. Visit The Connected Enterprise for more.  

The next industrial revolution is well underway with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) but there is a real problem facing hiring managers for companies looking to grow in this market. The World Bank Studies estimate that 220,000 new engineers are required every year from 2014 to 2022 to connect the unconnected. In addition, there are 300,000 control engineers that need to be re-skilled. Given this large scope and rapid growth, is there a realistic path to fill the skills gap problem?

Industries are reinventing their businesses with IP connectivity, with Cisco predicting that more than 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. The global competition to create smarter manufacturing presents a large opportunity for both existing engineers and new talent to engage in a much more dynamic industrial jobs market. 

This skills gap question really has several facets to consider. How can engineering and IT talent keep up with technical and commercial challenges? How do companies motivate and challenge talent in this rapidly changing world to retain and grow their workforce?  Also how do companies ensure that they realize the full value of IoT and Digitization in order to compete in the IoT-focused global marketplace? These questions require thinking through the desired outcomes of both personal careers as well as organizational and national needs.   

The good news is that the industrial IoT can benefit from the other networking transformations that are leveraging IP. Cisco and their partner ecosystem have helped other sectors like voice, video and enterprise connectivity transform with rich career and learning paths. Cisco certifications have built careers in these other domains and have enabled industry transitions.

For the industrial IoT, Cisco and its partners are investing in holistic training and certification paths that will do the same for manufacturing and other industrial sectors on a global scale.

The development of high-value curriculums and certifications is founded on an ‘outside/in’ process working closely with stakeholders to define and analyze the desired business impacts, job roles and tasks. The end result will ensure that both hiring manager and engineering talent needs are met both today and in the future. This proven process results in deliverables that can scale across the globe through partners and communities.

E-learning is an important new method of increasing awareness and competency required for industrial network design. Industrial IP Advantage’s new e-learning offering can provide significant context and background on design considerations to impact outcomes for both IT and OT professionals at industrial operations as well as machine builders and system integrators. These self-paced, engaging web-based training modules provide an important stepping stone for an industry looking to evolve its skills building process.     

Vendor-led training and certifications can build on these fundamental skills with a complete career track for hiring managers and engineers. A 2014 IT Skills and Salary report found three key outcomes of these types of training:

  • Knowledge – 8 out of 10 managers agree certified employees are more knowledgeable
  • Advancement – Over two-thirds of managers agree employees are ready for more responsibilities
  • Value – Almost three-quarters agree these employees are more valuable. 86 percent of IT hiring managers consider certifications a strong priority for evaluating candidates

Early indication is that industrial hiring managers will also welcome certifications in their quest to fill critical manufacturing skills gaps.

As part of Cisco’s ongoing commitment to equip IT and OT professionals with the knowledge and skills essential to fulfill evolving industrial job roles, the company launched the new CCNA Industrial certification. This complements and extends existing educational resources to jointly address IT and OT network convergence. The collaboration leveraged an ecosystem including Panduit Corp for expertise on standards and best practices for physical layer network deployment from plant to enterprise. The ecosystem approach also includes insights from system integrators and end users across a broad cross-section of industries to ensure job skills and career needs are addressed.

For more information on industrial networking training, visit http://www.industrial-ip.org/en/training.

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