Careers of the future: Think big data and cybersecurity

Johannesburg – COVID-19 and lockdowns have changed the way the world does business, and accelerated many companies to conduct their business online, remotely and by incorporating new systems and processes into their operations.

The developments of the past year also provided increased clarity about career paths of the future.

Prospective students still undecided about their plans for next year, or employees who want to set out on a new path, would do well to consider careers which are likely to remain in high demand in coming decades, an education expert said.


“Careers of the future will increasingly require people skilled and qualified in careers involving the Cloud, Internet of Things, big data, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality,” said Nola Payne, head of faculty for information and communications technology at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.

Payne gave some advice on some of the most popular fields of study next year.

Mobile app/web developer “These two can stand apart, but often go hand in hand in a combined career,” she said.

“Mobile app development is one of the fastest-growing dis- Careers of the future: Think big data and cybersecurity Tech at centre of sought-after skills ciplines as more functionality moves to mobile devices. The good news for prospective students is that there is currently a big skills gap in this area, so there are many opportunities in this field. It is also a good fit for those interested in becoming entrepreneurs.”

On the web development side, Payne noted that the increase in social media advertising has increased the demand for web developers.

“Most companies invest in e-commerce solutions”

“Most companies invest in e-commerce solutions, while all companies regardless of size, or whether they are new or old, should have their own website. To make a success in these fields, professionals require responsive web design, user interface and user experience skills.”

Payne added that those pursuing a career in app development will need to be well-versed in user-interface design and adaptation to different mobile operating systems and screen sizes, such as smartphones, tablets and smart watches. Software engineers and database administrators

“Both of these are existing careers, but are constantly evolving as a result of the need to adapt for operation in the Cloud and on digital devices. Additionally, there is a massive and growing demand for improved security, with databases and application systems shielded from attack while being properly managed and networked,” she said.

Cybersecurity experts They need to be able to anticipate and correct flaws and backdoors in access to an organisation’s sensitive data, understand how hackers work and how they access secure sites, and ensure multi-level authentication for sites with sensitive information, for instance, in banking. Network engineers The role of network engineers is to integrate and connect computer systems and networks across various platforms such as mobile devices, the Cloud and traditional systems.

Data analyst/scientist “If you enjoy mathematics, statistics and programming, and have an analytical brain, this is the career for you,” Payne says.

She explained that these professionals analyse and make decisions based on big data, usually massive amounts of data often obtained through people’s interaction on web pages, to customise their experience.

The aim is to analyse and respond to client needs and source new clients.

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