Tech sector leads Detroit's rebirth

With a booming tech job market and major corporate investments, Detroit may be poised to reinvent itself as a new tech hub

When it comes to tech jobs, most people think of Silicon Valley as the Promised Land. But according to tech job search company, Detroit has the fastest-growing tech job market, boasting an eye-popping 101 percent increase from February 2010 to February 2011.

Dice says that Detroit has more than 800 available tech jobs on any given day and that the average salary of tech pros in Detroit has risen 2 percent since last year to nearly $71,500. Following Detroit is a trio of Ohio cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, which boast growth numbers of 75, 62, and 57 percent, respectively. They're good stats, but still a far cry from what Detroit has to offer.

The impressive job numbers aren't the only indicator that Detroit could be undergoing a tech-fueled renaissance. Microsoft recently opened a Technology Center in the city, providing the area with development suites and offering workshops on topics like tech strategy and business software architectural guidance. The company cited research that found Detroit to be among the 10 most cloud-friendly cities as a major factor in its decision to invest in the city. And the New York Times reported earlier this year on the tremendous opportunities that Detroit presents for startups, noting that the city's TechTown business incubator now houses 150 companies as opposed to the single company it had five years ago.

Detroit certainly is among the areas hardest hit by U.S economic woes; the auto industry that had been its lifeblood has taken a beating, and the outlook was so dire that a government plan considered essentially abandoning parts of the city. But having bottomed out, Detroit is ripe for urban renewal and rebirth, and the tech sector is well-poised to lead the way.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.