Cities are becoming more populated and beginning to undergo digital transformations in order to innovate and move toward becoming a smart city. Building the infrastructure needed for a smart city is resulting in a demand for new job roles with new skill sets.

The world is undergoing staggering urbanization, at the rate of 10,000 people per hour. By 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population will live in cities, according to a report from Cisco Systems.

This rapid urbanization is leading to challenges unlike those cities have faced before. Urban crowding is resulting in more traffic congestion, stressed infrastructure, sustainability challenges, increased crime, fewer resources to go around and pressure on educational institutions.

Cities will need to solve these problems to thrive in the future, said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, vice president and general manager of services and chief knowledge officer for Cisco Systems, and chairman and CEO of the Internet of Things Talent Consortium, speaking during a live webinar on the topic. The talent consortium is a new non-profit organization that is a coalition of organizations including MIT, GE, Cisco, Rockwell, Pearson and the New York Academy of Sciences with a goal of enabling the workforce of the future to realize the value of IoT.

Smart cities are intelligent cities that are at the forefront of the next wave of IoT. The purpose of a smart city is to improve the lives of its citizens by combining technology with physical infrastructure and services to simplify the lives of residents. Creating this infrastructure will also create jobs.

“We have to figure out new ways to provide solutions to these cities,” Beliveau-Dunn said.

Parking nightmares in Paris

In the city of Paris, France, the average resident spends an estimated four years of their life looking for parking. New applications that allow citizens to log into the city app to find parking or even reserve and pay for that spot in advance, as well as reports on traffic management, are a key to easing traffic congestion in a smart city, Beliveau-Dunn said.

In a smart city, “every single sector has to get technology fluent and it has to get digital fluent … to drive long-term prosperity,” she said. This is an issue that both the public and private sector need to get behind, and to transform how they think and how to get people ready for the jobs to solve these problems.

“We need new types of skills, new types of talent to make this happen. The agenda of cities is to attract the best companies and the best talent. Innovation, the ability to drive new business, the ability to drive new ways to bridge public and private sectors … this is all part of the master plan for generating new smart cities,” she said.

Before a city can become a smart city, it needs to first build out infrastructure. And this takes people who have the job skills to make it happen, both building the infrastructure and leveraging the data that is collected from the technology added to a city.

Top IoT jobs of the future

Beliveau-Dunn said she expects these job roles to be in demand in the smart city of the future:

  1. Robotics specialist
  2. Cyber security analyst
  3. 3D print technician
  4. Virtual reality design
  5. Network programmer (SDN)
  6. Machine learning scientist
  7. Industrial network engineer
  8. Customer makers
  9. Neuro implant technician
  10. Professional triber
  11. Digital anthropologist
  12. Platform developer
  13. Business transformation practitioner
  14. Cloud architect
  15. Data scientist
  16. Urban innovation/Urban mechanics

Machine learning will be a core part of how people learn in the future, with virtual reality providing new ways for people learn.

“Without the right talent, without helping the talent transform to help do these things, we will never get there. It will take everyone to be part of this to make it work. It will take villages working together to create new types of communities,” she said.

The purpose of Cisco’s IoT talent consortium is to look at all of the challenges of IoT and line those up with the kind of skills that will be needed and work with key educational institutions to make this happen, she said.

“We are trying to create a new smarter approach to developing the workforce in the work that they do every day. I believe that the country or the city or the locations that get this right will be the ones that can excel the most,” Beliveau-Dunn said.