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IT jobs surge in upper Midwest, Rockies, led by Java

IT jobs are being filled at the highest rate away from some of the traditional technology hotspots -- including many Midwestern states.

IT pros looking for a new job may want to follow Horace Greeley's famous advice: "Go West, young man."

According to latest employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New York-based technology jobs website, Dice, IT professional jobs are growing the fastest in Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Michigan and California.

California added 8,300 IT jobs in the year leading up to June versus 2,900 jobs added during the same time in Minnesota. The difference is the size of the job markets, since California has hundreds of thousands of IT jobs, said Shravan Goli, president of Dice. Minnesota's growth as a function of the IT jobs market as a whole, at 8.36%, far outpaced California at 3.04%.

The specific job openings are largely aligned with the companies that are located in each state.

"The demand is driven by local industries," Goli said.

In Minnesota, for example, many of the openings are at tech startups, cloud computing providers and Target Corp., which has its headquarters in Minneapolis.

Current openings include a senior project manager at Nexient, a tech services provider in Minneapolis, a Java technical enterprise integration engineer at Best Buy in Richfield, Minn., and a software engineer at Thomson Reuters Corp. in Eagan, Minn.

IT pay has also jumped, with an average annual salary of $90,276 -- up 14.1% since 2008.

Utah is also one of the fastest growing areas, according to Dice.

There has recently been legislation aimed at increasing the tech workforce through the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. has its second largest office in the U.S. and fourth largest in the world in the state capital, Salt Lake City, according to the Deseret News, which last month included a column that dubbed Salt Lake City the "Wall Street of the West."

InMoment, Inc., based in Salt Lake City, has a platform that allows companies to listen and engage with its customers, and was one of the 50 fastest growing companies in the state last year. The company is advertising eight job openings, and three of them -- including a software support specialist and software engineer/back-end developer -- have been posted this summer.

No. 3 Nebraska's IT job openings are driven by the telecommunications and financial services industries, plus government contractors, Goli said.

"Every company is turning to technology when providing their products and services," Goli said.

Every company is turning to technology when providing their products and services.
Shravan Golipresident at Dice

While the data is only broken down by state, Goli said it is likely more representative of the metro areas in each state.

After Michigan, the other areas with significant IT job growth are on the east coast, with Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland ranked four to eight.

In each state, many of the job openings are where IT pros hear buzzwords -- cybersecurity, big data, mobile and DevOps.

But the No. 1 need often falls below the radar -- Java programmers. It remains the most listed job on Dice across a broad range of industries.

"It is in fairly high demand, but nobody talks about it," Goli said.

Some of the Java-related openings are in some of the hottest hiring areas of the U.S., including a software engineering manager with Java experience that's wanted by Amazon Inc. in Boston, a Java Web applications developer that's sought by UnitedHealth Group Inc. in Minnesota and a mid-level software tester that's desired by Grumman Corp. in Ogden, Utah.

Some IT pros may also overlook the value that their skills may have in a slightly different position.

"If you want to make more money and be in more demand, look at interrelated technologies that have evolved," Goli said.

Robert Gates covers data centers, data center strategies, server technologies, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure and open source operating systems for SearchDataCenter. Follow him on Twitter @RBGatesTT or Email him at [email protected].

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