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ictEngineering News reports that according to the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), skills shortages will be the single biggest challenge facing the SA information and communication technology (ICT) sector over the next ten years.  

While SA’s highly innovative and entrepreneurial ICT sector is on par with global counterparts, the ICT brain drain and slow ICT skills development are said to be threatening the country’s Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) progress.  IITPSA nonexecutive director and Western Cape chapter chairperson Pearl Pasi pointed out that the emerging 4IR sector would bring a range of new business and career opportunities, with new careers that did not exist in the last decade being created.  However, this implied that, to maintain jobs, employees needed to be reskilled to keep pace with technological developments.  There was a need to nurture talent and keep it in the country, she said, noting that ICT professionals were leaving SA, mostly owing to crime.  “There is little the sector can do to change that, but organisations do need to be conscious of employees’ needs to develop their skills and not get left behind; and they need to reward them appropriately,” Pasi advised.  4IR technologies were bringing a wealth of opportunities for job creation and business growth in South Africa, IITPSA VP and nonexecutive director Admire Gwanzura indicated.  “We are already seeing the cloud creating jobs here, and innovators finding opportunities in areas like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain.  With the proper regulatory environment and training in place, the 2020s could bring significant opportunities for the ICT sector,” he concluded.

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