The global IT industry is evolving exponentially, and South Africa is no exception. Our country has one of Africa’s largest information and communications technology (ICT) markets. It is undergoing a steady digitisation and automation process that could result in a net gain of up to 1.2 million jobs in South Africa by 2030. This development will have a positive impact on the job market and recruitment services nationwide. Companies must move fast to capitalise on these, dramatically increasing the demand for IT professionals.
This article will present a data-backed analysis of the top seven IT jobs expected to be in high demand in South Africa in 2023. We will cover various areas, from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and blockchain development, and discuss each field’s responsibilities, skillsets, and expected growth to help IT professionals better understand their job prospects in the next few years. We will also explore the five key industries requiring IT staff in 2023 and beyond.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become critical components of modern technology. They enable computers to perform complex tasks that were once only possible for humans. These technologies are being used in various industries, from finance to healthcare, and their importance is only expected to increase.
Nearly half (46%) of South African companies are already actively piloting AI within their organisations. AI and ML experts are in high demand in South Africa, and this trend is set to continue. Some of the critical roles and responsibilities of AI and ML professionals include:
- Developing and implementing AI and ML algorithms and models
- Collaborating with other teams to integrate AI and ML technology into existing systems
- Identifying and solving problems related to AI and ML applications
- Staying up-to-date with the latest developments and advancements in AI and ML technology
- Analysing data to improve AI and ML models and applications
With the increasing adoption of AI and ML technology in various industries, the demand for AI and ML experts is expected to remain high in South Africa. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in AI and ML to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
Full-stack developers are in high demand globally, and South Africa is no exception. When the tech industry faced global layoffs in 2022, less than 3% of South African developers were retrenched last year.
These professionals have a comprehensive understanding of both front-end and back-end development. They can work on the entire application, from the user interface to the server-side logic. Some of the key roles and responsibilities of full-stack developers include:
- Developing and maintaining the front-end and back-end of web applications
- Ensuring web applications are optimised for maximum speed and scalability
- Collaborating with other teams to integrate web applications with other systems
- Identifying and solving problems related to web application development
- Staying up-to-date with the latest developments and advancements in web application development
With the increasing demand for web applications in South Africa, the need for full-stack developers is expected to remain high. IT professionals with expertise in modern front-end frameworks and back-end development are well-positioned to take advantage of this growing job market.
Cyber-attacks constantly threaten businesses today, making cybersecurity experts and data protection specialists more critical than ever. In fact, South Africa has the third most cybercrime victims worldwide, losing R2.2 billion a year.
Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for protecting businesses’ sensitive information from malicious attacks, ensuring that data is secure and private. Some of the main roles and responsibilities of cybersecurity experts include:
- Identifying and assessing vulnerabilities in systems and networks
- Developing and implementing security policies and procedures
- Conducting security audits and risk assessments
- Monitoring networks and systems for security breaches
- Responding to security incidents and investigating any incidents of data loss
As businesses become more digital in South Africa, the demand for cybersecurity experts is rising. Revenue in the cybersecurity market is projected to reach over R11,4 billion in 2023, and it is expected to continue to grow in the years to come. Cybersecurity experts with expertise in advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, are in particularly high demand. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in cybersecurity to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
Mobile App Development
Mobile apps have become integral to businesses’ customer engagement strategies in today’s digital age. With the rise of 5G networks and increased smartphone access, mobile app developers are in high demand globally, and South Africa is no exception. There are more than 5,209 apps from South African publishers on Google Play, with the most downloads of South African publishers being Capitec Bank, EskomSePush, MoyaApp and Takealot, to name a few.
Mobile app developers are responsible for designing, developing, and maintaining mobile applications that run on iOS and Android platforms. Some of the leading roles and responsibilities of mobile app developers include:
- Collaborating with other teams to design and develop mobile applications
- Optimising mobile applications for performance and user experience
- Debugging and troubleshooting mobile applications
- Staying up-to-date with the latest developments and advancements in mobile application development
- Ensuring mobile applications meet security and privacy requirements
As more businesses in South Africa require mobile apps to engage with their customers, the demand for mobile app developers is expected to remain high. Mobile app developers with expertise in modern technologies, such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, are mainly in high demand. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in mobile app development to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
Cloud Computing and DevOps
Cloud computing has become one of the most significant technological advancements in recent years. It provides a flexible, cost-effective way to store and access their data. According to survey results, 77% of South African businesses currently use cloud services in their IT department. As more move their operations to the cloud, the demand for DevOps engineers is rising in South Africa.
