JOHANNESBURG - The most high-in-demand skill and one of the most difficult to secure on the South African market still remains within the software development field. Topping the lists more specifically are the skills of web and android developers. Despite the looming recession, there has been no significant signs that this demand is slowing.

For organisations to compete and remain relevant within the market their content needs to be optimised, user friendly and “on-the-move”, easy to access from anywhere at any time. The education sector has seen a large increase in use of tablets within the secondary schooling arena, calling for developers with the ability to code apps that are seen on tens of thousands of tablets on a daily basis. These need to work across all different types of android tablets and be easy to use for schoolgoers.

E-commerce has seen a large increase in shoppers purchasing online, as well as the banking sector, with a large number of customers banking online or via mobile apps. Hence, a calling for coders with web/user experience and user-interface developers, the creative minds to optimise the look, feel and ease of use as well as the customer experience. Python and PHP developers code for the back-end, allowing for integration of front-end and back-end, all this allowing for a shopper’s experience to be seamless and effortless. Back-end developers are in high demand and seem to be more expensive resources due to the high technical and analytical aspect of their roles.

Developers working in large corporates often become more specialised within a field as opposed to working for smaller corporations where skills are needed for a broader spectrum. Developers coding in .Net, Java, JavaScript and C# are still in high demand, and more specifically the experienced and senior developers. According to CareerJunction’s salary survey, the pay offerings in the market for software developers falls under the top 25 highest paid salaries based on an analysis of 100 fields of occupation.

Cybercrime is on the rise, and criminals are exploiting the convenience and anonymity of the internet to commit crimes leading to a large number of organisations falling victim, leading to network and security specialists being increasingly in demand to detect and avert security threats.

The increase in skilled resources leaving the country, particularly among the 25- to 35-year-old age group, is contributing to the scarcity of the skills.

Adding to the frustrations of employers is the large supply and demand gap, meaning more jobs are available than developers to fill them.

Most developers are classified as “passive” candidates, meaning they don’t actively look for jobs, and this requires an effort from hiring managers in approaching the talent. Lengthy hiring processes and the economic climate often lead to the loss of good skills being snatched up by rivals.

Although the demand in the IT sector is high, the job market has an alarming number of unemployed graduates, because of the lack of experience and lack of finances to provide on-the-job training.

With the huge unemployment rate, it’s worth remembering which skills give you the competitive edge.

Mel Muller is a recruitment manager at Ekanekt Recruitment, www.kontak.co.za

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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