State tech report highlights strong demand for computer skills

Keywords Technology / TechPoint

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.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.