Which South African universities produce the highest-paid IT graduates

South African universities which produce the highest-earning graduates include the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Pretoria.

This is according to data from international wage-tracking group PayScale, which collects data from user submissions to determine career trends and salary averages.

We used this data to rank the average salaries of South African universities and compare the average salaries of tech-related jobs.

PayScale’s data is largely comprised of early to mid-level career submissions, which account for 65% to 70% of the data used in this comparison.

Entry-level and late-career submissions account for under 5% each, with the balance being those who are well-experienced in their fields.

This accounts for the relatively low averages in the salaries, as there are wide salary ranges, where an entry-level worker, say in tech support, would draw a much smaller salary than the multi-million rand pay of a tech CEO.

Below are the universities which produce the highest-paid graduates overall, as well as those which produce the highest-paid software development graduates.


The data below shows the average salaries for alumni from South Africa’s major universities – tracking over 23,600 profiles where education history was given.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal ranks the highest on this list, followed by the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, and University of Cape Town.

University Average Salary
University of KwaZulu Natal R421,000
University of the Witwatersrand R403,000
University of Pretoria R353,000
University of Cape Town R353,000
Stellenbosch University R346,000
Unisa R326,000
University of the Free State R306,000
University of Johannesburg R299,000
Nelson Mandela University R255,000

Software developer salaries

PayScale also ranks the highest-earning graduates in certain professions per university, providing a more in-depth look at specific fields.

Software development was the most commonly-included IT profession ranked amongst the top earners from these universities – however, the University of the Free State and Stellenbosch University did not have software developer figures.

Due to this lack of data, these two universities have been excluded from the comparison.

Below is the average salary for a South African software developer based on which university they graduated from.

University Average Salary
Software Developers
University of the Witwatersrand R379,000
University of KwaZulu Natal R369,000
University of Cape Town R315,000
University of Johannesburg R313,000
Unisa R303,000
University of Pretoria R285,000
Nelson Mandela University R234,000

South African IT qualifications

Responding to queries about the success seen by its IT graduates, the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) said that BCom and BSc Information Systems graduates are presented with a wide variety of lucrative career paths.

“The pervasiveness of technology in the information and knowledge economy has resulted in increasing demand for professionals with a unique blend of analytical, technical, business and communication skills,” the university said.

“The Wits Information Systems specialisation (which can be taken within both a BCom and BSc) is primarily aimed at students interested in the development of systems for corporates, non-profits and the public sector, although many of our students also follow their own entrepreneurial paths.”

“The analytical, technical, business and communication skills gained through the Wits Information Systems specialisation can lead to a wide range of career choices,” the university said.

The university provided a number of careers which this specialisation can make available for graduates, including:

  • Systems Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Analyst Programmer
  • Technology Consultant
  • Application/System Developer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • Process Engineer
  • Technology Project Manager
  • Change Manager
  • Database Administrator
  • Technology Architect
  • IT auditor

The University of Pretoria told MyBroadband that its faculty of engineering, built environment, and information technology was the top engineering school in South Africa.

“EBIT has educated many generations of leaders and produced graduates who are well represented as some of the best ambassadors in the industry,” the university stated.

In terms of engineering and technology, the University of Pretoria is among the top 450 universities worldwide.

The university added that EBIT contributes 28% of graduate engineers in South Africa.

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Which South African universities produce the highest-paid IT graduates