Monday, July 28, 2014

Humboldt MCU Opportunity: Tech Companies Recruiting IoT Developers

One of my goals for this blog is to identify ways for Humboldt microcontroller (MCU) users to earn money and to try to highlight those money-making opportunities for people who are interested in them. It will help Humboldt people and the regional economy if we can increase the number of Humboldt MCU-related paid projects and jobs.
IoT concept graphic (from had a short July 25 article, "Tech Giants Begin Recruiting for the Next Big Platform Wars", which talked about a technology-economy trend that Humboldt MCU people should be aware of and should look at as an opportunity for projects or jobs. The article says that the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be a huge revenue opportunity for MCU developers, the 'next big platform.' The 'killer app' for the IoT hasn't come over the horizon yet, and there is no clear leader among companies competing to cash in on the billions of dollars expected to be spent on embedded computing systems and other IoT products and services. Even though no company has a firmly established lead, those organizations who want to have a chance in this race are hiring technical people, including MCU developers, to create and improve their organization's products. As Wired puts it:
Microcontroller (from
"The Internet of Things is still young, but it’s real. There are already dozens of internet-connected devices available, ranging from home-automation tools to wearable fitness trackers. And it’s about to start growing at an even faster pace. According a new survey...17 percent of the world’s software developers are already working on Internet of Things projects. Another 23 percent are planning to start an IoT project within the next six months. The most popular devices? Security and surveillance products, connected cars, environmental sensors and smart lights and other office automation tools. The world’s largest tech companies are already in fierce competition to attract developers to their respective connected device platforms. After all, the winners of these new platform wars will define the future of computing."
Two previous technology-economy trend platforms early stages that employed a lot of developers were when businesses started having websites on the Internet and when the iPhone catalyzed a huge market for smartphone apps. New sustainable trends have a tipping point where the trend actually becomes an important economic factor and creates a significant amount of ongoing sales and reliable employment. The IoT appears to be approaching that tipping point, and the Wired article is saying the trend is sustainable and there will be a large number of steady employment opportunities for IoT developers. The article "Silicon Labs Tuned In for Upside" phrased it this way:
"...we don't think IoT for Silicon Labs will turn out to be an overextended hype cycle. Connected/smart-home adoption has parallels to smartphones in 2008, where developers created unanticipated high-value applications on a platform to drive rapid adoption. From that perspective, 50 billion IoT devices by 2020 does not seem unreasonable."
Other recent articles about MCUs, embedded computing and the IoT have also talked about MCU-developer opportunities in the upcoming months and years. So the question at this point is, 'how can Humboldt developers get involved with the IoT platform to make money?' I'll talk more about this topic in some of the future posts on this blog. But for now, Humboldt MCU developers and users might consider doing some or all of the following activities.
  1. Learn a lot about the IoT and microcontrollers and keep up-to-date on these two topics.
  2. Learn more about the IoT and MCUs by designing and building unique projects and document them online.
  3. Use the internet to document and promote your IoT and MCU knowledge and skill.
  4. Teach a class about Arduinos, MCUs or the IoT.
  5. Build and promote interesting MCU / IoT products and sell them online.
  6. Identify and reach out to knowledgeable and interesting people who are relatively well-connected in the IoT and MCU communities.
  7. Use craigslist and other online developer job boards to look for MCU / IoT job or project opportunities and to advertise your availability for MCU / IoT projects and employment.
All the above activities can be done without participating in any of the Humboldt Microcontrollers Group meetings or collaborative MCU projects.

But the above money-making activities can also be done with people who are active in the Humboldt Microcontrollers Group. In my experience, it's often more fun and more interesting to work on projects or activities with other people who have complementary or similar knowledge and interests. If you're interested in discussing any of the above IoT money making opportunities, come to the next MCU meeting. Or email me at arcatabob (at) gmail {dott} com.


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