A survey of 537 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers members conducted by Northeastern University-Silicon Valley found that communication is considered to be the most important skill for those dealing with the Internet of Things, outpacing the need for knowledge and collaboration, Campus Technology reports.
40% of the survey’s respondents also said they preferred classroom learning over online learning (27%), both of which beat out on-the-job training or technical bootcamps — and 54% of respondents said they were most interested in acquiring skills in design and integration, though data communications and cloud management were also popular.
Northeastern University-Silicon Valley CEO and Regional Dean P.K. Agarwal said the survey results underscored the need for human interaction and person-to-person skills when it comes to hiring professionals to work with the Internet of Things, and suggested individuals should consider seeking out career retraining to uncover new opportunities.
The report further hammers home the value of and demand for “soft skills” alongside the technical skills necessary for many high-demand fields, like those dealing with connected technology. That argument has been a driving force for many institutional leaders in defending the value of a liberal arts education in the era of STEM.
The need for communication is also a valuable skill for administrators to seek out in educators and department chairs involved in teaching complex STEM topics and disciplines. In a recent Education Dive interview, a representative involved in a report on preparing advanced manufacturing curricula noted that in crafting the analysis, it was important to find educators who were not only adept in the technology, but also had skills in making advanced manufacturing tech and processes “translatable” to higher ed institutions. It is vital to keep this balance between administrators and educators generally in order to prevent technically esoteric disciplines from feeling “siloed” from campus life and administration due to their complexity.
The interest in face-to-face learning should also encourage colleges and universities considering new approaches to professional learning micro-credentials and other training models, as well as those wanting to incorporate more physical classroom instruction into primarily online programs. There are a variety of approaches that reports indicate benefits students as well as the institutions themselves, including creating relationships between students and mentors who are close to them regionally. In cases when in-person instruction is not possible, administrators should support ways in which educators can try to recreate the intellectual discussion and rigor that students in the classroom benefit from, including introducing blended learning platforms that encourage students to conduct their own dialogues and debates — even when an online class is not in session.
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