South Africa’s first testathon to be held in Cape Town

Crowdsourced testing company Global App Testing is organising South Africa’s first Testathon in Testathon photoCape Town in collaboration with Facebook. The event will be held on 24 June – interested testers can apply here: http://testathon.co/more-info-cape-town/

“A Testathon is like a hackathon but specifically for testers,” says Owais Peer, co-founder of Global App Testing. “A lot of our tester community have told us they don’t get invited to hackathons, despite it being such an important part of the developer community”.

The Testathon event aims to bring together the best testers in the world so they can learn from best practice, network and win prizes (iPhones, Samsung phones, tablets, drones, headphones) whilst trying to break real apps.

“We’ll have 50 testers from Cape Town all competing to find bugs in some great apps,” notes Owais. “We’ve organised events with Dropbox in San Francisco, Spotify in Stockholm and now it’s time for Facebook in Cape Town. The support from the testing community has been great!”

The aim is to bring the very best testers together to:
1. learn best practice;
2. connect and network together and
3. win prizes by doing what they love.

The best testers will be awarded prizes for a whole host of categories including ‘Best QA’ and ‘Best Quality Bug Report’.

After mixing with the best testers in the UK, US and Sweden the South African testing community is going to be put to the test. “It’ll be a big challenge to find great bugs on the day but when you put together the best testers in the world, you’re bound to find something”, comments Owais.

Best part? It’s free.

To get an idea of how it works, check out this Testathon run with the Spotify team in Sweden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt39KucH5VA

 

Yvonne Dias

Name: Yvonne Dias

Yvonne Dias

Designation: Solutions Director

Company: Mint Management Technologies

What do you do every day? During my career with Mint I have controlled the financials of the business and ensuring that corporate compliance and growth were the two fundamental constructs on which the business has been built. I oversee the governance and HR side of the business, in addition to the financial team.  Recently, a change in leadership at Mint afforded me an opportunity to take on operational duties within our Mobile Application Solutions business, which has allowed me to expand my financial skills into business acumen and management. Since then I have driven the dynamic solutions team in securing bigger clients who utilise our DotGo range with their sales force in the pharmaceutical and property evaluation industries.

How did you get into the tech space? During my articles I gained a lot of exposure in different industries and realised that the IT space was a very dynamic and interesting. I was fortunate to be offered a position within the industry over ten years ago, and I have continued my career growth within IT.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? There were a few things, but the one that stands out is to know yourself well and learn to control yourself to influence the environment around you. Do not try to control your environment, you will never win or change it. Focus on what you can control, and consequently you will be happy and always obtain job satisfaction.

 What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Have a passion for technology and be driven. There are so many different areas within IT, you do not only have to be a developer – you can go into finance, design, consulting, project management, and so on. The career opportunities are endless, but you need to have the drive.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The fact that I make a difference in my environment and add value to every interaction I have.

 Who do you want to be when you grow up? The best version of myself.

Website: http://www.mint.co.za/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/YvonneDias

 

WOMEN START-UP ENTREPRENEURS: WIN THE ULTIMATE START-UP PRIZE

WOMEN START-UP ENTREPRENEURS: WIN THE ULTIMATE START-UP PRIZE

South African women tech-innovators should take note of an amazing business development opportunity with the chance to win the ultimate start-up prize for their technology driven businesses –  thanks to the ‘Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa’ initiative of the Embassy of Israel.

This competition is open to all South African women who are the founders or senior managers of any company in the hi-tech field which is in early stage seed funding. This year the competition has a particular focus on women tech leaders and aims to reward innovation and entrepreneurship in the hi-tech sector.

The prize is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Israel for a full week of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities with some of the world’s leading tech and start-up experts.  The winner will travel to Israel for and intense, all-expense-paid, five-day startup experience in the heart of Tel Aviv in September 2016, during the exciting and innovative DLD Festival.

‘Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa’ has selected a team of internationally respected judges to select one woman who is actively involved in an innovative company that has developed a unique, sustainable and scalable technology driven business.

