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Minnesota: Cold Weather, Hot IT Climate

Minnesota is great, but it has its challenges. The winters, for example. But not everything is frozen in this state. The IT climate is hotter than where we wish we’d be vacationing right now!

Minnesota has a unique job market. It’s one of the few places where a standard icebreaker question is, “Where did you go to high school?”

Interviewers feel relatively safe asking this because most of the people who work in Minnesota grew up in Minnesota. And very few people move to Minnesota from the East or West coast, especially during the winter.

That means hiring managers are usually choosing from a pool of Minnesota candidates. And when hiring managers are looking for IT talent, it can be difficult due to the limited number of IT professionals.

Minnesota has a great business climate:

  • We have 19 Fortune 500 companies, the 2nd most Fortune 500 companies per capita in the nation.
  • We are home to seven companies on Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list, including Cargill, #1 on that list.
  • We are also home to 94 of Inc. Magazine’s 2012 list of 5000 fast-growing private companies.
  • We are in the top 10 compared to other states in almost every index for the standard of living.
  • Heck, we are ranked the #1 state in the nation, with 91% of its residents with a high school diploma, and the Twins Cities being the fourth most educated large city in America, with 38% of its residents holding a Bachelor’s degree.

It would make sense then that Minnesota probably has enough IT talent, but that’s just not the case. Despite Minnesota having the fifth largest system of two- and four-year colleges in the country, only 4.5% of Minnesotans graduate with a computer, math or statistics degree, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. In fact, rated Minnesota #15 in the shortage of computer science graduates compared to a state’s technology job opportunities in its 2011 report, America’s Tech Talent Crunch.

This issue is not likely to go away. Forbes listed its Top 10 hottest jobs for 2013, and IT dominated the list of jobs in most demand nationally.

  1. Software Developers
  2. Market Research Analysts
  3. Systems Analysts
  4. Systems Administrators

If you’re an IT hiring manager in Minnesota, remember that you work in a great state. Also, remember that you are going to have to be very creative in hiring and retaining IT talent!

Content provided by Joe Janasz