What to study to get a big tech salary

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently released the 2015 matric results, revealing a pass rate of 70.7%.

Many of these students will start their tertiary education soon, hoping to get a good qualification which will lead to a high-paying job.

All qualifications, however, are not equal. A person with an engineering degree, for example, is more likely to find a high-paying job than someone with a generic BA degree.

This raises the question: Which degrees will land you a top job after you have qualified?

The list below provides an overview of the qualifications which are sought after, and where professionals in the field take home the most money.

The list focuses on technical fields, and qualifications in these fields are listed. The salaries listed are for skilled and experienced professionals – not starting salaries.

This is an adapted version of the following articles: Best IT certifications to land a high-paying job in South Africa and Best degrees to study if you want a big salary

BEng or BSc in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers with some experience can expect to earn between R38,026 and R51,606 per month.

Mechanical engineer

BEng or BSc in Engineering, with a project management qualification

Skilled project engineers earn between R37,281 and R49,890 per month.

Project engineer

BCom in IT Management

Skilled IT management professionals earn between R37,043 and R44,567 per month.

IT management

BEng or BSc in Electrical Engineering

A skilled electrical engineer can expect to earn between R33,981 and R45,697 per month.

Electrical engineer

BSc in IT or Computer Science

A BSc in IT or Computer Science opens up many fields to a graduate, including Technical and Business Architecture – where a professional will typically earn between R35,558 and R43,929 per month.

Business architect

BCom degree / Business Analysis qualification

A skilled IT business analyst can earn between R31,912 and R40,505 per month.

Business analyst

BSc in Information Systems

A skilled IT system analyst typically earns between R32,580 and R39,625 per month.

Systems analyst

Project management qualification

A professional in IT project administration and management can expect a monthly salary of between R31,560 and R39,869.

Project manager

Best certifications for the IT market

Not everyone will attend a university after they finish school, while some university graduates will look to do certifications to make them more valuable to employers.

Here are some of the most sought-after certifications for a big salary, based on feedback from South African telecommunications and technology companies.

Cisco Career Certifications – CCNA, CCNP, and CCIE

Many telecommunications companies said Cisco Career Certifications are valuable.

The most sought-after qualifications include Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP), and Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).


Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD)

Many South African software development companies said Microsoft Certified Professional Developer certifications are in demand.

The certification demonstrates the skills required to build solutions which target both web and rich-client user experiences.

The MCPD serves as the premiere Microsoft certification for enterprise applications developers.


Oracle Certified Professional Java Programmer

Oracle’s Certified Professional Java Programmer certification demonstrates a solid understanding of Java, and is a prerequisite to a number of other Java certificates.

It tests the knowledge of the core features and constructs of the Java programming language, and is sought after by companies developing in Java.

Oracle Java

Certified Scrum Master

A Certified Scrum Master helps project teams use Scrum, increasing the likelihood of the project’s overall success.

This is a valuable certification for managing projects, especially in software development environments.

Scrum Alliance

IT Security Certifications

With the increase in online systems, South African companies are looking for qualified security professionals.

Security certifications, like the Information Systems Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and the Cybersecurity Forensic Analyst certification (CSFA), are in demand.


Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC)

The Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) is a certification in the field of Linux, provided by the Linux Professional Institute.

It is a multi-level certification, with the fields of system administration and security covered.


Certified Associate in Project Management or Project Management Professional

Local software development and IT companies are looking for project managers, and a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification are sought after.


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What to study to get a big tech salary