by Rumbidzaishe Maisva (QA)
In honour of women’s month and in celebration of the strength demonstrated by the women of South Africa in 1956, we decided to put the spotlight on some of the women of Global Kinetic and asked them to share their stories and their advice to other women wanting to enter the tech industry
How did you get started in tech?
My journey to tech was an interesting one. I didn’t even know I was heading to IT. Like many other children, I had an ever-changing future career. It went from air hostess to actuarial scientist to psychologist and to many others. I first discovered my love for IT in University in the middle of a double major in Accounting and Computer Science. I considered being an auditor or an accountant because I come from a family of accountants – mum, dad and my brother were all accountants at some point. However; I realised my highest grades were in Computer Science. My passion for it grew with every distinction and I started considering a career in tech.
One of my lecturers recommended me for an interview with a tech company when I was doing my Honours. I went for the interview; it was an amazing company and I got the job as a Quality Assurance Analyst (a role I didn’t even know existed before preparing for that interview). Thus, began my amazing journey in tech.
What were/are the challenges you face?
I’m not sure if it’s working in what is deemed to be a male dominated industry or just a confidence issue at the root of it that creeps up, but I know at least 3 in 5 women who have Imposter Syndrome. That never-ending feeling that you are not good enough, you are just lucky, and you will be exposed as a fraud even though you work really hard and people keep telling you “you are doing a great job”. I have been there before. I started tracking my career and looking up to women in the industry and realised if they can do it I can to. I have been very fortunate to encounter well-established women in tech who want to mentor me. Thus; my confidence built with my interactions with them and that total shift of focus from internalising what I thought everyone around me was thinking to achieving has been a game-changer for my career.
Another challenge I have heard women in STEM face is company cultures that are not inclusive. Stories I have heard include views of women not being considered valuable to their male counterparts. I am very fortunate to have worked with 2 companies that value people and make inclusiveness part of their value system.
What do you love about working in the tech industry?
Tech is the industry to be in. If that Google movie (The Intern) didn’t sell it to you, I’m not sure what will. My personal favourites are:
- Working flexi-hours. I know the peak points of my productivity and sometimes life takes over like needing an hour to go help family. I feel like flexi-hours is such a realistic concept of how not every single day is the same and it builds on the fact that the company trusts that you are self-motivated and will accomplish your tasks.
- Challenging and rewarding work. I am challenged every single day at work when I am problem solving and discovering new things. I absolutely enjoy the rewarding feeling of having solved a problem and creating something so beautiful with words(code).
- Working with amazing personalities. I work with the best personalities, people who think in a way that challenges some of my ways of doing things. I am not sure what the other industries are like, but I have definitely always felt lucky to be around people who are not afraid to be who they are and even be quirky.
- Always being ahead of the curve. The world is always changing and working in a tech company that enjoys working with new technologies means we are always ahead of the curve and trying and discovering new things.
Your advice to other women in the industry/girls wanting to join the industry
- Get your foot in the door. Forget what negative things you have heard, forget the fear and just go for your dream.
- 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) is here – you are making a great move. Have you seen how every industry is now affected by tech? You can never go wrong with having tech experience I believe.
- The narrative has changed – women have already paved the way. Women in the industry want to mentor you and the whole “male-dominated” narrative surely can’t be the reason you don’t want to pursue a career in Tech.
- Find a mentor in the industry. Actively seek to get a mentor in the industry – it will do you a world of good and give you great insight.