DevOps engineers manage the software development process from start to finish, including planning, coding, testing, and deployment. They work to bridge the gap between software developers and operations teams to ensure that software is released efficiently and with fewer errors. Some of the key roles and responsibilities of DevOps engineers include the following:
- Designing and implementing software deployment processes
- Building and maintaining automated testing and deployment pipelines
- Ensuring the security and stability of software systems
- Collaborating with developers and other teams to develop software
- Monitoring and maintaining production systems
- Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in software development and deployment
With the increasing adoption of cloud computing in South Africa, the demand for DevOps engineers is expected to continue growing. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in DevOps to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
Blockchain technology has disrupted traditional industries, and its importance is only expected to increase. CV VC and Standard Bank’s inaugural African Blockchain Report found that South Africa raised R284.6 million to support five blockchain and cryptocurrency firms, making it one of the leading fundraisers for these new ventures in Africa in 2021.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables secure and transparent data sharing between parties, such as businesses. Blockchain developers are responsible for building decentralised applications that operate on a blockchain network. Some of the top roles and responsibilities of blockchain developers include:
- Designing, developing and testing decentralised applications that run on blockchain networks
- Building and maintaining smart contracts
- Collaborating with other teams to integrate blockchain technology into existing systems
- Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in blockchain development
- Ensuring the security and stability of blockchain systems
- Identifying and solving problems related to blockchain applications
As more businesses in South Africa explore the potential of blockchain technology, the demand for blockchain developers is on the rise. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in blockchain development to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
Robotics and Automation
Robots and automation are transforming how businesses operate, and their importance will only increase in the upcoming years. The projected revenue for the South African robotics industry is expected to hit R1.8 billion in 2023, with the “service robotics” segment expected to account for the largest portion at R1.6 billion. Robotics and automation experts are responsible for developing, designing, and deploying robots and automated systems that can perform tasks efficiently and with minimal human intervention.
These professionals work in various industries, including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and retail, to develop and deploy automation solutions that optimise processes and reduce costs. The roles and responsibilities of robotics and automation experts include:
- Designing and developing automated systems and robots
- Testing and troubleshooting automated systems and robots
- Integrating computerised systems and robots with other systems
- Identifying areas for process automation and improvement
- Collaborating with other teams to develop and deploy automation solutions
As businesses in South Africa embrace automation to improve efficiency and reduce costs, the demand for robotics and automation experts is expected to grow. Robotics and automation experts with experience in machine learning and artificial intelligence are in exceptionally high demand. This presents an excellent opportunity for IT professionals with expertise in robotics and automation to secure exciting and challenging roles in this field.
5 Key Industries that Require IT Staff in 2023
In addition to the top IT jobs in high demand in South Africa, several industries require IT staff to manage their digital transformation and technology needs. Here are the key sectors that will require IT staff in 2023:
- Finance: The finance sector is becoming increasingly digital, with banks and other financial institutions adopting new technologies to streamline their operations and offer better services to customers. IT professionals in finance are responsible for managing security, developing software applications, and maintaining hardware.
- Healthcare: Healthcare is another sector that is undergoing a digital transformation. Electronic health records and telemedicine have increased the demand for IT professionals to manage healthcare IT systems, ensure data privacy and security, and develop custom healthcare software.
- Retail: Retail businesses in South Africa are adopting new technologies to enhance the customer experience and streamline operations. IT professionals in retail are responsible for managing point-of-sale, inventory, and customer relationship management systems.
- Education: The education sector is adopting new technologies to provide a better learning experience to students. The demand for IT professionals in education is on the rise. They are responsible for developing e-learning platforms, managing student information systems, and ensuring the security of student data.
- Manufacturing: The manufacturing industry is also experiencing a digital transformation by adopting Industry 4.0 technologies. IT professionals in manufacturing are responsible for managing production systems, implementing automation technologies, and ensuring the security of manufacturing systems.
IT professionals with expertise in AI and machine learning, full-stack development, cybersecurity, mobile app development, cloud computing and DevOps are well-positioned to take advantage of the growing job market in these industries.
The demand for IT jobs in South Africa is expected to grow in the next two years, driven by the surge in digital transformation, automation, and the need for data analytics. As technology advances, these seven IT jobs are expected to be in high demand. IT professionals with expertise in these areas will be well-positioned to take advantage of the growing job market in South Africa.
Furthermore, businesses can capitalise on the opportunities discussed in this article by partnering with a staffing agency to hire the required IT staff. MASA is a reliable staffing agency that provides tailored staffing solutions to businesses in South Africa. You can contact MASA to learn how we can help find the right IT professionals to take your business to the next level.