When talking about learning programming and the lucrative career opportunities this ever-growing industry offers, it’s inevitable that the conversation turns to the world of work abroad. Right now, many South Africans want options, especially for chances to work overseas from South Africa. Despite whatever conversation there is over the negativity in South Africa, one truth still stands strong: skills in programming and computer science are an unrivalled path into a career that is highly mobile and incredibly rewarding.
So, whether you’re in the #ImStaying crowd, or already applying for your visa, there’s plenty of reasons to consider programming as the pivotal part of a better tomorrow.
Emigrating from South Africa to the UK
This is the primary go-to location for South Africans looking to work overseas from South Africa or to emigrate. An often overlooked piece of news that comes out of the UK at the start of the new year is the wholesale update to existing policy documents – one of which is the piece of paper which is central to the whole question of emigrating to the UK. This is the Shortage Occupation List, a comprehensive and codified document that outlines all occupations that are in high demand in the UK – and since the prospects of Brexit first broke four years ago this is a document that has only increased in length, with developer and IT-related specialist fields now including ‘All jobs in this occupation code’. That means that, no matter which language or framework you specialise in, there’s a good chance of a bright future in Britain.
UK developer jobs are among the most highly paid positions in the world, with an average salary of £30,915 a month, with other sources stating that a UK-based developer can take home 145% more money than other jobs. The closer you get to the central IT hub of the English economy, London, the more you earn: London-based programmers can make nearly 30% more than they would anywhere else in the country.
There’s a lot of opportunity on the shores of Great Britain: opportunity that has even been seized by past students of ours who started in careers totally unrelated to programming, such as teaching. What’s to say you can’t do the same?
Emigrating from South Africa to the United States
Despite the projected downturn in growth for local developers in the US market, developers and programmers take home an eye-watering figure. Even with the size of the US and the variance of pay and work demand from state to state, developers coding in America can take home anywhere between $63,000 and $81,000 a month on average, with government estimates for median pay slated at $84,000 (that means you’re more than likely to earn closer to the high end of the averages than the low end). What’s more, the overwhelming majority of highest-paying states for dev jobs in the US have all enjoyed significant salary growth in the past year, especially when compared to all other occupations.
Of course, these bright prospects are somewhat dulled by the convoluted US visa system, with its multiple tiers and codes each with their own work and/or work exchange programs. If you’re thinking about taking your career to the land of the free, your best bet is to first familiarise yourself with the long list of visas, and whether or not your field of tech expertise falls into eligible categories.
Emigrating from South Africa to New Zealand
Given the global interest of other first-world nations to be the world leaders in all things programming, New Zealand has similarly expanded its interests in snapping up talented developers and programmers. While its own lists of shortage occupations and critical skills are growing, the New Zealand government has been quick to announce that its doors are open, with determined efforts to turn its homeland into “a breeding ground for innovation [that] competes successfully on the world stage” – and their industry reflects this attitude, with a positive sector growth of 12% in the last year alone.
Salaries in New Zealand stand at around NZ$76,000 a year, and with three years’ experience in a programming field prospective or emigrating jobseekers can get quick access to the country on a Skilled Migrant Category visa for a whole range of IT and development-related positions, including web development, software engineering, systems analysis, or even software testing!
Emigrating from South Africa to Australia
Finally, there’s Australia, where developer salaries can start at AU$68,830 according to Payscale – a figure that seems somewhat conservative, given Glassdoor’s stated salary average for web developers to be closer to AU$124,000 a year.
Just like its neighbour to the North and its tech rivals to the east and west, Australia wants to be at the forefront of the digital frontier, and is hungry for talent. It’s list of skilled occupations – which qualify for work visas – has similarly expanded to include a wider range of programming and development jobs than previous years.
Growing opportunities right here in South Africa
Whatever you read in the papers about SA or our economic situation, there’s one simple truth: it pays to know how to code. Payscale reports that the average salary for a software developer in South Africa is R307,734 per year, with our own Graduate Outcomes Report from 2018 showing that on average our grads were able to double their salaries with a change in career to tech. Plus, there isn’t a huge disparity in developer salaries between our two largest metropoles, with the earning capacity of developer jobs in both Cape Town and Joburg showing that the industry’s slow expansion is pushing even junior positions into higher earning brackets in comparison to previous years.
And if things improve with loadshedding, the economy, and life in SA, the devs looking to work overseas from South Africa will find themselves in a position to snap up the lion’s share of work flooding in (digitally) from abroad. With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a decline of over 7% in industry growth for US-based programmers as American companies look overseas for cheaper coding labour, there’s a wave of opportunity heading for locally-based programmers who have the skills to deliver high-quality code to overseas digital giants. Even if things don’t turn around in SA, these developers’ new proficiency in high-demand programming languages means they are well equipped to make a better informed decision about their work future overseas, as more foreign territories expand their lists of IT-related critical skills for priority work placements.
A world of opportunity, no matter where you are
Regardless of your decision to explore greener pastures overseas, or set yourself up to take advantage of growth opportunities in SA, there’s no doubt that learning to code is probably the best decision you can make. The earning potential, the freedom to work remotely, and the career mobility that allows you to work overseas from South Africa across the world are simply unrivalled by any other career out there.
If you’re looking to get the skills that rank at the tops of nearly all the world’s government’s critical skills lists, why not look at our Web Developer, Software Engineer and Data Science bootcamps? They’re specially designed to teach industry-grade skills that get you hired, even if you’ve never read a line of code in your life. Our expert mentors guide you through an intensive program that teaches you practical skills for real-life development problems, and nurture your coding skills to go from Hello World to Hello… wherever you decide to work one day. Best of all, these bootcamps fit into your busy life and schedule, and can be completed online or on-site, full time or part time.
Click here to speak to one of our expert consultants who can find out which programming career is your best fit, or register for your free trial to learn the basics to get you started on your path, with no commitment.