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Bridging the IoT Skills Gap: The #1 Way to Teaching Students IoT More Easily and Impactfully

Digital transformation across industries has created a boom in IoT devices. More than ever, embedded device and equipment product managers are under pressure to launch smart or connected products to grow their market share or at least maintain their market position. This sudden demand for workforce trained in IoT technologies has created the IoT skills gap. While this presents a significant opportunity for students entering the industry, teaching IoT can provide significant complexities for educators.

The #1 way to teach students IoT more easily and impactfully starts with:

1. Teaching IoT sooner rather than later

Most IoT projects are a complex integration of sensors, communication networks, hardware, software and in many cases, the cloud. Introducing students to an IoT curriculum early enables them to select the right combination of courses to give them a strong foundation – as well as developing an appreciation for how to integrate the practical applications being taught in the classroom.

2. Spending more time on core concepts with easy-to-use, low-code software

Nothing excites students more than seeing their projects coming to life quickly and reliably. While sensors and hardware platforms are largely standardized and readily available, software presents a formidable challenge. Layers of complex software must be developed and integrated for collecting, visualizing, monitoring, and reporting data. More recently low-code software applications such as Machinechat’s JEDI One replace coding with configuration, slashing weeks or months of development time and the distraction away from core curriculum. Finally, avoid trapping your students with software built on domain specific languages that have limited applications or production value in the real world.

3. Encouraging students to solve real world problems with IoT

IoT is where the physical world meets the digital world. Sensors and actuators help software monitor and manage the physical world. Industries that leverage IoT-based technologies are benefiting from significant cost reductions, improved productivities, and enhanced customer experience. Using IoT to solve real world problems exposes students to industries as well as reinforces business concepts like cost, productivity, and customer success.

4. Extending laboratory IoT projects to professional proof-of-concept solutions

Turning laboratory IoT projects into professional proof-of-concept solutions can be very rewarding to students, faculty and department. Leveraging commercial ready-to-use products and kits, like Digi-Key’s IoT QuickStart Kit for Environmental Monitoring, educators can enable students to go from lab projects to professional proof of concepts quickly and provide them with a foundation for extending learning beyond the classroom.

Machinechat’s JEDI One software makes it easy for students to start with as little as one sensor and scale that up to multiple distributed sensors with professional data visualization, monitoring and notifications.

5. Organizing field days to connect students to industry leaders - and enabling them to get real-world feedback

IoT field days are a perfect way for students, faculty, and departments to showcase their field-ready proof-of-concepts to the industry and the world to raise awareness, create opportunities for students and potential research funding. The thrill that comes from an IoT solution going from a lab project to an industry success story cannot be stated in simple words.

To learn more on how to jumpstart students on building IoT projects, join us on Monday, July 26, 2021, for Digi-Key's Excellence in Engineering Education workshop “Jumpstart IoT Rapid Prototypes and Data Acquisition Projects in Less Than 30 Minutes”. Sign up here.


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