Bytes Technology Group recently held an ICT careers open day, giving 80 Grade 10, 11 and 12 Gauteng school pupils and their parents a chance to learn more about careers and job opportunities in this ever-expanding sector.
The event was hosted by Bytes People Solutions, an internationally accredited education, training, skills development and people consulting firm.
“Education is our business and it's important to keep secondary school children informed about the career prospects open to them in ICT, particularly as it's a key economic driver in this country, and globally, and it's changing the world we live in,” says Dr Madelise Grobler, MD, Bytes People Solutions.
“ICT incorporates many different industries, such as telecommunications services, telecommunication equipment manufacture, computer hardware manufacture, packaged software development, and IT professional services.
"In addition, there are more than 85 job titles and 12 job families in this sector. For anyone considering a career in ICT, the choices can be overwhelming, which is why we need to give young people some insight into what they can expect.”
Grobler says people choose a career in ICT for a number of reasons.
“There are many job opportunities in the industry, and the salary packages on offer are attractive. However, whether you prefer a more technical career or a client-facing role, employers will expect you to have a good grounding in technical skills.
"Thus, even though the demand is high, success does not happen overnight. It's important to develop your technical knowledge through qualifications and certifications that are recognised, and to be open to continuous learning.”
According to Grobler, there are three types of people in the ICT industry – those who like the technical side, those who prefer working with people, and those who are somewhere in between.
“Take those personalities and look at the typical building blocks of ICT – technology, data, application and business – and you begin to understand how jobs are structured.
“On the technical side, for example, you can be a hardware technician, a data security specialist or a systems programmer. If you prefer the softer side, you can become a systems analysts or a Web architect. If you like a bit of both, a career in database administration, business analysis or project management may be right for you.”
To flourish in the ICT industry, candidates need to be creative, innovative, structured and analytical, and to have a love for problem solving, she adds.
“Matric results are important too, as these can influence the choices available for further study.”
It's not easy for scholars to make decisions about a career in ICT when they are at highschool because what's in demand now may not be in four to five years' time.
However, Grobler points out that keeping an eye on trends is imperative. “Pupils and their parents need to be aware of industry drivers because trends impact organisations' hiring practices. Be alert to movements within this sector globally and in Africa.
“By aligning their skill sets with market demands, young people can ensure they are competitive,” Grobler says.
“As one of the most reputable providers of ICT learning solutions and skills development programmes, Bytes People Solutions wants to encourage children who are drawn to ICT to collect as much information as possible about the different career options and then select the area of study that is most suitable for their profile.”