Lisa Katz| Crain’s Detroit Blog

Like many national communities, Southeast Michigan has high demand for information technology talent and not enough people to fill that demand. One of the fastest growing markets, there were more than 13,000 IT jobs posted in the region in the first quarter of 2014, representing 10 percent of total online job demand. The No. 1 in-demand IT occupation is software developer (applications), with more than 4,300 postings. This is followed by computer systems analyst (1,800 postings), computer user-support specialist (1,000 postings) and many other key occupations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012, the mean salary for a software developer (applications) exceeded $93,000 per year. In fact, the top 10 IT occupations in demand in the region pay reasonably solid wages, ranging from $50,000 to more than $93,000 annually. According to the postings, while many employers may prefer someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the field is open to many with less than a B.A. and, often, a high school diploma plus good experience.

Despite the relatively open criteria to work in some of the region’s hottest IT occupations, the number of workers actually pursuing this field is low. There were tens of thousands of postings in 2013, but just 4,500 students statewide graduated with any kind of formal credential (bachelor’s, associate’s degree or other post-secondary certification) in the field. This leaves employers in this rapidly growing employment field – which represents every industry imaginable – scrambling to find talent.

Roughly three years ago, a group of employers in Detroit formed a partnership to help address the IT talent shortage. They called the groundbreaking initiative, IT in the D, but have since evolved the program into ExperienceIT. The recrafted partnership, which historically has trained more than 70 workers in IT, includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE Energy, Fathead, GalaxE Solutions, Marketing Associates, Quicken Loans and Titlesource. Talent partners focused on training and placement include Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., Grand Circus and the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN).

Starting in mid-June, these IT partners will be offering an eight-week, no-cost training that will prepare candidates to pass the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer certification exam as a .NET developer, with entry-level skills as an SQL analyst/junior developer. (These are among the most in-demand programming languages in the region). Successful graduates of the ExperienceIT program will have an inside track on employment with some of the region’s most prominent IT companies. Do you have a colleague, friend, family member or other acquaintance who wants to get a leg up in a hot career? Applications are due May 30.

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