Why is STEM so important in SA right now?

Johannesburg, 25 May 2022
Read time 3min 10sec
Ralph de Bruijn, CRS IBM and Red Hat Training.
Ralph de Bruijn, CRS IBM and Red Hat Training.

Amid the most pressing challenges facing our world today is closing the STEM skills gap, which holds back technological growth and advancement.

You might find yourself asking what STEM is and why does it matter to me in the IT space, but let us first look at what STEM stands for.

It stands for science, technology, engineering and math. So, take a biology class in college and technically you are taking a class that is a part of STEM.

You need only look at the 2021 mathematics and science pass marks to understand why STEM is so important in South Africa right now.

The mathematics pass rate for matric in South Africa increased from 65.8% in 2020 to 69% in 2021. In contrast, the science results show an ever-so-slight dip from 75.5% in 2020 to 74.7% in 2021, according to the 2021 National Senior Certificate Results.

Therefore, we need to be putting more effort into teaching mathematics and science to our future selves so that we do not get left behind for the jobs of tomorrow.

As technologies continue to evolve and disrupt the business environment, jobs our parents dreamed of doing when they left school will no longer be the dream job our youth will be wanting to do when they leave school.

Jobs such as data scientist, cloud architect and virtual assistant did not even exist 15 years ago and are now high in demand. Just imagine what the next 15 years holds.

You might be thinking about how mathematics and science plays such a big part in all of this. 

Truth be told, fundamental maths and science are the keys to a job in any of the industries arising over the last few years and the next few years to come.

Having these basic skills will help you upskill in any of the emerging technologies and the technologies that have not even been thought of yet.

A dream job in one of the following fields – data scientist, cloud architect or virtual assistant – could be your gateway to making a brighter future for yourself. Perhaps not virtual assistant, unless you somehow work your way into being a part of the ever-growing virtual reality world such as Microsoft Mesh, and instead of being an AI-driven virtual assistant, you are there instead.

One of the big players betting big on the technologies of tomorrow is IBM; such a big player believes that STEM can address this issue by regularly engaging with the highest levels of government and other stakeholders to improve access to the education and skills required. Skills required for modern, rewarding jobs with critical skills by 2030. Now might be the right time for you to invest in the education and skills required to be ready to do the jobs of tomorrow and not be left behind.

Some of you might be thinking that your child has recently started high school. How can we, as parents, do more to assist them to be skilled in mathematics and science so that they can be ready for what is to come in the year 2030, or has this been a revelation for us to be doing more to help future generations be job-ready for what is to come?

Meet Ralph de Bruijn and Team CRS at the CRS Stand (09) at the ITWeb Security Summit 2022, to be held from 31 May to 2 June at the Sandton Convention Centre. And don’t forget to add your name to the draw for the R12 000 golf set giveaway. 

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