In the economic devastation following COVID-19, most organisations find themselves in an unprecedented and extremely difficult situation that has allowed for little to no time for consultation or preparation.
Overnight, South Africans were forced into work-from-home situations, leaving CTOs and business owners scrambling to equip employees with the tools and connectivity to survive the lockdown.
For those businesses operating in the technology sector, working from home was a relatively straightforward process. These companies were better positioned to adopt remote working with little upset to operations and have fast adapted to their new reality.
However, for most South African business operations, the situation is challenging and forcing leaders to explore creative ways to stay afloat.
Increased demand for 4IR tech and skills
Riaz Moola, CEO and founder of HyperionDev, says that the change in working procedures and norms has highlighted, in some instances, how unnecessary the need for physical interaction actually is.
“In the education space, COVID-19 has brought traditional education providers to a grinding halt; however, non-traditional academic institutions have been able to continue, relatively unaffected, due to the online nature of their courses.”
“We have such an entrenched nine-to-five culture in our country, with office workers and students needing to be physically present. The Coronavirus has brought with it the complete blurring of the lines between physical and virtual worlds, and we’re unlikely to be able to return back to ‘normal’ ways of working, and learning,” he said.
“In the world post-COVID-19, we are likely to see job posts and career opportunities that differ from those offered previously. The onset of remote working and the dramatic focus on digital and virtual offerings means that people skilled in supporting these areas will be in much greater demand.”
According to the Financial Times, “Tech companies are still hiring feverishly as they move to take advantage of a world shifting increasingly to digital as a result of the coronavirus, despite mass lay-offs elsewhere and growing concerns over plummeting global markets”.
Moola says that the pandemic has so far shown us the importance of focusing on the growth and adoption of new technologies, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, digital collaboration and most importantly, virtual workspaces.
“Upskilling and equipping people with education and awareness on 4IR and automation, and further expanding it into all industries has the potential to breathe new life into the economy irrespective of further pandemic related crises.”
Shifting careers and upskilling to remain relevant
Moola says that the opportunity for people who are facing employment challenges lies in upskilling themselves with a tech qualification.
“There is a myriad of affordable short courses and qualifications available from non-traditional education providers. A lot of people fear the unknown, but with the increasing threat of job insecurity, and the need to move to a virtual working environment – there’s never been a better time to get a foot in the door of the tech world.”
According to a report by Glassdoor, these are the top 10 tech careers that are in demand:
# 10 Cloud Engineer
# 9 Software Developer
# 8 Systems Engineer
# 7 Software Engineer
# 6 Data Engineer
# 5 DevOps Engineer
# 4 Product Manager
# 3 Data Scientist
# 2 Java Developer
# 1 Front End Engineer
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