Tech Talk: Information Technology Jobs | VideoJerame Novak | 12/7/2012
With the growth in North Dakota`s information technology sector, it`s no surprise that some people call the state, "The Silicon Prairie."
"There`s been an increase of more than 50 percent in IT occupations over the past decade and they are projecting another increase of 20 percent by 2020," said Information Technology Council of North Dakota Executive Director Deana Wiese.
According to the ITCND, employment growth in the state`s IT sector is double that of the rest of the nation.
"Yeah, especially the last couple of years, we`ve seen year over year growth of about 20 percent expansion of our staff," said Connecting Point Assistant General Manager Toby Schatz.
But that growth is not without some challenges.
"The biggest challenge is workforce and that`s not different from any of the other industries in North Dakota," Wiese said.
"Well, we`ve actually ran into finding quite a few challenges in finding people. It seems like a lot of the people in the Dickinson and Minot area are commuting to the oil fields and a lot of the people from the Bismarck area are commuting to Dickinson and Minot. So it`s actually been a struggle to find certified and qualified people to fill some of those roles," Schatz said.
Some groups are reaching out to students get them interested in IT.
"ITCND, five years ago, recognized that the workforce was going to be an issue into the future and the started the first ever IC career awareness program. Going into high schools to inform students, parents and educators about IT opportunities in North Dakota," Wiese said.
Opportunities in a field that, Wiese says, is a vital component in nearly every industry in the state.
According to ITCND, the IT sector contributes $1.6 billion to the state`s gross domestic product.