What do wearable fitness devices, smart ovens, and self-driving vehicles have in common? They’re all part of the IoT universe, more commonly called the internet of things.
The IoT includes any device that is connected to the internet and can be controlled without human interaction. In other words, anything with an on-off switch that can be hooked up to a vast, interconnected system of computerized control. Like everything else in the Information Technology niche, IoT has its own cheerleaders, experts, and devotees.
Fortunately, the education establishment is already offering specialty degrees at both the college and graduate level for students who want to become specialists in the internet of things. If you count yourself among these ambitious folks, here are some key things to think about before embarking on an academic degree, and eventually a career, in this fascinating, high-paying field.
Choose your specialty. Major universities and colleges all over the world are now offering specific tracks for IoT enthusiasts. Some of these degrees are a sub-category under the General Sciences departments while others are included as a minor field of study in a school’s IT curriculum. If you want to earn a credential as an expert in the internet of things, check out each school’s programs to see what specific courses are offered and what the degree requirements are. It’s important to note that a few educational institutions in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia offer targeted undergraduate or master’s degrees in IT with a designated emphasis in IoT.
College and post-graduate degrees are not free, so it’s wise to investigate your financing options well before applying to schools. For example, taking out private student loans for graduate school is usually the most efficient way to cover all the expenses related to a full academic program of study. In fact, graduate student loans from a private lender can allow you to focus entirely on your coursework and not worry about money, finding a part-time job during school, or having to exit the program due to lack of funds.
Online or Traditional
One of the pluses of most technical courses of study is that you can choose to attend a traditional institution or earn all your credits through an online system. In general, online options will end up costing you less but it’s a good idea to check out local in-class degrees because they often have better reputations in the hiring community.
For graduate programs especially, make certain that you have the prerequisites for admission. If you lack just one or two courses, most universities will let you take them during the summer before your formal graduate coursework begins. If you lack more than just a couple credits, it’s probably smart to get those classes out of the way before applying for a master’s program.
Once you choose a school, sit down with one of the counselors and investigate the various career paths that will open up to you after you finish your studies. The field is changing rapidly, so there’s a good chance that some of the jobs you end up applying for don’t even exist yet. That’s the nature of IT, and most students have become accustomed to the fast pace of the job market.