Becoming an Information Technology (IT) Manager in South Africa

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 Technology is taking over the world at a fast pace, close to every business and/or institution needs or consults with technology specialists to make sure their data is secured and updated. An Information Technology (IT) Manager, is responsible for setting up, administering, and troubleshooting the overall technological systems that a company utilizes to keep its computer and software networks running smoothly. Responding to hardware issues, changing system software, and tracking the data and communications utilized on their network are all part of their responsibilities. The following are common roles for IT managers: Examine diagnostics and evaluate system functioning and efficiency. Put in place security measures. Keep an eye on security certifications and the company's compliance with regulations. Provide technical assistance to corporate employees and fix computer issues. As needed, install, and upgrade corporate software and hardware.

How much does an average IT manager earn in South Africa?

Like all jobs, to make a comfortable living in this field, you'd have to have a considerable amount of experience and/or have your firm. In South Africa, an IT manager with years of experience and adequate qualifications would make around R66 209 per month to a starting salary of R32 300 per month. The city reported to pay the most for IT specialists/managers is Johannesburg (Gauteng), followed by Durban (Kwazulu Natal). They make approximately R493 555 per annum (on average). The salary can go up to a whopping R677 900. Overall IT managers make more than the average South African Salary which is R13 044 per month (in 2021). 

The difference between IT management and Computer Science.

These careers are often confused as they share similarities. For one, according to the majority of experts, there is no distinction between Computer Science and Information Technology. Computer Science is taught as an Engineering level course. If you want to study computer science, you'll need to study mathematics and science at a high. A clear distinction between these two careers is the salary they both produce; an average base salary of a computer science graduate is approximately R 198 801. A computer scientist with adequate experience and education can earn R893 000. 

Computer science degrees are designed to educate you on the fundamental scientific and mathematical principles that underpin computers and their programming. Designing software and hardware, mastering programming languages, data structures, and artificial intelligence ideas are all possible with a computer science degree. Mathematics, statistics, and engineering courses may be required for computer science degrees. Overall, in South Africa, Computer scientists are likely to earn more than IT specialists depending on their rank and/or years of experience. Note, Computer science generally takes more years to study and is found more challenging than IT in its own right. 

How to become an Information Technology Manager? 

Unlike some careers that are dying out and are becoming irrelevant, IT Managers are in great demand. According to various stats, this career is growing by 15% each year. To be admitted to a university or college, you are required to have a National Senior Certificate with a bachelor’s degree or a diploma pass. An English level of 3 (40 % to 49%), a level 4 (50% to 59%) in Mathematics or at least a level 5 (60% to 69%) in mathematical literacy and finally, a level 3 in Physical science. Of course, the higher the level of achievement the greater the chances of admission. The grades required for admission differ from institution to institution- more details will be given below. 

Bachelor's degree: Information Technology Managers must have a bachelor’s degree in a technical subject pertinent to their work. Computer science, engineering, information systems, and management information systems are all popular disciplines. Information Technology Managers will begin their careers by earning a bachelor's degree in an area linked to information science or computer science. Math, fundamental engineering, technology, and computer science are common subjects included in such programs. Note, having a diploma or degree in IT does not immediately lead you to be a manager. To be qualified and considered for such a position, getting an additional degree, preferably a master’s degree in this field or a field similar would lead to your curriculum vitae being more attractive to potential employers. 

Universities in South Africa that offer an undergraduate programme in Information Technology: 

University of Pretoria (UP)-Baccalaureus in Information Technology. 

A four-year programme that is the first of its kind in South Africa, requires a minimum APS score of 30 points. A level 5 (60% -69%) in Maths and Afrikaans/English and a level 4 in Life orientation. 

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)- offers a higher certificate, diploma, advanced diploma, and a Bachelor of Information technology. 

A three-year programme offered at the faculty of engineering, built environment and technology. To qualify, you need to have a minimum APS score of 370 and have mathematics or technical mathematics as one of your school-leaving subjects. Your percentage for the above subject/s must be at least 50%. 

North-West University (NWU)- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. 

The study period for this qualification is three years. To qualify for admission- the candidate must have a National Senior Certificate with university exemption for degree studies and an APS Score of at least 26. A level 4 (50-59%) in Mathematics

University of South Africa (UNISA)- offers a higher certificate, diploma, and degree. 

A National Senior Certificate (NSC) with a bachelors/diploma pass or equivalent with at least 50% average in the home language, 50% or more in Mathematics or at least N4 Mathematics passed with 50% or more and N4 English, or N4 Communication, or N4 Communication Technology passed with a minimum 50% to qualify for this programme. The maximum time to complete a Diploma in Information Technology is 8 years. 

Colleges and technical universities that offer an undergraduate programme in information technology:

1. Richfield Graduate Institution of Technology- Bachelor of Science in Information technology. 

A three-year diploma programme requires that the candidate possess a National Senior Certificate or anything equivalent with an endorsement for admission to a degree programme.  A pass in Maths and any Science subject. 

2. Mancosa- Bachelor of commerce in information and technology management. 

A three-year degree programme that requires a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate Vocational with suitable subject combinations and adequate grades.

3. Tshwane University of technology – National diploma in information technology. 

A three-year programme that requires a National Senior Certificate with a bachelor’s degree or a diploma pass or an equivalent qualification. An achievement level of at least a level 3 (40% -49%) for English (home language or first additional language) and a level 4 (50%- 59%) for Mathematics. Candidates with a level 3 (40% - 49%) for Mathematics or a minimum level 5 (60% -69%) for Mathematical Literacy can be considered for admission to the extended programme with is usually a year longer than the alternative programme.

4. Durban University of Technology- Higher certificate in Information technology. 

  • A one-year programme that requires a National Senior Certificate, with a level 3 (40% -49%) achievement of for English.

Skills that would be useful to have as an IT manager:

1. Technical Proficiency.
2. Ability to operate effectively under duress.
3. Negotiation Techniques.
4. Strong communication abilities. 
5. Organizational skills are essential.
6. Update and remain relevant through listening, learning, and communicating effectively.
7. Finance management skills.
8. Conflict Resolution Skills.
9. Project Management Expertise.
10. Writing and Presentation Skills.

Bursary opportunities for IT students (2022-2023).

Check out for a list of all the bursaries available and their requirements.


For a step-to-step guide on how to apply for NSFAS- click here

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