Lizandra Portal/Staff Writer
Starting Spring 2018, FIU will become the first school in the nation to offer a new undergraduate degree in the technological field called “Internet of Things.”
Although MIT is thought to offer a master’s certification program, FIU has taken on the difficult task of offering it as a bachelor’s degree, joining other countries such as China, Australia and Ireland that already offer it at the undergraduate level, according to associate professor Kemal Akkaya from the electrical and computer engineering department.
“Internet of things are just basically things that are connected to the internet,” said Ruben Munoz, a junior majoring in computer engineering. “They are usually small devices that have very limited capability, but there are so many of them that if you connect all of them together they have a large capability.”
Munoz is one of a group of research students who are collaborating with a power lab that has smart meters to measure how much power is being used in homes and qualify as an IOT device. One of the aspects of the research is cyber security, he said, which goes hand in hand with this IOT degree.
Students majoring in this degree will learn about the four pillars of IOT technologies: hardware, software, cyber security and wireless communications, according to Akkaya.
“[Students] will learn how to program these devices… what we call embedded programming at the lower level,” Akkaya said. “They will learn the cyber security aspects of these devices… all of this will be taught in different classes.”
Akkaya, along with other faculty members at the engineering campus, have been researching what companies need and have found an increasing interest in IOT devices
“We have seen that lots of companies are investing on these [IOT] devices,” Akkaya said. “There are already billions of devices already connected to [the internet], and there are projections [that] by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet.”
The school originally wasn’t sure if the degree should be an undergraduate or graduate degree, according to Akkaya, but it was decided that the degree would act as an alternative to the existing computer engineering or computer science undergraduate degrees, but without needing to take calculus.
Job opportunities for students were also a concern when the development of this degree was still in the works.
“There will be new opportunities that are specifically for IOT related technologies and we will be preparing students for these new jobs,” Akkaya said. “The key point here is that this degree will be bridging the gap between computer engineering and computer science by specifically focusing on IOT devices.”
At the moment, this degree is only available for undergraduates, he said, but there is a possibility that it could eventually be offered as an area of concentration.
“We have not created a concentration yet, but I think it will be possible to do a double major because they will be eligible to take those classes because they’ve passed all the math requirements and some of the courses are overlapping,” Akkaya said. “In the future, we may consider offering an IOT concentration, though.”
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Image retrieved from www.moneytoplist.com.