Judges on the panel include; Noluthando Gosa, former Investment Analyst and a longstanding member of a number of professional organisations like the Institute of Directors of South Africa; Business Women’s Association of SA (Gauteng) and the Black Business Council, Tanya Kovarsky, the PR and Communications Lead of Core Group and an award-winning parenting blogger with more than 12 years of experience in magazine and newspaper journalism, Hillary Joffe, who is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most talented financial journalists, Toby Shapshack, Described by GQ as “the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” and one of South Africa’s top 30 men in media, and Arthur Goldstuck, award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator and head of the World Wide Worx Organisation.

The judges will be looking for a truly innovative business spearheaded by a woman, as explained further by one of the judges, the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Ambassador Arthur Lenk: “Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa, now in its 3rd year, aims to share the energy of Israel’s start-up culture with women in the tech-sector of South Africa through supporting truly innovative start-ups. We know that in South Africa there are widely creative people who will gain from exposure to the world renowned innovation eco-system in Tel Aviv.

Our Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa content is of benefit to both South Africa and Israel by highlighting the benefits of outside the box  creative thinking and honouring the best new woman ‘startupist’ in South Africa.”

The prize winner will travel to the DLD Festival in Tel Aviv to participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli investors and professionals. The winning start-up experience takes place during the DLD Festival week (www.dldtelaviv.com), Israel’s largest international hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VC’s, angel investors and leading multinationals including top technological talent, the highest venture capital investments per capita and multi national centers for industry leaders such as Intel, Google, and Microsoft, Kimberly Clark, Amazon, GM, Amdocs, Facebook and more.

The South African winner will have the opportunity to meet the coolest and smartest companies, techies, investors, designers, artists, scientists, and cultural drivers from Israel and abroad.

For more information and to enter, visit http://startuptelavivsouthafrica.com/

CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES IS Friday the 3rd June 2016

Karen Booth

Name: Karen Booth

Karen Booth

Designation: Consulting Services Director

Company: Britehouse

What do you do every day? At work I manage an awesome team of technology subject matter experts in various fields such as Human Capital Management, Customer Engagement, Governance, Risk and Control, Analytics and Supply Chain.  As a team we help companies solve their business challenges by deploying the most appropriate solutions.

How did you get into the tech space? From starting my career in human resources, I decided early on there were more fun and efficient ways to manage human resources than on paper and in files. This got me scratching around in IT which quickly turned into a passion rather than a job. Now I get to combine my passion for people and technology and it’s called work.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?  A previous manager who is still one of my mentors today told me once to “Never stop contributing”. In my experience, when you contribute you get back what you give in multiples.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Just do it.  Find a gap, take a drop in pay, work for free if you have to. Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. When you’re in, work hard, get involved, don’t be scared, show your potential, take initiative and contribute! You can learn any skill, but character and attitude has to come from within.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The smell of good coffee…..More seriously, my very young family, my awesome colleagues and the new and exciting challenges that present themselves every day.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?  An organised superhuman!

Twitter: @clanbooth
LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/pub/karen-booth/34/a48/105/

Imogen Wright

Name: Imogen Wright

Imogen Wright

Designation: Co-founder

Company: Hyrax Biosciences

What do you do every day? My days are pretty varied.  My PhD was in bioinformatics, so sometimes I’ll be lucky enough to spend hours just reading papers and learning about new developments in biology.  I also spend time talking to lawyers and potential business partners, and doing some of the other admin associated with co-founding a startup.

Hyrax Biosciences builds online tools that analyse the DNA of viruses and bacteria to look for drug resistance. This means that we can help doctors prescribe the right drugs to patients with HIV, TB and other communicable diseases, at a cost that makes these tests available to all patients, not just the wealthy ones.  My co-founders and colleagues are all fantastic people, and we spend a lot of time dreaming together.

Mostly, though, I spend my time writing code that analyses DNA.  Because modern DNA sequencing machines produce huge quantities of data, this code has to be really efficient.  We use a lot of high-performance computing and cloud computing to get the job done.  I have a great excuse to play with new, exciting tech tools all the time, which is so much fun.

How did you get into the tech space? I was one of those kids who liked to press buttons right from the beginning. I started learning to write code at twelve years old or so, because I loved playing open source games online and wanted to contribute to making them.

I was very lucky in that I grew up in a small town, Grahamstown, with a real over-concentration of geeky people and a strong Linux and open source culture.  As such, when my teenage years hit and the social pressure to stop messing around with computers was strong, I already had great friendships with guys and girls, mostly older than me, who loved tech.  Thus, I could keep learning.

