The most in-demand tech jobs for South Africans right now – including pay

Demand for tech-related skills continues to grow in South Africa, which has ranked as high as sixth globally for hiring data scientists just prior to Covid-19, according to Kavi Pather, head of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Advanced Analytics at EY.

Pather, in a conversation with BusinessTalk, noted the emergence and necessity of artificial intelligence in businesses today. Kavi stressed that the need for businesses to innovate requires convergence with technology.

He said that Covid-19 put everything online, and as a result, there is more potential to implement artificial intelligence effectively in a business. “Data centres such as Amazon, Google and Huawei – which all require data scientists – are entering the country,” he said.

When you combine all the new data centres with new regulations such as POPIA (The Protection of Personal Information Act) and president Cyril Ramaphosa’s fourth industrial revolution commission, the next few years in the artificial intelligence industry are going to be interesting, Pather said.

The AI lead stressed the challenges to implementing AI-related solutions include a lack of skills locally. He said that a base level of data literacy is required to have a successful innovation team.

Pather said that another challenge is ensuring that the data collected is of the right quality. Businesses need to pool data from across their enterprises and make sure it is available to data scientists.

“Quality data is worth more than gold these days,” he said.

According to Payscale, based on 239 salary profiles, data scientists in South Africa can earn an average salary of R420,000 per year. However, it can range anywhere between R215,000 and R724,000 depending on the firm and experience.

Entry-level pay for a data scientist with less than a year’s experience can expect R338,000 per year.

Popular skills for data scientists include:

  • Machine learning
  • Python
  • Data analysis
  • Statistical analysis

Other technology-aligned in-demand jobs were outlined by the latest Department of Home Affairs critical skills list as well as the Michael Page Market Overview and Hiring Insights, these include:


Business intelligence/Business Analyst

  • At a small or medium size enterprise (SME), R450,000 per year. R37,500 monthly.
  • At a multinational corporation (MNC), R700,000 per year. R58,300 monthly.

Software developer

  • Senior Back End and Full Stack Developer at a SME, R900,000 per year. R75,000 monthly.
  • MNC, R1 million per year. R83,300 per month.

Systems/Network engineer

  • SME, R350,000 per year. R29,000 monthly.
  • MNC, R550,000 per year. R45,830 monthly.

Cybersecurity engineer

  • SME, R750,000 per year. R62,500 per month.
  • MNC, R1.2 million per year. R100,000 per month.

All above salaries are based on averages between a range of the lowest and highest pay for jobs of each title.


Read: These are the jobs Amazon, Discovery and other top companies in South Africa are hiring for right now

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The most in-demand tech jobs for South Africans right now – including pay