Florian Michahelles has run Siemens’ Web of Things research group—which investigates the application of Semantic Web technologies to the Internet of Things (IoT)—since 2013. Having worked in the fields of ubiquitous and wearable computing for more than a decade, Michahelles’ current focus at Siemens is leveraging Web and semantic technologies to enable new business opportunities, particularly in the fields of wearable sensing and human-robot interaction. He wrote “Internet of Things Reality Check” in IEEE Pervasive Computing’s April–June 2017 issue. We asked Michahelles about IoT-related careers.
ComputingEdge: What IoT-related careers will see the most growth in the next several years?
Michahelles: Any career bridging the disciplines of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, design, computer science, interactive design, and communications will be in high demand because IoT reaches across these disciplines.
ComputingEdge: What would you tell college students to give them an advantage over the competition?
Michahelles: Go beyond your major and think about also taking non-tech majors, such as by combining computer science and psychology, business and electrical engineering, or material science and sensors.
ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for IoT-related jobs?
Michahelles: Be an expert in one topic. While breadth is welcome, depth in one topic is key. Breadth then helps you effectively apply your expertise.
ComputingEdge: How can new hires make the strongest impression in a new position from the beginning?
Michahelles: Listen and learn, get your hands dirty, be bold and courageous in proposing new ideas. Play with technologies you haven’t used before, and quickly build demos and prototypes to convey your ideas to others.
ComputingEdge: Name one critical mistake that young graduates should avoid when starting their careers.
Michahelles: Don’t be afraid of failing. Instead, be brave enough to fail often, but avoid failing twice at the same thing. Keep improving.
ComputingEdge: Do you have any learning experiences that could benefit those just starting out in their careers?
Michahelles: First, find your passion and develop it. Passion is the prerequisite to being successful at something. Second, learn how to deal with people. How do you present your ideas? How do you explain your ideas to others? These days, it’s really hard to create something innovative all by yourself. Therefore, it’s important to learn to work with others. And third, get a sense of what is required. Find out what’s needed, where the opportunities are, and adjust your passion to this need.