by Rachel Vilsack

Some professions, like information technology, are employed in every industry sector to one degree or another. With nearly 80,700 people working in computer-related professions, Minnesota ranked fourth in the Midwest and 17th among states nationwide that employed such workers in 2010. These professionals fuel Minnesota’s high-tech industries, from hardware and software manufacturing, IT services, network communications, and all the IT-intensive sectors. Recent survey results suggest that employers are continuing to hire computer professionals, a welcome sign after this lengthy economic downturn.


After the “dot com” bubble in the late 1990s, hiring for IT professionals has fluctuated along with the state of the economy. Job vacancies in computer and math-related occupations, as tracked by Minnesota’s Labor Market Information Office, identified 2,330 job openings during the fourth quarter of 2011, a 44 percent growth in the number of openings compared to one year ago. Survey findings also show strong demand for some IT professionals in Minnesota. Computer systems analysts and software developers displayed the largest numbers of job openings.


Demand is not limited to just the short term. Statewide employment projections through 2019 show strong growth in computer-related occupations. In fact, some of the fastest growing occupations in Minnesota between 2009 and 2019 will be computer-related. While growth is projected to be strong, the education and skills needed for this future workforce may change as technology continues to advance, particularly as it relates to new applications. 


To keep up-to-date with changing trends, Minnesota IT Workforce Commons is a new resource for educators, employers, and individuals in or preparing for careers in information technology. Check out informative articles for IT professionals, a list of professional IT organizations and social media communities, or join the conversation.