peshkova - Fotolia

News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

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

Next Steps

Cloud computing jobs you should consider

A complete guide to building your cloud career

Cloud shakes up the IT job market

Dig Deeper on Data Center jobs and staffing and professional development

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Where do you expect IT job market growth to surge next in the U.S.?
Truthfully, I expect the job markets to pick up and surge in areas where the cost of living is not so prohibitive, but the technical population is on the increase. San Francisco and Silicon Valley are getting way too expensive to live in, so I would not be at all surprised to see tech centers start to flourish in areas like Salt Lake City, Boise, Topeka, or St. Louis. The irony is the fact that we have created this infrastructure that encourages the ability to work anywhere with anyone at any time, and yet we still insist on hiving people in concentrated cities.
Instead of outsourcing overseas, I see more mid-level cities becoming an area of focus, The talent pool would be there and the moderate to lower cost of living would keep salaries to a manageable level.
Now that we can work from almost anywhere (if only management will let us), IT will likely grow in all the small and affordable places that have a bit of art and good pizza.... Upstate New York's tech base has lots of nearby education. North and South of Boston's west side is ideal for all the same reason. Chicago's western suburbs are likely, too and I wouldn't be surprised to see growth around the University of Illinois' Urbana campus and its growing twin cities.
What are some of the jobs that you see are best suited for growth in "the small and affordable places that have a bit of art and good pizza"?
Being from North Carolina myself, I would hope that the next surge is in this area.  The Charlotte, NC area is already seeing a massive increase in technology jobs.

Another thought I would have is on the rise of DATA - everywhere we turn, data is becoming king.  And in that sense, I know of a lot of companies that are either having data centers or backup data centers in Texas locations.  This could see a rise in technology jobs related to this as data becomes more critical to organizations.

Agree with the others that the cost of living could drive organizations to move to new locations.  Maybe the East Coast USA will become the next area of surge.