The Department of Home Affairs published a list of critically-scarce skills in high demand in the country in February 2022.
This year’s publication was the first since 2014 and included a range of new jobs, skills, and qualifications in the technology sector.
This list determines which skills or qualifications foreigners need to possess to make them eligible to apply for a work visa in South Africa.
“The updated list reflects the skills that are in shortage today to ensure that our immigration policy matches the demands of our economy,” said Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
The table below shows the skills applicable to the technology sector in particular.
|2022 Critical Skills List|
|Chief information officer||Bachelor honours degree, postgraduate diploma, or Bachelor’s degree|
|ICT systems analyst||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Data scientist||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Software developer||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Programmer analyst||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Developer programmer||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
(incl. game and web development)
|Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Applications programmer||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Computer quality assurance analyst||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Computer network and systems engineer||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Network analyst||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|ICT security specialist||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Aeronautical engineer||Bachelor honours degree, postgraduate diploma, or Bachelor’s degree|
|Aeronautical engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Multimedia engineer||Bachelor’s degree or advanced diploma|
|Electronic engineering technician||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Mechatronics technician||Intermediate certificate|
|Industrial engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Civil engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Mechanical engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Chemical engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Agricultural engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Energy engineering technologist||Diploma or advanced certificate|
|Electronics engineer||Bachelor honours degree, postgraduate diploma, or Bachelor’s degree|
MyBroadband was curious to see whether the department’s list correlated with the experience of some of the major companies that have their operations deeply rooted in the latest technological developments.
We received feedback from Absa, MTN, and Takealot on the tech skills they value highly.
Absa said the department’s list largely correlated with its assessment of scarce tech skills required in the financial services industry, especially technology engineering, data, and network and platform skills.
“Other core and future tech skills that are currently in high demand include cyber security, machine learning, Salesforce, payments, cloud and container,” the bank said.
Although formal qualifications were desirable and traditionally highly valued in financial services, the bank said it recognised shifts in the tech industry where individuals with extensive practical experience and informal qualifications bring equivalent — and sometimes more advanced — levels of expertise.
That was particularly applicable to analysts, developers and data scientists, Absa said.
“We are now exploring opportunities to provide ‘bridging’ experience and qualifications to enhance work readiness of job seekers, and to meet the demand for scarce skills.”
MTN executive for corporate affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan, said the skills which were the most in-demand at MTN included those in the following fields:
- Fintech and digital
- Data science
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud or software engineering
- Enterprise ICT solutions
- Big Data
- Agile leading and coaching
O’Sullivan said these skills were not only scarce but were critical for the broader ICT and telecoms marketplace.
“Although some of these skills do exist within MTN, many companies are targeting the same skills, which leads to a high turnover and skills shortages,” O’Sullivan said. “For MTN, we aim for a balance of attracting these skills as well as retaining them.”
“The reality is that technology continues to evolve and converge, and often our candidates are required to adapt to this ever-changing environment which is why we continue to invest in skills development in the technology space.”
O’Sullivan said although relevant qualifications were required to apply for opportunities at MTN, “employability” also played an important role.
She described this characteristic as “the unique mix of skills and abilities that make an applicant stand out”.
South Africa’s biggest online store — Takealot — said the inclusion of software developers on South Africa’s critical skills list was a welcome addition.
“Software development, across all experience levels, covers a great variety of roles currently available at the Takealot Group brands, takealot.com, Superbalist and Mr D Food,” the ecommerce giant said.
Senior software engineers — usually classified as having more than ten years of experience — are generally tough to come by for Takealot.
In terms of ecommerce specifically, the company said it is on the hunt for technical product managers with web product experience, as well as ecommerce machine learning engineers.
“Our preferred requirement is a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering or a related field and relevant experience for the role,” Takealot said.
“And as always, we’re looking for critical thinkers that can bring something extra to the table and challenge our own thinking and approaches, to help us innovate and iterate in the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.”