The COVID pandemic has given huge impetus to digital transformation and, as a result, the world of work has changed. This rapid transformation means a massive increase in demand for technology professionals to help businesses transition into an economy marked by remote work, an increase in e-commerce, and cloud-oriented IT systems.
About 98% of South African businesses believe that critical technology skills — app development, software engineering, network architecture and data analysis, to name a few — are essential to their ongoing operational success, according to Xpatweb, a South African provider of immigration audit services.
In fact, Xpatweb’s Critical Skills list for 2021 reveals that some businesses are so desperate for technology skills that they are even seeking out qualified, but still inexperienced, technology professionals to fill vacancies. The Critical Skills list for 2021 ranks engineers and technology professionals first and second in terms of skills that businesses are struggling to recruit.
Most sought-after tech skills in South Africa
According to the Skills Survey report, and based on job postings during the last six months on jobs-search site CareerJunction, the most sought after IT professionals include those with skills in:
- App development (mobile)
- Data/business analysis
- Data science
- Data warehousing
- Software development (general application development)
- Software engineering (overall programme development and testing)
- IT management
- System/network architecture and administration
- IT project administration and management
This correlates with findings from the Adzuna Index, from jobs search engine Adzuna, which also suggest that the demand for technical skills is still high and the supply of experienced skills is still scarce in South Africa.
Tech support sees increase in demand
The pandemic and the resultant economic uncertainty has caused a shift in working patterns. “Companies in SA are being forced to adopt new ways of working. We are in a deliverables-based market and a lot of companies have had to learn to trust their workforce to work from home,” says Liza Van den Berg, global recruitment specialist at Afrizan People Intelligence, based in Johannesburg.
Similarly, COVID-related social distancing regulations mean that more and more consumers are embracing e-commerce and self-service. These trends have also affected the job market. A quick scan through various recruitment sites reveals that there is significant need for help desk and IT support staff who are responsible for assisting both internal and external users with any IT-related issues.
Given that technology skills are in high demand, which jobs pay the most? Below is CIO Africa’s list of top-paying IT roles in South Africa, based on data from PayScale, CareerJunction and other recruitment agency sources. Salaries include bonus and profit sharing pay. Note that salaries are averages, and they vary greatly depending on factors like experience, the scope of the role and enterprise size etc.
Top-paying South African IT jobs
CIO (chief information officer)
Pay range: R125,000/month – R148,000/month (US$8,550 – $10,100)
The CIO has the top IT leadership role in an enterprise. The position, though, has for some time moved away from a focus on technology to a role that involves business strategy and process transformation. CIO skills are now expected to align with those traditionally associated with top executive management, including industry knowledge, communication and management skills.
Pay range: R83,000 – R112 000/month
Cloud architects have high-level responsibilities that include leading overall cultural change for cloud adoption, as well as developing and coordinating cloud architecture. Tasks also may include cloud application design, cloud approval plans, and management of systems required to manage cloud storage.
Enterprise infrastructure manager
Pay range: R48,900 – R77,000/month
Enterprise infrastructure managers monitor, coordinate and manage network and associated systems, hardware and application platforms.
Director of application development
Pay range: R75,000 – R85,400/month
Application development directors plan and manage the design, development and implementation of all software applications in an enterprise, setting goals for team members and monitoring project timelines.
Chief information security officer (CISO)
Pay range: R73,000 –R91,000/month
The chief information security officer (CISO) is the executive responsible for an organisation’s information and data security, overseeing real-time analysis of security threats, and managing identity and access management, and implementing risk-mitigation projects.
IT project manager
Pay range: R55,000 – R73,000/month
Project managers ensure that projects come in on time, on or under budget, with high-quality standards that meet project goals. Project managers are in demand as enterprises struggle to achieve digital transformation.
Pay range: R37,000 – R58, 000/month
Software engineers use their knowledge of programming and software architecture principles to design and develop computer systems software and applications. Their responsibilities are more overarching than software developers (see below), often encompassing whole systems rather than individual applications.
Business intelligence analyst
Pay range: R33,000 – R42,000/month
Business intelligence (BI) analysts use data analytics, data visualization and data modelling techniques to transform data into insights that drive business value for enterprises.
Pay range: R62,800 – R82,590/month
Technical/business architects act as a bridge between business and technology. They align the strategic goals and objectives of the business with decisions around products and services; partners and suppliers; capabilities; and key business and IT initiatives.
Pay range: R53,260 – R69,240/month
Software developers build computer programmes. Also known as computer programmers, they design, build, install, test and maintain software systems in an effort to help businesses and equipment work effectively and efficiently.