Then I studied computer science and physics at Rhodes, did a masters in physics in Canada and started working as a software developer after that.  The passion for biology followed a few years later, and here we are!

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?  One of my favourite lecturers at Rhodes, Pat Terry, gave me a great piece of advice in my first year there.  I was dithering about subject choices, and he told me that the real key to success is to pick just one thing – anything – and stick with it, no matter what.

Of course, I jumped around in the science faculty and singularly failed to take his advice (sorry Pat), but the grit, resolve and persistence he was trying to teach have been a powerful guide during the trickier passages of my life.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?  The only thing needed to get into tech is to write good code. The only way to learn to write good code is to practise – I’m talking literally thousands of hours of practise. The best way to practise is to play around with open source software, and eventually to build your own projects. However, I’d advise against trying to learn to code. Try instead to build a piece of software you really want to build, and let learning to code be a means to that end.

Then just start interviewing. There are so many more jobs than developers that if you’ve followed the above steps it’s hard to go wrong. The only caveat is that if you’re anything other than a straight, able-bodied, cisgendered white man, there might still be companies where it’s intrinsically harder to succeed: learn to trust yourself, and learn to avoid those companies – I have, mostly, and I believe their days are numbered, anyway.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The healthcare options available to the middle class in developed nations are so inaccessible to the rest of humanity that the two groups might as well exist on different planets. I get out of bed for the woman in a rural area who feels sick today and doesn’t know why, because she’s resistant to her HIV medication and it was too expensive to do a resistance test at the clinic. That woman shouldn’t be sick when we have the technology to keep her healthy, and it’s my joy and my passion to make that technology accessible.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I hope I’ll still be myself – I like myself.  If I can’t be myself I’d like to be Eddie Vedder, which would admittedly require becoming significantly cooler than I currently am and also being able to sing.

Twitter: @imogenwright                                                                                                                   Website: http://hyraxbio.co.za
LinkedIn: http://za.linkedin.com/in/imogenwright

Megan Hughes

Name: Megan Hughes

Megan Hughes

Designation: Brand Manager

Company: RetroEpic Software

What do you do every day? While my role officially at RetroEpic revolves around marketing our own games and games we’re making in conjunction with partners (which involves marketing strategising, social media marketing, media liaison, press releases and so on), I’m also involved in game design and documentation, level design and testing, and in-game copywriting. We’re a small team so everyone wears as many hats as possible (and necessary) to get the games out the door.

How did you get into the tech space? I’ve been involved in the game development community from around the time I was in high school. I started participating in local game dev challenges towards the end of my high school career and then fell in love with boardgame design (one of my pet projects now has its own website: http://worstwarriors.weebly.com/) because of my parallel interest in social psychology. After high school, I studied communications and psychology and then moved to Cape Town to pursue a psychology honours degree. After that, I landed up in marketing, working in agencies as an intern and then as a variety of different positions – gaining a broad spectrum of experience. In the mean time, I got more involved with the Cape Town community and started sharing what I knew about marketing to help the local developers. After doing a talk at one of the meetups, I was approached by co-founder Niki Boschoff to help RetroEpic out a bit with their marketing on a freelance basis. Eventually, I suggested that it would be more useful to have me full time on the team and voila, here I am.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? I don’t know if it counts as advice, exactly, but RetroEpic is run in a way where it’s okay to fail. In fact, Niki told me before joining RetroEpic that he wouldn’t expect me to be perfect straight off the bat. We all know that we’re all going to be making mistakes – we’re all trying to figure it out as best we can – and that’s okay. Knowing that it was okay not to be perfect – in a space that provided that, truly – has been almost life changing. It’s certainly allowed me to be a lot kinder to myself.

 What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? The successful game developers – those who have made a smash hit game – are outliers. Don’t compare yourself to the outliers and don’t get too upset that you haven’t yet made your smash hit game just yet. It’s okay. Keep working at it. Keep trying. But also be realistic about each of your games and their likelihood of success. You may very well be better off not giving up your day-job just yet! (And, again, that’s okay. Most of the game developers in South Africa are making money through other means).

