Are you future-fit for Cape Town’s tech-industry boom?

Cape Town is renowned globally for its natural beauty, sunny climate and bustling cultural scene. These days, however, it’s also becoming known for its ongoing efforts to flourish as Africa’s techno-fit hub – and with this it’s becoming a popular destination for “techpreneurs,” tech start-ups, remote workers, and students looking to grow their careers in the industry.

Initiatives like the Western Cape’s Digital Skills Shared Agenda for Action support the region’s goal of becoming a global digital economy leader, with discussions at last year’s Innovation Summit in Cape Town positioning the city as Africa’s “Silicon Valley” and a lucrative destination for international digital nomads.

The recent introduction of South Africa’s new nomad visa aims to further entice global tech companies to the city, recently named as one of the top 100 emerging start-up ecosystems, in the Global Start-up Ecosystem Report 2020 (GSER 2020).

All of this places Cape Town in a favourable position for global tech leaders to invest in locals’ digital skills; while the continued rise of local tech start-ups look to fill an increasing number of roles.

If you’re looking to be future-fit for the tech industry, you can level upyour aspiring career with the experience you need to confidently land a job in the tech industry of the future.

The city offers a library of learning opportunities, particularly covering ICT, a high-in-demand occupation included in the City of Cape Town’s Scarce Skills list for 2024. From degree programmes offered by universities and TVET colleges, to specialised workshops, academic events, and online courses, a variety of avenues are available to locals, as well as international and remote learners.

For one, Le Wagon, the world’s number one coding bootcamp, offers Web Development, Data Science & AI, and Data Analytics courses at its Cape Town campus. The bootcamps have been designed with the digital nomad in mind, making it possible for students to access it in-person or online.

“Since Le Wagon launched in Cape Town, it has been our mission to enable the greatest number of people to learn digital skills to change their lives, thrive in their careers, or even launch their tech projects,” says Ryan Brouwer, manager of Le Wagon Cape Town. “Since extending our coding school to Cape Town there has been a growing interest in our courses. The material is fully accessible in person or online and as easy as it is convenient to access from anywhere.”

“As Cape Town gains recognition as a technologically flourishing destination, we need to ensure that both locals and travelling digital learners can access educational material and achieve their goals with learning being their primary objective.”

For those looking to develop their digital skills or build on what they already know, here are some opportunities based in Cape Town to leverage these skills:

Be part of the conversation

Look for educational institutions and groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, particularly those based in your city, that regularly host webinars and in-person meetups at co-working locations in the city. These talks often address challenges experienced in various coding languages from a coding and user perspective, as well as topics like bootstrapping an eCommerce site or bridging the back-end/front-end divide. Try searching for FEDSA (Front-End Development South Africa) or similar groups.

Target your dream job early

Leading companies, such as Amazon and Takealot, host open days or networking events at their Cape Town headquarters. Tech start-ups like Specno also host networking events, where their founders and department heads lead talks about the start-up’s journey, the ins and outs of securing funding, and case studies of their clients’ digital transformations.

Check-in for careers weeks

Various (if not all) academic institutions host a number of open days and careers weeks each year. Le Wagon’s Demo Day and monthly networking events are some of the many cogs in the machine that helps get the ball rolling for their alumni. These initiatives prepare students for entering the job market, teaching them how to build their portfolios and resumes, and connecting them with potential employers.

Test your skills

Much like Cape Town is a hub for technological development, so too is its community support and love of hackathons. Western Cape-established organisations such as Silicon Cape, Innovation City and LaunchLab host community hackathons ideal for showcasing your knack for coding, and where prize money is sometimes at stake. Usually hosted in partnership with international companies, these events pose opportunities to be seen by talent seekers from across the world.