IoT 101: Getting started with IoT development

A quick-start guide for IoT developers


Many articles and blogs about the Internet of Things, or IoT, start with their own definition of IoT and then spew stats and metrics about how IoT is growing at exponential rates. (You probably already know what is meant by IoT, but if you'd still like an introduction, watch this IBM Think Academy How It Works video.)

In this IoT 101 learning path, you'll get a broad overview of the concepts and skills that IoT developers need. It guides you through three developer guides for choosing hardware, choosing network technologies, and determining whether you need an IoT platform for your IoT projects. Finally, this IoT 101 learning path culminates in an amazing first IoT project — a home automation system that uses a Raspberry Pi, some sensors, wifi, and Node-RED, many of the basics for a simple IoT solution.


Discover the IoT concepts & skills you need

To be a successful IoT developer, you will need a diverse set of skills as well as a willingness to adapt to agile processes, platforms, and tools. In this article, you'll learn about the rapidly evolving technologies involved in developing IoT apps.

With the pace of IoT adoption rapidly increasing, and with the number of connected devices already in the billions, the demand for skilled developers who are able to deliver IoT solutions continues to rise.

Start your learning here by reading this blog post:


Choose the best IoT hardware

As you get started on developing your IoT project, you'll need to compare and contrast the off-the-shelf hardware options. You can use this hardware guide to determine which hardware to use when prototyping and developing IoT projects.

In the context of IoT, device ... is used to refer to individual hardware components including sensors and actuators, as well as to off-the-shelf boards like Raspberry Pi, and also to custom prototype and production units that are built from a number of constituent devices.

Learn about IoT device characteristics and IoT hardware requirements in this article:


Select the best IoT network technology

Now that you have chosen your "things," you need to connect them so that they can communicate with one another. You can use this developer guide to solve your IoT networking challenges by knowing which network technology is right for your IoT project.

We often describe networks as being built up from a stack of technologies, with technologies at the bottom of the stack, such as Bluetooth LE, relating to physically connecting devices, while technologies further up the stack, such as IPv6, relating to logical device addressing and routing of network traffic.

Learn about all the latest IoT network technologies in this article:


Learn why you might use an IoT Platform

Depending on your IoT project, you might need to consider adding in an IoT platform to your IoT solution. Not all IoT projects require an IoT platform, but you can use this developer guide to learn when to use one.

IoT platforms provide middleware to connect and manage hardware devices and the data that they collect with user-facing mobile and web applications. These IoT platforms are typically designed to establish secure communication between devices, apps, and services.

Discover how you can get value quickly from your IoT solution in this article:


Get started developing an IoT solution

Now that you've learned the basics for developing IoT solutions, you're ready to put the concepts and skills into action. Build a smart doorbell with a Raspberry Pi, some sensors, a buzzer, Node-RED, and Apple Home Kit. Follow along in these video tutorials and learn how to connect sensors to a Raspberry Pi, set up and configure your Pi, and create the flows to have the sensors communicate with Apple Home Kit, building a simple home automation system.

Listen to Anna introduce this IoT project:

Are you ready to get your geek on? Use this video-based tutorial to develop your first IoT project:

Next steps

Ready to dig deeper? Dig into the IoT 201 learning path, where we'll explore IoT architecture, IoT developer kits, and you'll develop an IoT health app. Also, explore some of the content in the related topics, to keep learning more about IoT.

Downloadable resources

Related topics


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Zone=Internet of Things
ArticleTitle=IoT 101: Getting started with IoT development