8 IT Professional Skills Needed to Be Part of the Smart City Revolution

What are the IT professional skills needed to play a major role in developing smart cities in the upcoming years? Read on! 

Smart cities are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide as they provide citizens with a more efficient, technologically advanced way of life. Building them requires extensive planning, time, and labor, requiring various industry leaders, policymakers, government agencies, and tech experts to work together. 

A 2021 report called “The Impact of Technology in 2022 and Beyond: an IEEE Global Study” found that technology leaders cited manufacturing, financial services, health care, and energy as the main sectors that will be impacted by tech in the coming years. Many respondents also agreed that integrating smart building technologies is a top priority for their companies.

A smart city relies on advanced technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, machine learning (ML), and smart cameras. These are the cities of the future, but only if there are enough skilled IT professionals to fill necessary job roles. 

Learn more about the skills IT professionals need if they want to play a major role in developing smart cities in the upcoming years. 

1. Analytical

Virtually every role in IT requires analytical skills, whether analyzing large datasets or determining which vendor will meet the city’s needs. Those who pursue a career in IT are often inherently analytical but can also spend time fine-tuning that skill.

The ability to analyze will give IT pros a major edge in the labor market when it comes to hiring for smart city development and operations. Identifying, diagnosing and fixing issues with technology in a smart city will be essential to its smooth running.

2. Project Management and Organization

Those working behind the scenes in a smart city, namely the IT department, must be organized and capable of managing multiple tasks and projects simultaneously. 

It can be challenging to stay on top of several assignments, manage time well, meet deadlines and achieve high productivity levels. These skills could help someone with an IT background land a job in smart city development, planning and implementation.

3. Exceptional Communication

The ability to communicate in today’s data- and tech-driven world is vital. 

How can groups come together to develop a smart city with next-generation technology if they fail to communicate effectively? Written and verbal communication are two essential skills IT professionals should focus on developing. 

4. Flexibility

Millions of people began working from home during the pandemic, causing a seismic shift in the business world. The remote work trend is here to stay, meaning employees across all industries should be flexible with their job arrangements. 

Employees in certain IT roles may be able to work remotely full or part-time, whereas others might have to appear in person for the job. Either way, professionals should try to be as flexible as possible regarding the location from which they work.

5. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

There’s no denying that building a smart city will come with its fair share of challenges and obstacles. If taking on these large-scale projects were easy, there would be more smart cities globally. 

Smart city leaders will need IT professionals with critical thinking and superb problem-solving skills. This will ensure the city stays on track in its development and its technologies function properly. 

6. Technical Knowledge

This skill is quite obvious, but IT professionals need to have strong knowledge in most topics under the IT umbrella. Here are some things these workers should understand:

  • Mathematics and science
  • AI and ML
  • IoT
  • Data science and programming
  • Robotics
  • Engineering 
  • Computer vision (CV)

Smart cities also incorporate energy-efficient, green, and renewable technologies, so it could be helpful to have knowledge in those areas as well. Technical understanding is acquired through secondary education, so IT professionals may want to consider earning a STEM degree in a specialized field. 

Research suggests that around 22% of MBA programs in higher education institutions have a STEM designation. These students improve their STEM knowledge and business acumen, which can boost their marketability as potential employees.

7. Ability to Collaborate

Every employee, no matter the industry or company, should be able to work with others in various settings. Smart cities are built by multiple groups of professionals, not just one person.

They must work together to solve problems, implement solutions and help the city reach its fullest potential. Collaboration will be a crucial ingredient in the proliferation of smart cities, illustrating why IT experts should focus on improving their ability to work on a team.

8. An Innovative Attitude

Smart cities leverage cutting-edge technologies to operate, meaning the employees maintaining them should also have an innovative attitude and mindset. 

Employees who always ask questions, want to use their creativity, and are passionate about new and emerging technologies would greatly contribute to smart city development. Ultimately, this attitude should be the fuel that lights the fire under an IT professional if they want to work in a smart city. 

High Demand for Skilled IT Professionals in Smart City Development

IT professionals will likely be in high demand because someone needs to know the inner workings of smart city technologies. Some of these IT-related positions may not even exist yet. Current students or young professionals can spend time developing the skills on this list if they’re interested in supporting the creation of future cities.