In a few weeks, Andy Young joins a panel to explore “Bridging the Industrial IoT Skills Gap” at the Smart Industry 2016 conference in Chicago. Today the controls engineer with Pioneer Energy chats with us about the role of young professionals working with the IIoT.
Smart Industry: What motivated you to enter this field?
Andy: My background is in controls engineering. I started with large Honeywell DCS systems and Fortran code. I quickly realized there had to be a better way. The technology underlying the IoT movement is synonymous with the future of controls engineering. The best feature of this field is the sense of infinite possibility.
Smart Industry: Are you the youngest of your professional peers?
Andy: I am not the youngest, per se, but I do consider myself part of the generation that is marshaling new technology into traditional industries.
Smart Industry: Is there a mindset of younger workers that is contributing to the IoT skills gap?
Andy: The mindset of younger workers is a result of their interactions with technology. I first had internet at my house as a freshman in high school. That produced a certain computer literacy which was integral to my undergraduate and graduate studies. Today, college graduates entering the workforce had smart phones in high school, which has generated higher expectations regarding user interfaces and intelligent machines.
Smart Industry: Where should we be looking to find the next generation of IoT developers?
Andy: The learning curve to developing IoT applications is becoming flatter, primarily as a result of sane high-level computer languages. I would advocate for bringing in subject-matter-experts outside of the IoT world. The technology has become very accessible; the applications of the technology have become the most interesting news items.
Smart Industry: Is the opportunity to innovate within industries appealing to young workers?
Andy: Innovation is the most appealing aspect for any developer: the opportunity to make one's fingerprint on the world. Enterprises should have a sound management structure in place to manage the risk inherent with innovation. Misguided change can often cause more harm than good.
Smart Industry: What is the solution to the IoT skills gap?
Andy: Heavy tinkering and a passion for decrypting acronyms. The technology is changing so quickly that you have to sit down and turn the dials. The more individual components you understand (and how to connect them), the richer the entire application can be.
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