Written by Global Kinetic on August 19, 2020

Her Story: Elaine Ernst (iOS Developer)

by Elaine Ernst (iOS Developer)

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?

I have always been interested in computers.  Just like any youngster, I despised doing homework and dreamed of creating a robot that could complete my homework for me.  I would often open my PC or Sega console because I was curious about how these machines work. Needless to say, I have not successfully constructed that homework robot.

During my matric year, I enrolled at the University of Pretoria in Computer Engineering, but life handed me a curveball. My brother passed away in that same year and I could not muster the strength to go study. I took a gap year in the hairdressing industry where I remained for a good 3 years before I realised I had to pursue my passion.

I enrolled in an undergraduate degree in Megatronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch.  However, during my second year of study, I was presented with an opportunity as an intern which I couldn't refuse. At that point in time, I did not have the faintest idea of what Objective C was, but I had to learn quickly.  Short courses, quick courses, online courses - I really burned the midnight oil and was determined to make a success of the opportunity.

What do you love about working in the tech industry?
  • There are no grey areas working in tech. You can solve problems with a logical, analytical approach.
  • It is a fast-paced industry, there is never a dull moment.
What were the challenges you faced as a woman in tech?

The biggest challenge you face as a female in a male-dominated industry is to have your voice heard. Unfortunately, our opinions don't always carry the same weight as our male counterparts. You really have to fight hard to make your mark and be taken seriously.

What is your advice to other women?

Don't take remarks and comments personally. Remember, it is only business.

You will have to be headstrong in the industry.  My mother always says: "You teach people how to treat you".  Don't tolerate disrespectful, domineering behaviour from colleagues, full stop.

Never give up on your dream.

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