Shawn Wright| Crain’s Talent Report

When it comes to innovations in information technology, every industry is impacted. Software applications in vehicles, remote access to medical records in health care, advancements made in manufacturing – all will create IT jobs.

The omnipresent reach into the business population makes IT one of the fastest growing industries to be in, along with having one of the lowest unemployment rates among U.S. job sectors.

During the third quarter of last year, the average national unemployment rate for tech professionals was 3.9 percent, nearly half of the total average of 7.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between 2008 and 2018, Michigan’s IT sector is expected to grow by 13.7 percent, more than twice as fast as the state’s total job expansion (5.6 percent), according to the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

At the end of last year, there were 14,200 job postings, according to data from the Workforce Intelligence Network.

The growing number of IT jobs also means plenty of room for ideas and innovation to continue.

One of the next IT revolutions on the horizon is connectivity, said Gregg Garrett, founder and CEO of CGS Advisors LLC.

For example, the automotive industry has been working very hard to connect our automobiles to our phones. The integration of smartphones and cars are being used to help make vehicles safer, along with using in-vehicle diagnostics to both help the driver and to send important vehicle information back to the manufacturer.

“Right now, we’re at the part of the trend where the majority of things that are out there are not connected,” Garrett said. “And over the coming months, years and decades, things will get more and more connected.”

Another innovation that will continue to gain traction is something that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Cloud-based platforms have grown in popularity to allow for applications, services or resources to be made available to users on demand through the Internet.

“There’s still a lot of movement toward shared resources, or what has been labeled in the last 18-24 months as the cloud,” Garrett said. “That’s still a big thing for enterprise IT people.”

Ryan Hoyle, vice president of business development and talent acquisition at GalaxE Solutions, said the IT innovation answer doesn’t lie in one technology – and that’s the beauty of it. Careers for those who want to become software engineers, developers, data administrators, project managers or business analysts will continue to spur IT innovation.

“The sky’s the limit, and that’s the cool part about being in an industry like IT,” Hoyle said. “Years ago, ‘Star Trek’ was innovative. A lot of that stuff we have today. Whatever the imagination can come up with, this industry’s going to find a way to make it happen.”

Both Hoyle and Garrett agreed that security and cybersecurity specialists will continue to grow and help protect the current and new IT innovations.

Smarter systems and more trusted systems are going to be in need, Garrett said.

He also expects positive results from investing in new IT entrepreneurs and a larger overall understanding the connected world and enterprise innovation. But he said there also needs to be a better emphasis to help those businesses that have been around.

“There is certainly a lot of good work being done to help the new companies start, and that’s great,” Garrett said. “I spend a lot of time on the IT side. But on the innovation side, for Michigan to make that mean something in this state, the current companies, the ones that have the tax base, also need to reinvent.

“That’s a very unique skill, one that isn’t trained enough in schools today.”

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