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? RetroEpic feels like family to me. While not every aspect of my day-to-day work is super exciting or stimulating, I get to work with great people on projects that are exciting. That’s worth getting up and going to work every day, in my opinion.

 Who do you want to be when you grow up? I’m still trying to figure out who I am – before trying to emulate anyone else!

Twitter: @retroepic                                                                                                                                       Website: http://retroepic.com/blog
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/meganahughes

 

 

Lisa Lyhne

Name: Lisa Lyhne

Lisa Lyhne

Lisa Lyhne

Designation: Managing Director

Company: Jump Software

What do you do every day? My business, Jump Software, works as a tech-co-founder to startups. I love the energy and faith in the startup world. I also love the disruption that is possible through technology. Tech startups deserve the best possible systems to meet their early and growing businesses, and often it’s their tech that fails, rather than their business ideas. At Jump Software, we partner with founders to build flexible solutions to meet their technical needs. Keeping their larger business strategies in mind, we create, extend and maintain software solutions which power our partners’ businesses.

On a daily basis I work on projects with my very capable tech team to deliver on our promises to our founders. I also meet with many folk in the startup networks – founders, funders, accelerators, incubators and the like, to secure new sales for my business.

I also do a fair bit of consulting as a software development mentor. I work for Microsoft in their Bizspark programme, mentoring their startups, as well as for other startup businesses. In these sessions I work with founders to improve their software development processes, as well as define and refine their business offerings.

How did you get into the tech space? I was really lucky. I did a BCom (IT) at university, and was sent on a year’s student exchange to Copenhagen in Denmark. I was meant to spend six months in the IT department, and move to the accounting department for the next six months. After the first six months I asked to stay in the IT department, which was agreed. That was 1986 – and I’ve worked in IT ever since.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t worry about doing it right – just do it and back yourself to get it right. Carry on and on and on. It is the determined that win, not the brilliant!

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Most importantly, get educated. There is no substitute for a thorough, formal (preferably university) education. There is soooo much to learn, and you will only ever scratch the surface if you try to do this via personal exposure. If this is not feasible, try to find your way into a position that will support your education while you work.

Then, get working. Work for a tech company if you are looking for a variety of experience. Cleave to the better skilled of your colleagues and learn-learn-learn-learn. Read widely.

As a woman, know that you’ll need to be pushy. Women are not given the prime opportunities. Even now, we are paid about two-thirds of what men earn in the same position. (Unfortunately I know this from personal experience. It has been the case for me, a pushy woman, for my whole career (even as a director). Now that I am the boss, maybe it’ll change!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am really energised by my new business. The startup space is vibrant and optimistic, and I love the idea of getting dreams off the ground.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I want to grow businesses (my client-founders and my own) and grow veggies in my back garden.

Twitter: @LisaLyhne
Website: www.JumpSoftware.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAAABi8n4BE3divLa0mBT_qpbCuFR3rmQxd10&trk=hp-identity-name

Cathy Smith

 

Name: Cathy Smith

Cathy Smith

Cathy Smith

Designation: General Manager

Company: Cisco, South Africa

What do you do every day? I lead and run Cisco’s business in South Africa. I manage a diverse team of over 200 employees who have differing backgrounds and a wide range of technical and non-technical expertise – from engineers, systems analysts, sales leaders, human resources to marketing and legal counsel. My day to day engagements will vary according to the needs of the business. Sometimes I will devote my day to visiting government officials, customers and partners and other times my focus will be on internal meetings involving members of my team.

I also travel extensively both within and outside of South Africa to attend and often participate in both Cisco and industry events. It is important for the role that I do that I network extensively in order to remain close to our customers and our partner network. I am responsible for engaging with public and private sector organisations to work on strategies for digital transformation, thereby helping them transform their IT strategies, connect everything, embrace analytics, and secure their technology and operations.

Outside of work my family and friends are a big focus for me and Friday evenings, for example, are often dedicated to having dinner with friends. From a wellbeing perspective, I try to do a Pilates class twice a week as I really do feel strongly about taking care of my mental, spiritual as well as my physical being.

How did you get into the tech space?

