Even just a few short years ago, the Internet of Things was far the from burgeoning technology network that it is today. Although its basis was first established more than a decade ago, the IoT grew quickly in recent years, and this trend is poised to continue.

According to Gartner research, the IoT will sustain its outward expansion, increasing to reach an estimated 26 billion units - excluding smartphones, tablets and PCs - by 2020. This growth will account for a roughly 30-fold increase from 2009, when the IoT boasted only 0.9 billion units.

An increase in the IoT's size will impact a number of organizations, particularly in the technology industry. Gartner predicted that the IoT's expansion will result in $300 billion in generated revenue for product and service vendors, as well as $1.9 trillion in global value-add sales.

Peter Middleton, Gartner research director, noted that the IoT's growth will considerably outpace that of the mobile market, as the number of smartphones, tablets and PC units will only reach 7.3 billion units during the same time period. The price of IoT components will also considerably fall, allowing connectivity to become a standard feature in many instances.

""The growth in IoT will far exceed that of other connected devices," Middleton said. "This opens up the possibility of connecting just about anything, from the very simple to the very complex, to offer remote control, monitoring and sensing."

As the IoT continues to grow, it will create a range of opportunities, especially for application developers looking to create the programs that will enable the mobile abilities of the network's appliances and items. In fact, Middleton noted that many of these potential connectivity abilities haven't been established and will emerge as the IoT develops.

"The fact is, that today, many categories of connected things in 2020 don't yet exist," Middleton said. "As product designers dream up ways to exploit the inherent connectivity that will be offered in intelligent products, we expect the variety of devices to explode."

A myriad of employment and development opportunities

A number of experts echo Middleton's predictions for IoT opportunities, including EcoFactor co-founder Scott Hublou, who told Today's Engineer that nearly every industry will leverage the power of connected appliances. This will greatly vary the type of projects that developers work on and allow them to utilize their skill set in a variety of environments.

"This drives tremendous career opportunities not only for cybersecurity professionals but for engineers, coders, and architects who understand the potential risks and who can collaborate with others in the design of systems that not only deliver benefits but do so in a responsible manner considering threats to personal information protection and the compromise of systems," said ISACA acting CEO Ron Hale.

However, in order for app creators to jump into this arena of development, they will need a considerable knowledge base of a range of different component suites, including HTML5 form. This language offers cross-platform functionality, something that is bound to be a significant asset to the IoT. Instead of establishing new code for each and every device and operating system, a single HTML5 application can be leveraged across a range of platforms. This translates into a greater number of user abilities, an important factor leading to the projected growth of the IoT.

Jennifer Waldo, GE Software global head of human resources, noted that the IoT will provide special opportunities within a business setting, allowing companies to better provide for market demands. Again, however, the proper development skill​ set is needed.

"If you know the equipment and you know how it works and operates, you can provide extra value to customers with software," Waldo said.