The nation’s economy may be trying to recover from recession and decrease unemployment, but Utah is dealing with a different problem: it doesn’t have enough talent in the technology sector to fill available job openings.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by Innovate + Educate, 10,870 developer positions, 5,660 computer user support specialist positions and 2,860 computer systems administrator positions need to be filled in the state of Utah.
Michael Sullivan, Communications Director of the Utah Governor’s office for Economic Development, explained that Utah has become “the Silicon Valley, with better skiing.” He went on to explain that in 2014, “Utah exceeded Silicon Valley in value per deal in venture capitol.”
Having an overabundance of jobs is a good problem to have, especially for graduating college students. “We have worked very hard in creating high-end, family sustaining jobs,” Sullivan said. “As we have opened up these jobs, it has also opened up lower, entry level positions. As we add developers, we add programmers. As we add programmers, we need support jobs for these people.”
Utah leads the nation in job growth and it’s unemployment rate is near the bottom.
“For the past four months, Utah has led the nation in job growth opportunities with a job growth rate of 4.5 percent, double the national job growth rate,” Sullivan said. “Utah lies within the 3.5-3.7 percent unemployment rate range, which is half the national average and the third-lowest in the nation.”
BYU has been doing its part to fill the Utah job demand. According to the Marriott School of Management, over 94 percent of information systems students have accepted job offers within three months of graduation. “We have seen that recruiters have been really happy with BYU students,” said McKenna Hill, a student employee at the Business Career Center at the Marriott School of Business. “Recruiters have been attracted to the drive, integrity, and experience of our graduates.”
BYU IT professor Barry Lunt affirmed these statistics.
“Every IT student that is looking for a job will find a job,” Lunt said. “Many of them receive multiple offers.”
Lunt went on to explain that a rise in white collar crime has made cyber security more important, increasing the industry’s demand for computer science professionals.
“Securing your digital assets has been a growing concern. $105,000 has been a common starting salary for many of our students in the security industry.”