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Jobs data shows digital rising in South Africa

Recent research into digital jobs in South Africa by Adzuna shows that the average salary on digital vacancies has grown from around R330,000 in 2017 to R420,562 in February 2018, indicating that the industry is coming of age.

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While many may argue that South Africa is not on international digital industry pacing, others will firmly show, giving evidence, that this is not the case. For example, the latter will cite numerous large-scale digital companies that have sold to even bigger international players in recent years, as well as an increasingly growing entrepreneurial tech sector, plus the fact that companies are spending more on digital marketing than ever before.

And as the industry moves ahead strongly, a factor of this growth is whether or not the country can produce the skills required for new vacancies that firms have to push their new initiatives. More importantly, are these skills local or foreign? Digital training firm Webgrowth attests to that, with CEO Neil Pursey commenting that around 56% of all students are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

Recent research into digital jobs in South Africa by online job aggregator Adzuna shows that the average salary on digital vacancies has grown from around R330,000 in 2017 to R420,562 in February 2018. While it dipped in March 2018 to R393,153, it gained back to R410,509 in mid-April 2018. The results are deemed quite accurate, since logic dictates that digital jobs are almost all advertised online and not offline.

Such large growth is often indicative of an industry that is coming of age, where skills are more readily available and more qualified individuals exist with better qualifications and experience.

However, the average salary in Gauteng has crept up faster to R456,023, much higher that the Western Cape, where R352,400 was recorded, supporting the old argument that Joburg whips Cape Town on the payscales.

Partly, this could be due to the high amount of senior roles at high salaries now available in the north of South Africa. A full sixth (17%) of the digital opportunities listed were in the range of R700,000 and above on an annual salary basis. Job adverts for example for “Head of Digital” and “Senior Digital Consultant” have not been as forthcoming in 2014 as they are now. Again, the percentage was 20% in Gauteng, while only 13% of vacancies were in the highest salary bracket in the Cape.

Many digital “gurus” apparently feel that despite salaries, the Cape is the place to be, with more digital company activity down south. The numbers felt differently, and Gauteng led with almost 1,250 job opportunities, while the Western Cape trailed with 892 and KZN slumped in at 152. The other provinces do not feature in the numbers much at all.

This effectively translates into Gauteng hosting over 50% of the countries digital jobs. It also demonstrates how Gauteng together with the Western Cape and KZN claim over 97% of the country’s digital vacancies. Of all the job ads, the most prominent positions were either in digital marketing (just over 20%) or fitted somehow into the digital media space (around 15%).

For those now despondent that perhaps they are not earning what they should be, or living and working where they should be, consolation lies in the fact that the digital industry generally earns above the national average salary, by around 20%.

Digital skills have grown phenomenally in South Africa, for many reasons. More companies are spending more each year on advertising and other digital exploits, pushing the requirements for skills higher, while more experienced and better qualified job seekers are coming to the fore, having trained at institutions such as Webgrowth. South Africa’s digital future is bright!

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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