In an effort to build a strong US IoT workforce, Florida International University created the first IoT degree program in the United States.
Florida International University, a public university based in Miami, created the first IoT degree program in the United States. The IoT program combines disciplines from Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Though the news broke in 2017, the first classes began in the fall of 2018 and recently, when Professor Herman Watson wanted to provide students with additional hands-on experience using MQTT, he chose the Losant application enablement platform.
“Computer Science students learn about the cloud and dashboards, but have no contact with sensors and raw data,” Watson said.
“All of our EE [Electrical Engineering] and CpE [Computer Engineering] students have to do a Senior Design project which is required by ABET accreditation. [The] CpE focus here is toward Embedded Computing, so IoT is becoming an integral part of the careers,” said Professor Watson.
Losant’s application enablement platform was originally offered as a tool to help senior IoT students complete senior design projects, but after Professor Watson exposed a group he mentored to the Losant platform, he decided to incorporate it into one of his classes.
“This is a Senior Design group which worked out their own [project] with my mentorship the first setup for Losant. [It is called] Solutionaire - IoT Air Quality Monitor. That's when I decided to give all my students exposure to the Losant Cloud and MQTT material.”
Watson added a four-week exercise to his Programming Embedded Systems course using Losant and ESP8266 with DHT22 patterned after one of the early tutorials shared in the Losant blog. The blog describes in detail how to get started with MQTT using an ESP8266 NodeMCU and a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor. This semester is the first exposure for students in the course.
“Right now, this is the first and only experience within our department,” says Professor Watson.
Dashboard display for desktop or mobile
Bidirectional handshake with MQTT communications
Internal and external protection and protocols
“The total experience of data flow from the physical origin, the transducer, the microcontroller, logging into WiFi and Losant, the security keys, the bidirectional handshake with MQTT communications, and the dashboard display of data through any browser or cell phone, all in a single temperature and humidity example. Simple."
PROFESSOR HERMAN WATSON
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
To ensure students leave well-equipped to build and manage IoT solutions, cybersecurity and hardware design are also part of the curriculum for the IoT degree. The first person to graduate with an Internet of Things (IoT) degree from FIU was Alexandria Segovia in the spring of 2019. According to the FIU site, she went on to become a solutions engineer. “IoT degree enrollment is still growing.” Professor Watson shared. “It is increasing each semester.”
FIU is designated as a top-tier research institution and is based in Miami with a student body of nearly 54,000. It is among the top 10 largest universities in the nation.