I ventured into the technology space purely by coincidence – what I call a stroke of good luck because I was in the right place at the right time and I happy and proud to say that I have never looked back. I started my working life in the insurance sector as an applications developer and was very fortunate to work in a number of roles that helped grow my experience. Prior to joining Cisco, I worked at IBM for more than 23 years, where I held various leadership roles in IT service delivery, HR and sales.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Have dreams and aspirations by all means and always strive to achieve them but also be prepared to be flexible and willing to adapt because as we grow we change. Our goals may expand and our career paths may take us into directions we never even thought of and could well end up being completely life changing, but for the better.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? When the IT industry started in South Africa, it was considered very unattractive to women simply because it was viewed as involving a lot of physical work as well as shift work and for this reason many women shied away from seeking roles in technology. This perception is so misleading in today’s South Africa and I would encourage young women, especially, to be open-minded, ask questions and take the time to really understand what a career in IT really involves. As technology has become more and more commoditised, the skill level required is focused on providing value and service to customers as well as solutions.

Today, those who work in technology need to understand the ever-changing needs of the customers and adapt in an environment that is growing and evolving at a phenomenal pace. They need to fully comprehend business and people and the challenges that need to be addressed. To work in technology today, a candidate can come from practically any background or discipline – collaboration, developing insight and being able to adapt is key to building trust and delivering the best possible solutions that meet customer needs.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?

I thoroughly enjoy what I do and I am passionate to succeed for both myself but more importantly for my family. I fully understand that I also have great responsibility to be a role model to young women in South Africa who would like to succeed within a leadership role as I have done. I am a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI), an organisation set up to develop the next generation of ‘values’ based African leaders who are capable of guiding and leading their countries as they struggle to align the demands of globalisation with local visions of ‘a good society’.

Who did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a financial analyst but interestingly enough my class mates at school thought I would become City Mayor!

Twitter: @CathyS_Cisco

Alinah Magoro

Name: Alinah Magoro

Alinah Magoro

Alinah Magoro

Designation: Marketing Assistant

Company: Mustek Limited

What do you do every day? My days are never the same. I’m responsible for driving respective brand goals within a multi-national product portfolio which Mustek Limited distributes. I assist in campaign/brand launches, I keep track of incentives and administer incentive payouts, writing online content for the Mustek website, as well as compiling content for the internal staff newsletter.

My role is office-based but I’m not tied to my desk, I am also actively involved in planning and organising internal staff and reseller events such as product showcases, conferences and exhibitions.

My favourite initiatives to organise are the staff engagement initiatives, these include getting involved in Slippers Day, Mandela day as well as other CSR initiatives.

How did you get into the tech space? I studied Public Relations and Communications Management and never imagined that I would end up in the tech space, more often than not you find that people with my qualification navigate towards PR agencies. I started my career at Mustek Limited as a Switchboard Administrator, followed by being Telesales Consultant and ended up in my current post as a Marketing Assistant. I get to work on a company that services a multinational product portfolio within the IT industry, I haven’t looked back since and here I am three years later, head over heels in IT.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Whatever you do, go out there and be yourself, do it truthfully and wholeheartedly and you will never go wrong!

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? You have to love learning new things, be open minded and allow yourself to absorb as much as possible.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day?  Wanting to have a better life for myself and knowing that I can do something to make someone else’s day better.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An even better version of myself with a big heart, it’s all I have at the end of the day.

LinkedIn profile: https://za.linkedin.com/pub/alinah-magoro/b6/563/8a6

Brittany Hawkins


Name:
Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Brittany Hawkins

Designation: Chief Experience Officer (CEO)

Company: Explore Sideways

What do you do every day? As the CEO of a startup I wear many hats. At the end of the day, I do whatever it takes to get our company and our team to the next stage in growth.

How did you get into the tech space? I lived and worked in Silicon Valley for 7 years, which sparked my endless fascination and adoration for technology. The frenzied tech space is the perfect place for people like myself that don’t see problems, but rather, potential solutions. It’s when technology and imagination collide that I’ve seen the most incredible things happen.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t be afraid to fail. Technology is wildly mutable and faster paced than any field in history – all you can do is embrace the insecurity and learn as much as you can along the way.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Approach each day as a new opportunity to learn. If you focus on deriving enjoyment from the process, rather than the outcome, you’ll be both successful and happy.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something I didn’t know the day before.

Twitter: @hawkbritt
Web: exploresideways.com
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/hawkinsbrittany