IBM teams up with Coursera to deliver a developer's guide to the Internet of Things

Program Director, Innovation Strategy - IoT Developer Ecosystem, IBM

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapid growth area for many businesses today. IoT is enabled by technological innovations around cloud and analytics, cheap sensors and devices, and a mature and robust network infrastructure to enable connectivity at an unprecedented scale. The result is an explosion in the numbers of connected devices in the physical world sending data to the cloud, to enable novel customer experiences, business insights, and transformative business models that reshape whole industries.

The IoT developers behind this transformation are a unique breed. In fact, they span so many areas of expertise that calling them “developers” is like referring to Mozart as a musical director.  

According to a 2015 survey from EDC, 78 percent of IoT developers create IoT solutions as their primary source of income. By day, they operate under job titles such as software engineer, software developer, IT professional, web developer, app developer, data scientist, database admin, industrial designer or CTO. By night, IoT is a moonlight hobby that spans across all disciplines—like the early days of the Internet when anyone with a dial-up modem could be a webmaster out of their bedroom. And it is without doubt that some of the IoT developers working on their moonlight projects are building the next billion dollar startup. same study also shows that they hold higher leadership positions in their company than traditional developers. Currently those positions are filled by more seasoned developers with a cross-discipline perspective, and many of them were trained to think of hardware and software as an intimately entangled discipline.

There is no question that cross-discipline skills are already in demand, and as a result a new generation of developers is being urgently trained in multiple skill areas and tools to fill the growing demand for "connected solutions" in the coming months and years.  

That is why IBM has teamed up with Coursera, the world’s most popular online educational technology company, to offer a new open online course for those who would like to take their first steps with the Internet of Things. The course, "a developer's guide to the Internet of Things" explores what an Internet of Things solution is, and takes you through the steps required to create an Internet of Things solution using a popular device, the Raspberry Pi, and a cloud based platform, IBM Bluemix.

The course will teach you how to use Node-RED, a rapid application development environment, on both the device and the cloud. You will then use Node-RED to create an Internet of Things solution by leveraging pre-built componentry that rapidly enables "things" to "talk" to each other, along with lower level APIs to manipulate and analyze the data sent by the device. Along the way we will explore options for ensuring your solution makes best use of the information captured.

This is an entry level course for the Internet of Things and focuses on the programming required to capture data from trusted devices and to get the data to the cloud platform where it can be exploited by the many services available on a typical cloud platform.

I hope that the course will fuel your imagination for what is possible with a simple prototyping environment, powerful analytics, and cloud technology at your fingertips. There is an incredible potential just waiting to be realized by the combination of a few sensors, some programmable devices and the skills of an "IoT developer."