State tech report highlights strong demand for computer skills

Dan Human
March 14, 2014
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Computer-related employment in Indiana grew six times faster than state's overall job market in the five years after the recession hit. And, surprisingly, most of the companies making big hires weren’t technology firms.

The hodge-podge of employers hiring workers—universities, auto manufacturers, insurance, financial firms—shows that the state needs to rethink how it focuses its workforce development efforts to tailor to the specific needs of each of these industries, according to the state’s leading advocate for technology businesses.

“You need a multipronged strategy,” said Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, which has released a study of employment trends in computer-related fields in Indiana.

“This data will enable us to facilitate more dialogue," Langellier said. "It’s going to require a combination of recruitment and repatriation efforts. It’s going to require training as well.”

TechPoint revealed its findings Friday morning at IBJ's Technology Power Breakfast event at the downtown Marriott. The study is intended to help guide the state's economic development strategies and efforts to attract more high-skilled, high-paying jobs.

The study identified more than 30 careers that researchers considered “computer-related”—software developers, hardware engineers, graphic designers, systems analysts, and database administrators, among others.

From 2009 to 2012, computer-related employment in Indiana grew 5.4 percent, from 57,750 jobs to 61,050. Almost half of those jobs—48 percent—were located in the Indianapolis-Carmel metropolitan statistical area.

Over that same five-year period, overall employment in Indiana grew only 0.9 percent, from 2.79 million jobs to 2.81 million.

Computer-related employment in Indianapolis over that period grew at an even greater rate than in the state overall. The number of jobs rose from 27,100 to 29,230, or 7.3 percent. That was a bit higher than the national growth rate in computer-related jobs of 6.4 percent.

The study also looked at postings for computer-related jobs in both Indiana and specifically in the Indianapolis-Carmel metro area. For example, in 2013, there were 18,258 postings in Indiana, 8,937 of which were for Indianapolis-Carmel.

Langellier noted many of the employers hiring computer workers in 2013 would not be considered technology companies at heart. Rather, they were businesses that simply used technology in a number of ways.

Indiana University had the most computer-related job postings, with 365. The next highest were Best Buy, 224; Indiana University Northwest, 223; Interactive Intelligence, 164; Cummins Inc., 125; Purdue University, 99; ITT Educational Services, 90; Ascension Health, 88; WellPoint Inc., 84; and CNO Financial Group, 82.

Only one of the top-10 hiring companies in 2013, Interactive Intelligence Inc., was a software firm.

A vast majority of the jobs posted required at least a bachelor's degree. the study found. The occupation with the most postings was "software developers, applications," which boasted a median salary of $77,700.

These findings establish technology as a sector positioned to be at the forefront of Indiana's transition to a knowledge-based economy," the study's conclusion posited. "Computer-related occupations overwhelmingly require a college education with at least a bachelor's degree and pay more than two times the median salary of all occupations both statewide and in the Indianapolis-Carmel [area]."

A follow-up study, set to come out in late spring or summer, will use results of a 26-company survey to look deeper into their individual needs, Langellier said.


  • Data says different, computer careers great
    Chris, you might be confusing software developers with certain other computer-connected categories. People who code -- the builders -- are in HIGH DEMAND and highly compensated.
  • A career in computers is no career
    As a long time computer software developer, With one exception, I would avoid a career in computer programming like the plague. It's a very low prestige job which is easily outsourced. As a computer programmer you will likely report to someone who has no clue about how to program computers. You will need to learn a new computer language every 3 or 4 years to stay relevant. There is no knowledge capital in a computer career. Whatever you learned 10 years ago is virtually irrelevant today. Here's the exception to the previous advice, if you are entrepreneurial and a bit lucky you might be able to start some type of software company and have a go at it... but, for the vast majority of people I would avoid a computer career.
    • IT Candidates
      If a student has a strong math and science background...IT is an excellent direction. Standardized tests can show the strength. The type of person who is interested in Engineering fields is similar. Computer Science is a great major that gives someone a future in any business! There always will be additional training for the specific software/hardware that a company uses. There are also companies who don't look for IT experience (job or college major). These companies train the person for their systems.
    • ISTEP
      Does the ISTEP develop a student's aptitude for Computer Science?

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    1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

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