What qualifications do you need to become a developer in South Africa?

There are many routes into the tech industry. The traditional route of studying Computer Science or Engineering at university is now competing with a range of other learning paths, such as short courses, diplomas, certifications, and the ever-expanding world of online education. And as research has shown, developer salaries are worth achieving. 

 

South Africa’s education system operates under the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which recognises and categorises qualifications into levels of achievement ranging from NQF Level 1 (Grade 9 of high school) all the way to NQF Level 10 (Post-doctoral research degree). Below are qualifications that fit into the NQF in South Africa.

 

Short courses

 

Part-time online courses, internationally recognised and good CV-boosters.

 

FOR DEVELOPERS

There are hundreds of short courses to help you become a developer, some of them specialising in a particular area such as Java or Software Engineering

 

WHERE TO STUDY

Damelin, UNISA, Hyperion Development, CTI Education Group, Mancosa, Intec College

 

DURATION

3 – 9 months

 

COST

R8,000 to R15,000 per course

Higher Certificate NQF Level 5

 

Skills-based, typically industry-orientated, and could help propel you into the world of technology.

 

FOR DEVELOPERS

Higher Certificate in IT or Systems Network Engineering

 

WHERE TO STUDY

Please see a list of all the public Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges in South Africa here. Note that not all of these colleges will offer an IT-related qualification.

 

DURATION

1 year

 

COST

About R20,000 for a full certificate

 

National Diploma NQF Level 5

 

These are good qualifications in South Africa, and while they are a lot like degrees, they are more career-centric and practical.

 

FOR DEVELOPERS

National Diploma in IT or Software Development

 

WHERE TO STUDY

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Sol Plaatje University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Mpumalanga, Vaal University of Technology

 

DURATION

Usually 2 or 3 years full-time

 

COST

About R30,000 a year

 

Tech NQF Level 7


WHY

A practical-focused qualification that is an alternative to Bachelor degrees in South Africa, with less of a focus on theoretical Computer Science or Engineering knowledge.

 

FOR DEVELOPERS

B.Tech IT B.Tech Software Development

 

WHERE CAN I STUDY IT

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Central University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Sol Plaatje University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Mpumalanga, Vaal University of Technology

 

DURATION

1-year top-up following completion of a National Diploma

 

COST

Tuition varies upon university, with annual fees between R30,000 and R50,000 or more.

 

Bachelor’s Degree NQF Level 7

 

One of the more traditional route to becoming a developer is through studying a BSc, which aims to balance theoretical Computer Science with software development skills.

 

FOR DEVELOPERS

BSc Computer Science BSc IT

 

WHERE CAN I STUDY IT

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North West University, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare, University of Johannesburg, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand, University of the Free State, University of the Western Cape, Walter Sisulu University

 

DURATION

3 years full-time, 4 – 5 years part-time

 

COST

Annual fees vary between R30,000 and R50,000 or more.

 

Honours Degree NQF Level 8

 

Specialises in one subject and is at least 25% research.

 

WHERE TO STUDY

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North West University, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare, University of Johannesburg, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, University of Pretoria, University of Witwatersrand, University of the Free State, University of the Western Cape, Walter Sisulu University

 

DURATION

1-year top-up following completion of a Bachelor’s Degree

 

COST

Between R30,000 and R50,000

 

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