If the information technology explosion really is blowing away the industrial revolution - and all the "futurists" seem to agree that it is - then Utah is sitting at ground zero.

And in this instance that's the place to be, says Peter Genereaux, president and chief executive officer of the Utah Information Technologies Association (UITA), who says Utah now has more than 1,500 infotech enterprises and some 44,500 employees - 5 percent more workers than in 1993 - involved in developing, producing or selling computer hardware, software and communications products and services.That figure puts the state among the top 10 regions of information technology activity and among the top five in the computer software sector, according to an independent survey by the Wirthlin Group opinion research firm that was commissioned by UITA, a statewide, nonprofit trade group for the information technology industry.

Genereaux said the survey showed steady growth in both revenues and jobs in the state's information technology sector, reinforcing its prominence and potential for even further growth.

The Wirthlin study shows that:

- 28 percent of Utah's infotech industry is made of up software developers;

- 17 percent provide professional services, such as hardware, software, communications engineering and consulting;

- 13 percent manufacture a computer or communications-related product or component;

- 7 percent are value-added system resellers that provide combinations of hardware, software and communications products;

- 5 percent offer telecommunications services;

- 4 percent comprise sales offices;

- 3 percent offer education and training services;

- 3 percent provide information services.

The rest of the mix include information systems providers, manufacturers representatives and maintenance services.

According to the Wirthlin study, Utah's infotech industry generated $6 billion in revenues in 1993, up 13 percent from $5.3 billion in 1992. To put that figure in perspective, Utah's tourism industry generates about $3.5 billion a year.

Infotech workers in Utah earn an average wage of $35,136, according to Wirthlin, which is 57 percent higher than the state's average non-farm wage of $22,400. Average entry-level starting salary in Utah's infotech industry was found to be $26,600.

Not surprisingly for a new industry, Utah's infotech companies are relatively young. Sixty percent of the 1,500 total firms have been launched since 1985 and 34 percent since 1990 - mostly small start-up operations by entrepreneurs.

Seventy percent, or about 1,050 of the firms, employ 25 or fewer people while 43 percent, or about 650 have five or fewer workers. Twenty-four percent have only one or two employees.

According to industry leaders interviewed by Wirthlin, Utah's infotech industry can expect to see 30 percent growth in employment (about 13,500 jobs) in the sector over the next three years with most of the growth in the smallest companies.

To get those jobs, 70 percent of new employees will need to have prior experience in the infotech industry while 30 percent will be entry-level graduates from Utah schools and universities. About 10 percent of those new hires are expected to come from out of state.

Wirthlin found that 68 percent of the current infotech companies are based in Salt Lake County, employing 66 percent of the industry's work force and generating 55 percent of its revenues.

Eighteen percent are located in Utah County, employing 24 percent of the total infotech work force and generating 37 percent of industry revenues. Three percent are in northern Utah, employing 2 percent of the work force and generating 2 percent of the revenues. The rest are located in central and southern Utah.