Top careers in South Africa

If you're a high school student in South Africa, you might be wondering what careers are in demand and offer a good balance of income and lifestyle. Deciding what career pathway to pursue is one of the biggest decisions kids have to make. It’s normal for teens to feel conflicted and overwhelmed by the choices available. 

We have a few tools available to help high school learners better understand their strengths and areas of interest to help them make informed career choices, these include: 

In this article, we're going to take a look at some potential career choices based on what jobs are currently in high demand in South Africa.

1. Information Technology (IT) and Software Development

A career in information technology (IT) and software development involves using technology to solve problems and improve business operations. As technology advances jobs in the technology industry have seen an increase in demand. 

A career in IT and software development involves:

  • designing, developing and maintaining software applications and systems,
  • troubleshooting and resolving technical issues, 
  • collaborating with teams, 
  • writing and debugging code, 
  • managing databases and servers, 
  • creating and maintaining documentation, 
  • keeping up-to-date with new technologies and industry trends, 
  • continuously improving the performance and scalability of applications and ensuring compliance with security and data privacy regulations.

IT and software development professionals can work in a variety of settings, including large corporations, small businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organisations. They may also work as independent contractors or consultants. 

It can include different roles such as software developer, system administrator, cybersecurity analyst, network engineer, and many more.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in software development or IT, there are a few subjects that you can take in high school to help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field, these include:

2. Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Engineering

A career in Mechanical, Electrical and Civil engineering involves the design, development, and maintenance of various structures, systems, and machines. 

  • Mechanical engineers focus on designing and developing mechanical systems such as engines, machines, and tools. 
  • Electrical engineers focus on designing and developing electrical systems such as power generation, transmission, and distribution systems. 
  • Civil engineers focus on designing and developing infrastructure such as buildings, roads, bridges, and other public works. 

These professions involve the application of mathematical and scientific principles to design, plan, construct, maintain and improve structures, systems and machines. They need to work closely with other teams, including architects and construction workers, to ensure the projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standards.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in mechanical, electrical or civil engineering, there are a few subjects that you can take in high school to help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field, these include:

3. Finance and Accounting

A career in finance and accounting involves managing financial resources and providing advice on financial matters. Professionals in this field may work in a variety of roles including financial analysts, accountants and financial managers. 

They are responsible for analysing financial data, preparing financial reports, creating budgets, managing investments and providing financial advice. They work with financial statements, tax returns and other financial documents to ensure that they are accurate and conform to regulations. 

They also assist in forecasting future financial performance and identifying areas where cost savings can be made. They are expected to have strong analytical skills, good attention to detail, and be able to communicate complex financial information in a clear and concise manner. They also need to stay up-to-date with relevant laws and regulations.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in finance and accounting, there are a few subjects that you can take in high school to help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field, these include:

4. Healthcare and Medicine

A career in healthcare and medicine involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness and injury. 

Professionals in this field may work in a variety of roles including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners. They work to promote health and well-being by providing care, treatment, and support to patients. 

They are responsible for examining patients, taking medical histories, prescribing medications, and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. They also provide advice on lifestyle changes and preventative care. 

They work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. They are expected to have strong communication skills, be empathetic and have the desire to help others. They need to stay up-to-date with the latest medical research and advancements in technology to provide the best care possible.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and medicine, there are a few subjects that you can take in high school to help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field, these include:

Some of the subjects that can be helpful to take at school include:

5. Sales and Marketing

A career in sales and marketing entails promoting and selling products or services to customers. 

Sales and marketing professionals work to identify potential customers, understand their needs, and develop strategies to promote and sell products or services that meet those needs. They develop and implement marketing campaigns, conduct market research, and analyse data to understand consumer behaviour and preferences. 

  • Sales professionals actively seek out new clients and work to maintain positive relationships with existing customers. They may also be responsible for negotiating prices and closing deals. 
  • Marketing professionals focus on developing and executing marketing strategies, creating and distributing marketing materials, and working with other teams to develop and implement advertising campaigns. 

Both sales and marketing professionals work together to understand market trends, develop and implement sales and marketing strategies, and ultimately increase revenue for their companies. 

If you're interested in pursuing a career in sales and marketing, there are a few subjects that you can take in high school to help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field, these include:

  • Business Studies
  • English 
  • Mathematics
  • Economics

6. Human Resources

A career in human resources (HR) entails managing and administering a company's employee-related activities. Professionals in this field may work in a variety of roles including HR, recruitment, and benefits administration. 

They are responsible for recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, as well as managing employee relations, benefits, and compensation. They work closely with managers and employees to resolve issues and promote positive workplace culture. They also design and implement policies and procedures to ensure compliance with labour laws and regulations. 

They are expected to have strong communication and interpersonal skills, be empathetic and have the desire to help others. They need to stay up-to-date with the latest employment laws and trends to provide the best support for their company and employees.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in human resources, there are a few subjects that can help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field. These include: 

  • Business Studies
  • English 
  • Mathematics

7. Supply Chain Management and Logistics

A career in supply chain and logistics entails the management and coordination of the flow of goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption. 

Professionals in this field may work in a variety of roles including logistics coordinators, supply chain managers, and transportation planners. They are responsible for planning, coordinating and overseeing the movement of goods and materials from suppliers to customers. 

They work to optimise the efficiency of the supply chain by identifying bottlenecks, reducing costs, and improving delivery times. They also work with other departments, such as sales and production, to ensure that inventory levels are sufficient to meet customer demand. 

They also need to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, laws and regulations to maintain efficient and compliant supply chain operations.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in human resources, there are a few subjects that can help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field. These include: 

8. Project Management

A career in project management entails planning, organising, and overseeing projects from start to finish. 

This includes tasks such as developing project plans, setting goals and objectives, identifying and allocating resources, managing budgets and timelines, and monitoring progress. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that projects are completed on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of stakeholders. They also need to anticipate and manage any issues that arise during the project and make sure that the project team is working effectively. 

Project managers often work across multiple departments and organisations and need to have strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. They must be able to effectively manage the project schedule, budget and quality, as well as lead and motivate the project team. They also need to be able to make difficult decisions, balance competing priorities and manage risk.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in project management, there are a few subjects that can help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field. These include: 

  • Business Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • English 

9. Mining and Minerals

A career in mining and minerals involves extracting and processing valuable minerals from the earth. This can include working in mines that extract minerals such as coal, gold, and copper, or working in mineral processing facilities to refine and process raw materials. 

Roles within the industry include geology, surveying and environmental management. It also involves planning, management, and supervision of the mining activities.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in human resources, there are a few subjects that can help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field. These include: 

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Computer science

10. Tourism and Hospitality

A career in tourism and hospitality can include a wide range of roles within the travel and leisure industry. This includes positions in hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other related businesses such as spas, theme parks, and cruise ships. 

Some examples of job titles in this field include hotel manager, tour guide, travel agent, event planner, and food and beverage manager.

Tourism and hospitality professionals are responsible for providing excellent customer service and ensuring that guests have a pleasant and memorable experience. This may involve making reservations, handling customer complaints and inquiries, and providing information about local attractions and activities.

Individuals in this field often work in fast-paced, customer-facing environments, and need to be able to work well under pressure and have good problem-solving skills. Additionally, being able to work well in a team and having excellent communication and interpersonal skills are also important to be successful in this field.

A career in tourism and hospitality also often involves a lot of interaction with people from different cultures and backgrounds, thus a good command of languages and the ability to adapt to different environments will be an asset.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in human resources, there are a few subjects that can help you develop the skills and knowledge you'll need for this field. These include: 

Additionally, having good communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills are also important to be successful in this field. Practical experience through internships or part-time jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry can also be very beneficial in building a career in this field.

Some colleges or universities may have different admission requirements, so it's best to check with the institution you're interested in for more information. 

It is also important to remember that, industries are constantly evolving and professionals in all fields will need to continuously learn and adapt to new technologies and industry trends to stay current and competitive in their job roles.

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Top careers in South Africa

Everything you need to know about a personalised education through online learning & homeschooling