This is one job that will put you in high demand no matter where you live, or want to live, in the world.

If you were a trained software developer right now, in South Africa, you’d find your job prospects to be more than a little awesome. In fact, you’d probably be able to pick and choose who you worked for – opting into the kind of company that appeals to you as a person rather than grabbing the first opportunity to come your way.

Software developers are the backbone of technology innovation, startup explosion, and all the media hype about places like Silicon Valley in the USA and the M4 Corridor in the UK.  They are in demand and, the best part of all, they don’t need you to undergo years and years of training.

Unlike some professions, such as accounting or nursing , software development doesn’t need you to have a formal education. What you do need is a very specific type of personality. Sure, you could bypass some of these personality traits and force your square peg self into a round hole so you can get a job and build a future, but these particular qualities will make your life a lot easier.

As a software developer you will find that the following skills will stand you in good stead:

  • You thrive on problems. You want to solve them. Finding answers to pesky problems makes you feel inspired.
  • You enjoy other people. No, software developers are not locked behind closed doors and fed flat food under the door anymore. They have to work with diverse teams to get things done.
  • Computers and technology and numbers excite you and you’re passionate about what they can do today, and in the future.
  • You are interested in change, in what code can do, and how to apply it creatively.
  • You pay attention to detail – this is essential. Otherwise you will spend a lot of time trying to find the flaws in the code.

Being a software developer is hard work and you will need to learn a variety of different coding languages, but it does allow you to find an area you love and specialise in it. It’s also evolving at such speed that you never know where your skills are going to take you in the future. There are so many different types of work you can do as a software developer that, ultimately, it will be your personality and skills that determine your role.

According to Payscale, the average software developer salary in South Africa is R366 004 per year but can reach giddy heights of R671 000 or higher.


Boost your skills while at school

To become a software developer, you will need to have completed Matric and you will need to have specialised in certain subjects. The most important are Physical Sciences, Maths, English, Computers and Science. You will be expected to have passed these subjects for Matric and some universities or institutions may ask for different requirements.

It is really important that you check and see what your chosen education institution requires for entry. Fortunately, for software development, you don’t even need to go to university – there are tons of online courses and colleges that will teach you what you need to know. Just make sure that you choose accredited education institutions with recognised certifications.

To boost your skills, visit the free Vodacom e-school portal for extra lessons and helpful guides. You can use the portal to also further your skills in English and Life Sciences. If you want even more oomph for your maths, visit Top Dog for lessons – the site even offers you rewards for achieving milestones and will inspire you to keep on going.

Vodacom e-school does ask you to register first but the process is as simple as entering your name, a password of your choosing, and the one-time-pin that they send you. Then select your grade (you can change this at any time) and start learning. Read our comprehensive breakdown of the accountancy profession below to find out which role best suits you and your career aspirations and to help you choose the right subjects at school.


How to train to become a software developer

Training to become a software developer is both simple and complex. Simple in that you can pay to join a coding or software development bootcamp, learn a ton of cool skills, and walk away with enough know-how to get started in the job. Complex in that you can also invest into college or university for your qualification and this does allow you to expand your skills significantly, even flexing outwards to become a software engineer. Your choices will depend on your situation and your personal preferences.

To make it easier for you to find out more about training in this space, the studying options have been broken down into two categories – courses or degrees. Just remember, not all bootcamp courses are created equal and there are plenty who want to take advantage of you and your money. Ensure that it is right for your skill levels and that it has genuine credentials.


Software developer courses:


Software developer universities:

  • Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
  • University of Pretoria (UP)
  • University of Johannesburg (UJ)
  • University of Cape Town (UCT)
  • University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)


Further information and associations:

  • Institute of Information Technology Professionals (IITPSA) – a recognised professional body that supports the industry and provides opportunities for career growth.
  • The Information Technology Association of South Africa (ITA)
  • The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE)