With the construction of the ORT SA IT Academy completed, ORT SA will in 2017 start teaching IT bridging programmes for those who are completely unfamiliar with anything IT – related but want to equip themselves to move into today’s working world.

Chris van Well, ORT SA’s Computer and Information Systems Manager talks about ORT SA  ‘Owning the Technology Revolution’:

In May of 2016 the Career Junction Index, an analysis of online job market trends, indicated that Information Communication and Technology (ICT) is the top employment sector in South Africa. This has been the case for a number of years now, and with the continued growth of the ICT sector locally and abroad, this is a trend that will most likely remain for the coming years.

Moreover, with the next wave of technology promising a new digital revolution, there are certain new specialisations in ICT that will be particularly high in demand in the near future:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics Specialists
According to Pew Research Center report, robotics and artificial intelligence “will permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025, with huge implications for a range of industries such as healthcare, transportation and logistics”.
While this advancement in technology will invariably make certain jobs redundant (as automation takes over), it will also create new jobs and industries. Computer programmers and engineers will be needed in the fields of robotics, machine-learning, artificial intelligence, and neural networking, to build and integrate these new technologies.

Flexible App Developers
When we hear the word “App” our minds automatically take us to mobile devices. But this is changing rapidly with major tech companies (Microsoft, Apple and Google) adding “App Stores” to all their PC and gaming products, leaving the confines of mobile devices and using apps to give the tech world a unified experience. Infiltrating every other aspect of our lives—from our home to our car to our daily finances and even into the gaming world,  app developers are currently some of the most sought after professionals in ICT. In time, where apps integrate with different platforms throughout our lives, flexible app developers are going to be in even higher demand, according to Mary K Pratt of Computer World.

Cloud Computing Specialists
According to a study done by CompTIA in 2014, 90% of US companies use some form of cloud computing in their daily operations. With digital technology increasingly migrating to ‘the cloud’ and companies like Microsoft moving the most popular software applications worldwide into the cloud, Office 365 is fully accessible in the cloud, bringing email and office tools to the user from a browser. With G Suite (formally known as Google Apps) been fully cloud – based and giving business an alternative to Office 365. This is making more and more companies shift their data infrastructures to private and public cloud servers, making specialists in cloud computing increase in demand. IT leaders report that the growth of cloud-based services is generating a myriad of cloud-related jobs, such as cloud computing programmers, capacity managers, and security managers. Cloud security will be a field of special importance, as data shifting between private and public cloud servers poses a unique security risk for corporations.

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, for instance, has issued a detailed list of technical jobs needed. This list points to a need for nearly 3,000 software and application programmers, nearly 3,000 project and other managers, and 1,600 information and communications technology support technicians.

Schools in South Africa

In a technology-driven world, learning the language of computers is becoming a critical skill for children. Whether they want to become programmers or not, computational thinking is an essential skill needed to flourish in the 21st century. Especially in a time where the future is now and in a couple of months the world of tech may look different. We need to look at equipping our children with the skills to cope with a fast changing environment, in order to ensure that what we have taught them is not redundant when they move into a working environment.

Primary Schools all over the world are incorporating IT into their curriculum to equip children for a digital future. Unfortunately, in South Africa we are being left behind with our schooling system struggling just to keep up with the current curriculum in Mathematics and Science. With no inclusion of any IT programmes within the public primary schooling curriculum, we have a generation of children growing up without easy access to technology, many of whom have never used a keyboard and mouse, but will need the skills once they leave school and start seeking a job.

Early grades are a critical age to develop interest in STEM and computer programming areas, especially for girls. Research suggests that some of the strongest influences to attract girls to computing fields are early exposure as a required part of the curriculum and computing connections to broader areas of society.

“Before I started C-STEM class I thought it was only my older brother who was tech savvy, and I didn’t even want to try programming! But later I learned how to do it and it was easy! It was also fun, I want to learn if there are even bounds to what you can do with a computer.” Grade 6 girl Source

Here is where we step in as ORT SA to brindge the divide between complete unfamiliarity of anything IT – related and wanting to equip oneself to move into the working world.

Watch out for our courses for 2017.