SA Tech news roundup: Growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, employees fed up with tech at work, and women in ICT get a cash boost

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Cybersecurity survey reveals new opportunities for diverse talent in South Africa.

Despite the fact that 85 percent of IT professionals have degrees in IT and computer science technology, more than half of cybersecurity professionals believe that a university degree is not required for a successful career in cybersecurity.

According to research conducted on behalf of Trellix, which provides an extended detection and response (XDR) approach to protecting private and public entities from cybercriminals, 45 percent of those surveyed said they had previously worked in careers and professions other than cybersecurity, though more than half had roles in more general information technology environments.

A little more than a third of the professionals surveyed felt that society does not recognise the value of their work. Furthermore, despite a growing demand for security-related roles, more than 90 percent of cybersecurity professionals believe there is a skills gap in their profession, and more than a third believe there is limited support for the qualifications and certifications required to enter the industry.

Employees frustrated by tech at work

Research conducted by software company Ivanti has revealed that workers have become increasingly frustrated by the tech provided to them in the workplace. Ivanti’s digital employee experience (DEX) study has found that 49 percent of employees are frustrated by tech at work, and 26 percent are even considering leaving their job because of it.

The study also discovered that 64 percent of employees believe their experience with technology has an impact on their morale, only 20 percent of excos put budget toward improving the digital employee experience, and only 21 percent of IT leaders prioritise end-user experience when selecting a tool.

The study examined some of the major challenges organisations faced when introducing new technology, including its adoption. The top challenges reported by office workers include too many emails or chat messages (28 percent), a lack of connection to coworkers (27 percent), and software not working properly (23 percent).

Despite these challenges and executive scepticism, all groups reported being more productive in the era of hybrid work, highlighting the fact that it is not the place of work that affects productivity, but the experience that people have when interacting with technology.

According to Jeff Abbott, CEO of Ivanti, hybrid workplaces have forever changed employee expectations, and the growing variety of devices and networks that hybrid workers use has significantly increased the inventory of assets that IT teams must manage.

However, 32 percent of IT professionals still use spreadsheets to track these assets, and only 47 percent agree that their organisations have complete visibility into every device that attempts to connect to their network.

One of the most difficult challenges for IT leaders today is to provide a seamless end-user experience while maintaining strong security. When there is pressure from the top to circumvent security measures, the challenge becomes more complex, with 49 percent of C-level executives reporting they have requested to circumvent one or more security measures in the last year.

MTN Foundation backs women in ICT

MTN SA Foundation has pledged R1 million to support women’s digital economy innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation. The foundation will provide finance, mentorship, and other business support resources to 10 less-established, female-owned, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the 2022 Women in Digital Business Challenge.

The initiative, according to the telecoms giant, is part of the MTN Group’s commitment to developing ICT SMEs on the continent and aims to foster an entrepreneurial mindset by providing R100,000 to 10 SME candidates for working capital needs, business development, tangible assets, business advancing technology/software, or IP.

According to the foundation, 70 percent of the funds will go directly to the business as a cash injection, with the remaining 30 percent going toward support and mentoring.

Although women make up 13 percent of graduates from South African tertiary institutions with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). MTN has observed a lack of postgraduate digital exposure and career guidance, which poses a challenge for women pursuing ICT-related careers or entrepreneurship opportunities.

Angie Maloka, senior manager: community programmes at MTN SA Foundation, believes that removing barriers to women entering STEM fields will address both South Africa’s massive ICT skills gap and its high unemployment rate.

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