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With all the talk about ‘big data’ and data analysts being the latest in-demand role for the future, job aggregator Adzuna has uncovered one surprising position that is currently outdoing the rest.

According to IBM, the annual demand for data scientists, data developers and data engineers will lead to 700,000 new openings by 2020.

Meanwhile, Amr Kamel, a GM for Microsoft covering Africa said that with data volumes growing at a rate of 40% per year due to the growing popularity of the cloud, people who can analyse and process all this information are in high demand.

“In fact, data scientist has been named the best job in America for three years running, with an average job satisfaction score of 4.2 out of five according to Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs In America For 2018.

“According to the Africa Data Forum, there is a shortage of data science skills on the continent compared to the growing demand for data analytics. This presents an opportunity for African citizens to find employment if they are simply able to acquire these much-needed skills,” Kamel said.

However, research compiled by Adzuna shows that demand for ‘data’ vacancies across the board has in fact decreased over the past year – as have average salaries.

In fact, positions for ‘data analyst’ are down by 15% compared to similar data for September 2017, it said.

“This does not necessarily mean that ‘data’ positions are not needed – they definitely are – but companies have probably worked out what they require and have already found talent or worked out how to tackle their data needs through outsourcing,” said Adzuna’s country manager, Jesse Green.

While most of the opportunities in the ‘data’ sphere have seen decreased demand from companies and recruiters, the only significant increase is for the title of ‘data architect‘.

There was a marked upswing of almost 30% in average salary (up by 29.8%) and a staggering 91% in roles requiring this title, Adzuna said.

And the average salary for data architect jobs in South Africa has risen to R620,143.

While companies have placed adverts for the skills, only about 100 searches in every month correlate to the ‘data’ industry, indicating a very low supply of skills in SA. This could explain why salaries overall for data skills have dipped, since standing at R490,932 in September 2017, to R437,015 by May, a decline of 11%, it said.

“It appears thus that firms require higher levels of skill to form the solution they require, but once this is implemented, the data indicates that companies focus on lower-salaried positions to fill the maintenance teams that uphold their data solutions.

“Meanwhile, data architects seem to be the new, refined, sought-after skill within the data arena, Green said.

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