How you can help meet the demand for tech skills

How you can help meet the demand for tech skills

Although the world faces a multitude of uncertainties, the one thing that you can be sure of is that the growth of the tech industry is rampant. You can help meet the demand for tech skills and this article aims to explain what these skills are. 

With many businesses embracing AI and choosing to move towards digitising within a short space of time, the demand for tech skills is at an all-time high, resulting in a massive skills shortage while creating copious career opportunities. As the number of Gen Z job-seekers entering the workforce outnumbers the rate of employment, this article serves as encouragement for young generations to embrace the new opportunities and actively pursue a career in a future-growth industry.

Companies have shifted their operations towards a paperless environment due to technological advancements, and because it makes good business sense. Physical shops are switching to online stores, files are shared and stored on cloud-based systems and magazines have transformed into online sites, blog posts, podcasts and webinars. With these changes come opportunities to develop and maintain digital platforms, software as a service and new technologies. 

The tech industry is an elaborate one, and with no prior knowledge thereof it can be quite confusing to read the different terms and jargon. However, once the purpose of each role is understood, it may spark some curiosity that could lead you to great opportunities. Listed below is a simplified description of the top 2020 tech skills according to a recent article by a UK tech company:

1. Mobile Development

Mobile developers, either Android or iOS, create and test mobile apps which include online shopping, gaming and banking apps. Additionally, mobile developers regularly update these apps to make improvements, add features or fix bugs. To become a mobile developer experience with C#, Java, HTML 5, CSS, API interfaces such as Apple iOS, Android and Windows Mobile and cross-platform mobile suites like Antenna and AMP. According to Payscale, mobile developers earn between R94k - R905k annually, including benefits. 

2. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence relates to the development of operating systems for the use of robots and other applications that require artificial intelligence. An example of a system that uses artificial intelligence is a search engine. Being involved in AI requires a Bachelor's degree in software programming and extensive knowledge of Java, Python, Lisp, Prolog, and C++. As stated by Payscale, programmers who work within the AI field can earn approximately between R184k - R816k (incl. benefits) annually depending on experience and expertise. 

3. Python Developer

Python is a programming language used by developers to create applications such as web applications, game development, machine learning and AI, Data Science and Data Visualization, Desktop GUI, Web Scraping Applications, Business Applications, Audio and Video Applications, CAD Applications and Embedded Applications. It involves the designing of unique codes and frameworks for the application in question. Python developers deal with analytics and the collection of data for the creation of web-based applications and the addition of services. To become a Python Developer, you require  knowledge of Python, SQL, Java and other scripting languages. This can be acquired with a computer science degree or a diploma from any certified online courses with knowledge of Python, SQL, Java and other scripting languages. According to Payscale, Python Developers earn an approximate annual salary of between R185k - R645k (incl, benefits), depending on skills and experience.

Udemy has a range of free Python developer courses available.

4. Data Science

Data Scientists are the problem solvers of the tech industry. They sift through data in search of specific data, gather statistics and compile reports. Essentially, data scientists “extract meaning from and interpret data, which requires both tools and methods from statistics and machine learning” (Source). Knowledge of Python, Sklearn, Tensorflow, SQL scripting languages is required to be a data scientist. The average salary for this role, according to Payscale, is between R234k - R825k per year. This includes benefits and bonuses and is dependent on experience and level of expertise.

5. Cybersecurity

As the majority of companies are going digital, it increases their risk of cyber threats. Thus cybersecurity is in great demand. Working in cybersecurity involves decrypting codes from unknown or high-risk sources and encrypting code that can protect confidential information and systems. It also involves building security systems. With knowledge of C and C++ C, Python, JavaScript, PHP, SQL and Wrapping Up, you can pursue the following jobs in Cybersecurity: Security Analyst, Security Architect, Security Software Developer, Security Engineer, Cryptanalyst, Security Administrator, Cryptographer, Security Consultant. As reported by Payscale, the average salary, dependent on experience and expertise, is between R180k - R900k annually.

6. Cloud/Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the biggest names in cloud services, so companies will require skilled individuals to create applications within the environment. An AWS developer “is responsible for setting up, maintaining, and evolving the cloud infrastructure of web applications” (source). As per Payscale, working within AWS can have you earning between R278k - R897k per year (including benefits and policies) depending on skills and experience.

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is a technology – mathematically complex software code of which Bitcoin is just an application thereof. Programming languages such as C#, Javascript, Java, Python, and Go are essential to becoming a Blockchain Engineer. Blockchain Engineers are very rare in South Africa. If you have the skills to become a blockchain engineer in South Africa, you can apply for jobs internationally. As per Payscale reports, developers within the Blockchain industry can earn between R144k - R594k per annum (incl. Benefits), depending on expertise and experience.

8. Virtual Reality

Working in Virtual Reality includes designing and developing with 3D modelling software, programming and graphics programming. The skills needed to become a Virtual Reality Developer includes software programming, 3D design skills, game development, video or sound production skills, and UI/UX. Depending on the level of expertise and experience, can earn between R96k - R659k annually (inc. benefits) depending on seniority.

9. IT Support

Working in IT support entails managing an organization's network infrastructure, and provides technical support when needed. It also involves the installation of hardware and software and any issues related to it. Working in IT support does not necessarily require a degree but an acute aptness for anything technical. An experienced IT support analyst can, as per Payscale, earn between R68k - R343kper year (incl. benefits and policies) depending on skills and experience.

10. Internet of Things (IoT)

IT, in general, can be competitive for candidates, however, one of the fields within IT is IoT, which has room for many more developers. IoT is still one of the growing sectors of the tech world. According to Software.org, IoT is still yet to reach its full potential as there is a lack of skilled individuals in the field. This makes IoT skills high in demand for 2020. Some of the common skills needed for this job include competency with IOT Frameworks and platforms working with software such as Time-Series Databases, MQTT, Messaging 2- 3years experience: Working with general software such as Web (React/VueJS), Backend (Java, C/C++, NodeJS) and Mobile (iOS, Android, cross platform. With the right experience and expertise, a career in this field can yield a salary of approximately (between or more) R144k - R594k including benefits and salaries, dependent on skills and expertise.

To understand scripting languages, visit this site.

The fields described above are only some of the jobs available in the tech world. Obtaining the skills to pursue any of these careers can be done at various online institutions such as Pearson Institute, Hyperiondev, UCT, UJ, UWC and UKZN amongst others. To aid the demand, there are various funds and bursaries available as scholarships for those who are willing to acquire scarce skills such as the jobs in the tech industry. 

IT jobs are high in demand, and companies are prepared to pay generously for these IT graduates and skills. However, if you focus only on the rate of unemployment, you will miss the opportunities that are being generated through the implementation of new technologies. If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the journey towards tech-based norms, exposing the businesses that have been slow to prepare for what is essentially the new reality of digitisation. 

There are ways to self-train using the internet and free resources. If you are interested in the IT and tech space, it is a good field of study. 


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