With tech jobs reported as best in nation, Central Wisconsin is ripe for talent

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 5:08 PM CST
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A new report by job ratings site Glassdoor shows most of the top jobs this year are in technology, which offers the best quality of life and pay.

And to meet the demand in our area local colleges are getting involved.

Educators say there are more new tech opportunities than there are students in Central Wisconsin.

“There aren’t many places, even around the nation, that are more exciting in terms of computer programming, data analytics and security than Central Wisconsin,” said Tim Krause, a Professor and Chair of New Media Technologies at UW-Stevens Point.

When you think of a market ripe for fresh IT talent, Central Wisconsin might not come to mind.

But education experts say, think again.

“We have high job need in manufacturing and healthcare in this area, because we’re hubs for those two things. But all of those industries need IT. Everything we do now works on IT. We can’t function without it,” said Brandy Breuckman, Dean of the School of Business, Community Services and Virtual College at Northcentral Technical College.

“One common area that every industry is going to share is they’re all going to be relying increasingly on technology and on employees who understand how to leverage and take advantage of that technology,” said Krause.

Right now, there are good employment prospects for people coming out of school.

“It’s a student’s market right now, it’s a graduate’s market right now,” said Sue Kissinger, Assistant Director of Career Services at UWSP.

"When we get paper mills that come to campus, they need chem engineers and paper engineers, yes, but they need computer programmers to make sure all those machines are working," said Kissinger. She added that many rural areas struggle to find talent, and those areas are in need of students.

And you don’t even need a four-year degree in some of the technology fields.

“You can get a great-paying job, especially in the world of information technology, by starting with an Associate’s degree,” said Breuckman. She said some students go on to earn a four-year degree but are able to jump right into the field after just two years.

In fact, some of the best candidates aren’t just studying science or math.

“They’re double majoring in music, German, history, English,” said Krause.

“Developing a work ethic, looking at problem-solving skills, a lot of times those other majors in those ‘non-related’ fields, they can find employment, too,” said Kissinger.

They also say if tech employers do find a good employee, they’ll often keep them on if they want to finish a Bachelor’s degree or train them to move up in the field.

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