Manufacturing Boom is Coming, But are IT Professionals Ready?

By | Sep 13, 2012

With the help of technology, factory workers and their industry are getting a whole new look. Long gone are the low-skilled, low-educated, overworked employees. This industry is demanding a more skilled and tech savvy workforce. CNN reported that there is a jobs boom occurring within this industry.

More and more jobs that went overseas are coming back. Since 2005, the manufacturing workforce has increased by 38 percent and is still growing. Salaries are starting at $45,000 and above; In states like Ohio and Michigan where the demand is highest, that salary is pretty good for a job that only requires a few months of training and schooling.

The current top openings have been for machinists, tool-and-die makers, and computer-aided machine operators--all require some technology skills. However, the next top job opening that this industry may expect to see is for IT professionals. More and more manufacturing companies are looking at ways to combine production and performance management as well as data to create bi-directional communication between plant floors and business enterprise. To do all that, companies need solid software and good IT professionals. But, are current IT professionals ready to work in this industry?

Currently, many IT professionals leave college and take employment in healthcare, education, marketing, government, and law, where they work side by side with other employees with similar college educations. With manufacturing requiring a more skilled workforce than a decade ago, many IT professionals may start to consider work within this industry as well. Since most manufacturing companies are large companies, they may also look to outsource IT needs to smaller midsize companies. IT professionals have been outsourced to lawyers and doctors, ane they may need to be prepared to be outsourced to manufacturers now.

IT professionals who do IT work for a variety of companies may need to start attending training to better prepare for working within the manufacturing sector. Joining LinkedIn and other social networking groups is another way IT professionals can prepare themselves for this new endeavor. Midsize IT professionals might also see more job opportunities as more and more industries find ways to utilize the variety of skills that IT professionals have. For IT people who want to live in more rural and less populated states, jobs might actually start appearing in these areas. Although the training and transitioning may be time consuming, the payoff in the end may be worth it for many midsize IT professionals who are ready for a change.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

IBM Solution CSP

A partnership with IBM will provide the solid, proven business benefits - from marketing to sales to technical support - that you can rely on to grow with confidence.

Learn More »