For those unfamiliar with the Internet of Things (IoT), the notion of everyday physical objects collaborating and exchanging information in an ongoing digital dialogue might seem like something out of science fiction.

But developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science have made this futuristic vision a reality – and a part of modern engineering.

Energy-efficient homes, smart cities and public utilities

The discreet chatter of interconnected machines now organises our energy-efficient homes, smart cities and public utilities – and those with knowledge of how to design, develop, engineer  and manage these IoT systems are finding that their skills are in growing demand.

Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet is moving to meet this rising demand by sponsoring a Level 9 MSc programme in Electronic and Computer Technology (IoT). 

The two-year part-time course, which is being developed and delivered by Dublin City University (DCU), is conducted mostly online and features one-to-one interaction with thought leaders in the IoT space. 

Learners will have the opportunity to network with peers, while the flexible choice of modules allows people to concentrate on areas that best suit their individual backgrounds and interests – whether that’s encryption, entrepreneurship for engineers, server-side processing or connected embedded systems.

The window for applications opens soon ahead of the January 2023 intake. 

Organisers are particularly interested in receiving applications from staff at companies based in the Republic of Ireland with emerging IoT teams, as well as engineers wishing to upskill and ICT professionals who have been assigned to IoT teams. 

The minimum entry requirement for standard entrants is a 2.2 in a Level 8 primary degree in computing/engineering, or an equivalent discipline, and learners employed within enterprise in the Republic of Ireland will be eligible for part-funding of their fees by Digital Skillnet. The subsidised cost is just €3,150 per year. 

Fergal Brennan

Fergal Brennan joined IoT digital transformation firm Taoglas just one year into the part-time master’s programme. As pleased as he is with the move, the hardware engineering manager is unsure whether it would have happened without the knowledge and sense of self-assurance he’d gleaned from the course material. 

'High degree of relevance'

“The course definitely acted as a catalyst for the move. In my previous job I was designing IoT projects all the time, but we weren’t an IoT-specific company," he said. "A lot of what we do at Taoglas is directly applicable to what the master’s is about,” he says, adding that he would recommend the programme to anybody with an interest in gaining an IoT qualification.

“It has a high degree of relevance. I work with connected embedded systems all the time and I don’t see any disconnect between what they are putting forward in the modules and practical IoT. I am definitely pleased I did the course. It’s been a good thing for me and I think it would be the same for anybody.”

Brennan’s advice to anybody wishing to join the programme is to stay organised, work hard and keep in contact with the lecturers to avoid veering off course.

“If I didn’t understand something or something was bothering me, I’d be on to them. You have to engage with the lecturers and every time I did, I got a good outcome,” he said.

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