Cape Town - As matric pupils conclude the last stretch of their final examinations this week, many of them are faced with the daunting task of choosing a career path.
With youth unemployment at its peak, students will need to weigh their options to see if they will be employable after completing their tertiary education.
According to Riaz Moola, CEO at HyperionDev, with the rapid digitisation of almost all aspects of our lives, tech-based careers offer the students of today lucrative opportunities for tomorrow.
“Currently there is a skills gap in the technology sector in South Africa. “This is reflected in research by Price Waterhouse Cooper, which reveals that 87% of local CEOs are most concerned about this shortage.”
According to Moola, these are the top 5 most in-demand tech careers in 2022.
1. Java developer
Average annual salary according to Payscale: R375 315
A Java developer uses the Java language to create high-functioning web applications, software and programs. Java developers have long enjoyed high-ranking status, and are rated the number one job of 2021 by the global recruitment website Glassdoor.
“Java is still one of the most popular programming languages in the world, reflecting both the growing demand for experienced Java programmers and the ubiquity of companies using Java for all kinds of tech applications,” says Moola.
The roles and responsibilities of a Java developer will vary greatly depending on the company and specific position. Here are some typical responsibilities: Designing, implementing, and maintaining Java applications that are often high-volume and low-latency required for mission-critical systems, delivering high availability and performance, contributing in all phases of the development life cycle, writing well-designed, efficient, and testable code, to name but a few.
2. Software engineer
Average annual salary according to Payscale: R371 699
Software engineers are generalised developers, making all kinds of software suitable to the business’s needs.
“They have always enjoyed incredible pay, boundless career opportunities and solid job security,” says Moola. “Software engineers are highly agile, thanks to their transferable skills and deep knowledge of one or more programming languages.”
Some of the responsibilities of a software engineer are to: analyse user requirements, write and test code, refine and rewrite it as necessary, and communicate with any programmers involved in the project. They research, design and write new software programs (e.g. business applications or computer games) and computer operating systems. They evaluate the software and systems that make computers and hardware work, and develop existing programs by analysing and identifying areas for modification.
3. Data Scientist / Data Engineer
Average annual salary according to Payscale: from R428 554 to R449 030
“Data is the internet’s new gold rush, which is why companies want to understand their core data and key customer insights to unlock more efficient systems and bigger profits,” says Moola. “Data scientists and data engineers are the answer to that better business.”
He points out that there are more similarities than differences between data scientists and data engineers. “A data scientist uses data analysis tools to manage, analyse, understand and draw conclusions from complex data.
On the other hand, data engineers are responsible for the setting up, maintenance, and management of data systems. They don’t just know how to work with data but also understand the systems and processes that this large-scale analysis requires and how to work with these technologies.”
A data scientist's role combines computer science, statistics, and mathematics. They analyse, process, and model data, then interpret the results to create actionable plans for companies and other organisations.
4. Enterprise Architect
Average annual salary according to Payscale: R867 986
The career of an enterprise architect is one of the best tech jobs in the world because it combines staggeringly high pay and substantial job opportunities and security.
“Enterprise architects typically occupy more senior positions and are responsible for making sure that a company’s business strategy uses the right technology systems to achieve its goals.” Moola says this highly technical role makes it a prized career.
An enterprise architect is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of an organisation's IT networks and services. As an enterprise architect, you would be responsible for overseeing, improving and upgrading enterprise services, software and hardware.
5. Full-stack web developer
Average annual salary according to SalaryExpert: R730 841
Full-stack developers have officially passed their single-stream counterparts (front-end and back-end developers) to claim the fifth most desirable tech job in the world.
“Full-stack developers work in both front-end and back-end development, building the visuals of websites and applications, as well as the nitty-gritty coding that allows them to work as intended,” explains Moola. “Full-stack developers are highly prized because of this dual specialisation and multi-role capability, making them highly in demand, both locally and internationally.”
A Full-stack Web Developer is responsible for the coding, design and layout of a website according to a company's specifications. As the role considers user experience and function, a certain level of both graphic design and computer programming is necessary.
From student to job-ready in a matter of months
Today, students can take advantage of online coding bootcamps which can be viewed as alternative credentials, says Moola. “They are a fast-paced career accelerator that can quickly land participants a job as a software engineer or data scientist, rather than a traditional university degree which takes years to complete.”
The courses teach students all the skills they need to enter any of the top tech careers in South Africa and globally. Their intensive coding bootcamps combine personalised support from expert code reviewers with industry-aligned practical training, to give students exactly what they need to start building software, applications and websites.