Unemployment is one of South Africa’s major challenges. According to Stats SA, the youth unemployment rate, specifically, sits at 34.1%. This means that 2.5 million young people are jobless, and it is alarming.
In efforts to combat youth unemployment, the focus has to be redirected towards jobs of the future given that the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR – the automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using technology) is ushering industries of the future and these can provide ample opportunities for youth and aid the economy.
At the heart of digital transformation are the technology solutions that enable it. However, the innovation and use of these digital technologies in bettering how we live require highly skilled people.
With over 28 000 digital and ICT jobs being outsourced to other countries, this has resulted in a loss of R8,5 billion in export revenue, according to research by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. A shortage of ICT skills has a direct bearing on employability in the industry and on driving economic growth.
For our own economy to thrive in the context of the digital era, the growing demand for many kinds of digital skills which form part of the fabric of 4IR has to be addressed head-on. Corporates and government are therefore making inroads into upskilling more young people with ICT skills.
With its National Digital and Future Skills Strategy for South Africa, the South African government has developed a framework outlining measures to be taken to equip youth with necessary skills for the digital future. In the private sector, corporates have invested in various programmes or academic institution partnerships aimed at upskilling youth in cloud technologies, cybersecurity, and networking among other skills. ICT skills development presents youth with an opportunity to take advantage of technology in the face of digital disruption to innovate and bridge the gap of unemployment. By using ICT skills and creativity to innovate solutions, integrating hardware and software technologies, human and social needs can be addressed uniquely in ways that can be monetised and can drive economic activity among youth.
For instance, software developers develop applications that address human needs efficiently, so their skills can be of great demand. They play an important role in creating digital experiences. By analysing users’ needs and then using their skills to design and develop software to meet those needs, developers solve numerous challenges and make life simpler and more convenient.
The challenges and limitations experienced during lockdown exemplified this importance. When the world had come to a standstill and people could no longer do a lot of things, they heavily relied on software such as mobile apps to conveniently do what they needed to do without hassle.
With smartphones and their software virtually being an extension of their users, they rely on them for nearly everything. Without apps, smartphones would lack real purpose and true value for users.
The mobile app development landscape in particular, is one which unemployed youth with the right kind of skills can tap into and create business opportunities for themselves. A company like HUAWEI has given focus to equipping the local developer community with infrastructure, guidance, and support in efforts to create a thriving space.
If the global app downloads stat from HUAWEI of 390 billion is anything to go by, demand is high and the need exists for apps to address all manner of life’s problems, challenges and needs.
Innovating and developing apps has the potential to generate good revenue in various ways whether it is through paid downloads, in-app purchases or in-app advertising, for instance.
Through its Developer Programme, which provides comprehensive support, HUAWEI is empowering app developers by putting their skills to use, providing them with resources, and giving them the platform to innovate from scratch in building the entire app lifecycle from ideation to development.
One of the key services provided is HMS Core, which offers an extensive variety of 24 app services and capabilities such as Account Kit, Ads Kit, In-App Purchases Kit, and Push Kit, just to name a few, which developers can integrate into their apps to provide unique, high-quality experiences for users.
Offering easier development, multitudes of developers are using the HUAWEI Developer platform to innovate, develop and monetise their apps with access to Huawei’s massive user base.
The platform also includes various services and resources for them to develop and promote their apps on Huawei’s official app hosting and distribution platform, HUAWEI AppGallery, which has rolled out more than 80 000 apps to date. This number continues to increase every day.
HUAWEI also has various programmes in place that are helpful for the developer community, such as HUAWEI Developer Groups, which provides a platform for in-depth exchange and collaboration among developers, training workshops, and monthly newsletters, which contain the latest news and helpful resources.
Through these programmes, developers all around the world get to connect and share ideas. Over one million developers are registered with HUAWEI.
The app development industry is viable for driving innovation and economic empowerment simultaneously among youth. With youth’s ICT skills and the availability of platforms to innovate, unemployment in South Africa can be lessened, and jobs of the future can be secured. If you would like to find out more about the HUAWEI Developer Programme, and what it can offer you as an app developer, click here.