Adapt-your-ability: Part II: Resources for industrial ‘Boy Scouts’

Sept. 12, 2016

The message of this blog post is simple. Like the Boy Scouts motto, I am asking you to ‘Be Prepared’ for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). To support your IIoT preparation and Super-Skill journey I have compiled a list of educational resources.

In the previous post introduced the importance of the ‘adaptability mindset’, defined as the willingness and readiness to adjust to any situation at any time. For me, willingness is acknowledging the potential for change and being mentally prepared to adjust. Readiness is where we take action and start the adjustment process.

Even though a clear vision of Industry 4.0 is unseen, the process of preparation is priceless. Prepare today, or be forced to catch up tomorrow!

I acknowledge that there will be shifts in industrial jobs and skill requirements, directly and indirectly influenced by technology born from the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. As a personal example, to prepare for these shifts I am learning about the implications of greater automation, big-data, 3-D printing, machine communication and learning, etc.In the process I am sharing what I learn in the hopes of supporting you to be prepared too. I believe that the process of always being prepared, being adaptable, is the most important skill of all, the Super-Skill.

I have a simple three-part approach for preparation:

  1. Understand the fundamentals of Industry 4.0 /IIoT
  2. Identify the implications for you
  3. Develop / strengthen specific capability

1.    Understand the fundamentals of Industry 4.0 / IIoT

YouTube videos

The Industrial Internet of Things: World Economic Forum

Industry 4.0: Integrated Industry Reaches Next Level


What is the Industrial Internet

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Benefits, Examples

WEF Future of Jobs

How emerging tech will both eliminate and create jobs

Top 10 skills that will be in demand by all employers in 2020

The Industrial IoT: 56 Start-ups Transforming Factory Floors, Oil Fields, and Supply Chains

Driving Unconventional Growth through the Industrial Internet of Things


Industrial Internet Consortium

Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog

Super-Skill Me: The Thriver's Guide to the Next Industrial Revolution

Industry IoT/Industrie 4.0 Viewpoint – ARC Advisory Group

Other suggestions:

Attend an IIoT conference…there are already many conferences available

You may also wish to engage in the original ‘social media’, aka ‘talking’. Obvious, but often overlooked these days.

2.    Identify the implications for you

This is a very personal step. Put some time and energy into thinking about how you may be affected; positively and negatively. Once you’ve got a clear enough vision of the implications you can begin to adapt and prepare by qualifying yourself as an indispensable asset to your company.

3.    Develop / strengthen specific capability

Because the knowledge and skill implications are not fully known there aren’t many formal learning resources yet available; however, that will soon change as the future comes into focus. I have compiled the list of several resources you may wish to keep on your radar.Although we all have different jobs, areas of expertise, challenges and opportunities, these resources should provide you with valuable insight and education.

MOOCs – Massive open online courses:

Have you ever dreamed of how great it would be to have Harvard University, or any other great University, on your resume? I certainly have! Well, now that dream is a reality through MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs provide unprecedented access to the best University courses in the world. The hallowed grounds of Ivy League academia are now only a mouse click away. Coursera, Audacity and edX, and the like, provide online access to University courses for a fraction of the cost of fully-enrolled tuition.

I have used Coursera and loved it. I was able to participate in learning sessions, take homework, pass tests and meet deadlines, at my convenience, and in the comfort of my home. 

Below are some courses and topics worth looking into.


Machine Learning
Data Science
3-D Printing
Introduction to the Internet of Things (disclaimer…not IIoT, only IoT)
Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things (disclaimer…not IIoT, only IoT)


Learning from Data – Machine Learning
Cyber-Physical Systems


Data Science

Kahn Academy

Kahn Academy is more of a general education resource, but it’s one of my favorite.  I love their mission, to provide a free world class education to anyone, anywhere. Although the content is mainly targeted at supporting the K-12 educational path,I find it very useful for refresher and introductory learning. I don’t claim to be smarter than a 5th grader  Kahn Academy has a ton of easy to understand videos on topics such as: Math, Science, Engineering, Finance, Economics, and Computing.  Check it out.

Training companies

The fast pace at which technology, processes, knowledge, and skills are evolving means that the companies best positioned to serve your needs are the global training companies with deep pockets and extensive resources, as are the very niche training providers focused on specific areas of expertise. I don’t see these organizations offering specific courses yet, but you may consider keeping in touch with the course catalogs from:

Community/Technical Colleges

  • None of my searches uncovered formal curriculum offered by Community or Technical Colleges; however, these institutions will surely offer affordable and convenient training in the coming years. Check in with our local institutions.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but you should consider these sources when you’re conducting your search.Please share any importantlearning sources you find in the comments section below.

As the shelf life of skills continues to shrink, adaptability becomes more and more vital. And although we don’t clearly know what the future holds,it’s time we all listened to the Boy Scouts. It’s time to be prepared.

Thanks for investing your time in becoming Super-Skilled. Join the conversation and share your experiences, thoughts and ideas below. 

What other educational resources do recommend?

What can you share about your efforts to prepare for Industry 4.0 / IIoT?

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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