The Booming Tech Job-Conomy Happening in Central Ohio
Columbus is leading the pack of Middle American cities taking over the tech scene. “Unicorn” startups like CoverMyMeds and Root Insurance are disrupting age-old industry business models with technology. Abercrombie and Fitch, Wendy’s and Nationwide Insurance, all with headquarters in Columbus, are integrating technology into every aspect of the customer experience. The city of Columbus was even granted $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to become the nation’s model Smart City.
There’s never been a better time for tech careers in Columbus.
The Growth of Tech Jobs in Columbus
Columbus has created a climate where tech businesses thrive—and as businesses double down on Columbus, an influx of technology jobs follows.
According to labor market analytics firm Emsi, computer occupations locally have skyrocketed in the past 10 years—increasing by 38% in Franklin County. With an average of 2,995 job openings a year and median annual earnings of $87,395.66, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better job market than Columbus.
In fact, Columbus was named the Best City for Tech Workers by SmartAsset, a personal finance startup, based on five factors: the percentage of people employed in tech, the average salary for a tech worker, how the average tech salary compared to other fields, the unemployment rate and the overall cost of living.
Five of the Most In-Demand Tech Jobs in Columbus
If you’re a coder, developer, network specialist, data analyst or cybersecurity specialist, there’s a lot to be excited about in the Columbus
“job-conomy.” With the right education and experience, there’s no limit to where you can go.
Here are the jobs booming in Columbus right now – and how to set yourself up for success and apart from other job candidates.
Software Developers, Applications
Software developers are the creative brains of computer applications that allow people to do specific tasks—from banking to social media—across all of their devices.
Dr. Kuehnl adds, “With the growth of mobile technology, people want to have everything they need in the palm of their hand, opening the doors to vast opportunities for applications developers. It’s one of the biggest sources of growth for organizations.”
- Median Annual Salary: $101,347.00
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $155,526.37
- Job Growth in Central Ohio (2009-2019): 62%
- Hiring Trends in Columbus: On average 2,820 jobs are posted for software applications developers each month, with JPMorgan Chase, Oracle, Careworks, Anthem, American Express and Accenture posting the most jobs in the past year.
Want to get ahead? Once you have a competitive job market, specialization and sophistication become exceedingly important to employers. Getting a master’s degree in Computer Science or a related field shows your expertise and dedication to remaining at the forefront of technology.
Web developers design and build websites—from how they look to how they are operated and managed. Websites are the most universal presence of an organization, often acting as the face of the company to consumers.
“Companies set themselves apart by providing the best services in the most easily accessible way,” says Dr. Kuehnl. “There’s a distinct need to provide access to every consumer, which often starts with your web presence.”
- Median Annual Salary: $67,860.53
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $97,628.86
- Job Growth in Central Ohio (2009-2019): 56%
- Hiring Trends in Columbus: On average, 964 jobs are posted for web developers each month, with The Ohio State University, IBM, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Huntington and Oracle posting the most jobs in the past year.
Want to get ahead? Companies aren’t just looking for technical skills, they’re looking for developers with higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving abilities to lead teams and spur innovation—developing these skills is central to a master’s education.
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts, also known as cybersecurity specialists, plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks, systems and data. As the number and sophistication of cyber attacks increases, these professionals are becoming invaluable.
“So many cyber attacks are occurring that we’re almost becoming desensitized to them,” says Dr. Kuehnl. “The more people try to use technology to scam or take advantage of others, the more cybersecurity professionals will be in demand. The key to success in this profession is being able to find flaws or weak points in systems, because that’s what attackers will take advantage of, and subsequently, that’s where the career growth opportunities are for cyber professionals.”
- Median Annual Salary: $90,571.00
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $156,792.62
- Job Growth in Central Ohio (2009-2019): 114%
- Hiring Trends in Columbus: On average 460 jobs are posted for information security analysts each month, with JPMorgan Chase, Huntington, Cardinal Health, Oracle and Verizon posting the most jobs in the past year.
Want to get ahead? Find a Cybersecurity master’s degree program that teaches the ins-and-outs of database design, network systems, and testing and verification that will help you identify weaknesses that can be exploited by cyber attackers, as well as dedicated cybersecurity courses.
Operations Research Analysts
Operations research analysts, also called data analysts, use advanced mathematical and analytical practices to help businesses explore complex problems, identify solutions, and overall, make better decisions.
“Every company big and small who wants to get ahead will employ analysts who can take data and use it to inform decision making,” says Dr. Kuehnl. “Data and analytics will be the strategy, foundation and fabric of everything companies do moving forward.”
- Median Annual Salary: $78,891.46
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $120,085.07
- Job Growth in Central Ohio (2009-2019): 86%
- Hiring Trends in Columbus: On average 129 jobs are posted for operations research analysts each month, with Anthem, L Brands, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, JPMorgan Chase and Scotts Miracle-Gro posting the most jobs in the past year.
Want to get ahead? Pursue a master’s in data analytics to learn how to mine data and create algorithms and databases that can be turned into valuable business insights. Or, a master’s in business analytics might be a better fit if you want to use that information to create business strategies and influence vital decision making.
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Computer and information systems managers—commonly known as IT managers—plan, coordinate and direct computer-related activities, helping make crucial decisions about the systems used by an organization.
“A lot of network and systems challenges are being exacerbated by cloud computing,” says Dr. Kuehnl. “These roles are rapidly changing because of cloud services, making it critical to keep up with network advances. Even if you are already working in the industry, you may need additional education or certifications to advance.”
- Median Annual Salary: $133,250.66
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $241,421.34
- Job Growth in Central Ohio (2009-2019): 33%
- Hiring Trends in Columbus: On average 438 jobs are posted for computer and information systems managers each month, with Nationwide Insurance, PwC, Express, Anthem, JPMorgan Chase and Huntington posting the most jobs in the past year.
Want to get ahead? Getting a master’s degree in Information Technology is a great way to gain cutting-edge expertise while obtaining a credential that can open the door to advancement opportunities and salary increases.
Columbus Tech Jobs are Thriving — And That Won’t Change Any Time Soon
Technology isn’t something that will be isolated to any particular industry or career anymore. It permeates everything we do now and into the future.
As Columbus continues to grow and evolve, top tech talent will be crucial for businesses to get ahead. While tech jobs historically required less formal education and training, top companies are looking for professionals who can marry technical prowess with sharp interpersonal skills. To take advantage of this wave of new jobs and advance to senior and leadership roles, you’ll have to bridge the gap to help organizations move forward.
This article is one installment of the Jobs & Education Outlook series, presented with paid support by Franklin University.
Franklin University is an accredited and nonprofit college in Columbus that has been dedicated to educating adults since 1902. The University offers a variety of career-focused online Information Technology degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. For more information, visit franklin.edu.