Woman in Tech of the Week – Jade Abbott

Woman in Tech of the Week – Jade Abbott

Name: Jade Abbott
Designation: Senior Software Engineer and Data Scientist
Company: Retro Rabbit

What do you do every day? Developing software and analysing data. I mostly develop backend systems, in a variety of languages, for a variety of sectors – golang is my current favourite programming language. In the past couple of years, I’ve been able to focus on machine learning – my true passion. I’ve been lucky enough to take a machine learning project from beginning to end – from wrangling data, to building machine models, analysing data, to building the scalable infrastructure. I love seeing my work in use! It’s the best feeling ever. When I’m not doing that I’m trying to teach people about machine learning – whether doing guest lectures, showing a CEO the impact it can make or sometimes helping enthusiasts get their hands dirty.

How did you get into the tech space? My dad, as a musician and general nerd, always had computer parts lying around. I was very young when he built me my first computer. I remember puzzling over the registry and wondering why my dad told me not to touch it and fiddling in hex editors to make the cat in that one game extra fluffy and pink. He also introduced me to science-fiction – everything from Star Trek to Isaac Asimov. My mother was a software developer before I was born so she always encouraged me to go into software anyways. I think I was 12 and I knew that I wanted to build my own artificial intelligence friend. I’d say I am one of the lucky ones

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? I was at an Anita Borg Retreat at Google a couple of years back and I was stressing about whether to pursue a career in academia or to carry on in industry. So I asked a Google developer a panel about which to do and she said “Don’t stress when making a decision between two good choices”. I can’t remember her name, but I’ll always remember what she said.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? In software development at least, the philosophy is to fail early and fail often. Try many things (ALL the things). Don’t be afraid if you don’t get it right the first time. Failure is part of the journey.
Surround yourself with people in tech. Go to meetups, hackathons and join the ZaTech slack. They are fun and friendly and there is loads of opportunity to learn
It’s possible to begin a degree in technology part-time while you’re working. Do it! If a degree is not an option – pick up a couple of courses.
Blog about your learnings: https://medium.com/@racheltho/why-you-yes-you-should-blog-7d2544ac1045

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something new and the opportunity to build something cool.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? AAAH! hard question. These 3: Grace Hopper, Rachel Thomas, Patti Smith

Twitter: @alienelf
Blog: https://medium.com/@alienelf/
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jade-abbott-5b3a692a/

 

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Satellite and Drone Analytics Company, Aerobotics is Hiring

Satellite and Drone Analytics Company, Aerobotics is Hiring

Aerobotics is a data analytics company which uses aerial imagery and machine learning algorithms to optimise crop performance for farmers around the world through its cloud based web application, Aeroview. The company is setting the standard for tree crop analytics globally. Aerobotics is based in Cape Town, South Africa.

The are hiring the following: 

  • Senior Full Stack Developer: link
  • Data Science Manager: link
  • Data Scientist: link
  • Tech Intern: link

 

Bernelle Verster

Woman in Tech of the Week – Bernelle Verster

Name: Bernelle Verster
Designation: Water Maverick, Shit Stirrer
Company: indiebio
What do you do every day?
Writing, mostly. Sometimes growing things – bacteria, algae, plants, fungi, animals (like flies, worms). I am trying to learn how to play with hardware like Arduino and getting better at data driven visualization to help communicate my work.

I work in beneficiation of diffuse pollution through biology. This includes wastewater treatment, but I’m also moving into urban waterbodies like urban estuaries. I like interfaces, connecting the dots to fill in the gaps. So much of my time is spent translating between what, for example, engineers say and what ecologists say and try to find a way that both can be accommodated. Or, what the public perceives and try to communicate all the trade-offs and complexities. At the moment I am trying to see how to coordinate bottom-up, DIY type behavior with the efficiency and economy of scale that engineers prefer but that comes with environmental trade-offs.

How did you get into the tech space?
I wanted to become a vet, but then fell in love with biochemistry in first year of university and stuck with that. Then I realized the cost of biotech is way too high and needed to learn some tech and engineering to make the biology work better. I’ve sortof just stumbled along with things, there wasn’t ever much direction or specific support.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Do what you can with what you have; and you will always be someone’s dog (in other words, don’t expect to come out ‘on top’ and then all your issues are over. That just doesn’t happen). The advice I never listened to was ‘it’s time you stop dreaming and get a proper job’.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Dream. Big, small, doesn’t matter, but don’t lose sight of reality. Prototype, play, fail fast. Look at what is – the current reality, even if it is uncomfortable. Ask the tough questions, listen to what people say. You don’t have to believe them, but they are coming from somewhere, interrogate what they say. Don’t underestimate the value of incremental change.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
Frustration. Having a big goal is nice, but really it’s the frustration of ‘if only this small thing can work better!’ Generally I wake up thinking, I’m going to go at it from this angle, maybe that works today. I think the real value I add to society isn’t through my big dreams and passions, but the little itches and irritations I try to smooth out along the way. Connecting people who can help scratch 😉

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A whole person. Not a whitewashed darling on a pedestal.

Twitter handle @indiebio
Website: indiebio.co.za
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/indiebio/

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Female Devs Wanted in Cape Town

Female Devs Wanted in Cape Town

Cape is a Silicon Valley backed startup based in Cape Town and San Francisco. Last week we were acquired by Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company) for our first of its kind Wi-Fi monitoring product, and for our team! As a result of this deal we’re growing our Cape Town office (currently 12 people) so that we can scale our systems to meet an expected surge in demand as our product is marketed through Aruba’s sales channels.

A bit about Cape:

– Small team (15 people across ZA and USA), founded in Cape Town (2014), backed by Silicon Valley venture capital
– “Full stack” startup: we design & build our own hardware, firmware, back-end and front-end software
– First product of its kind in the world — a device + dashboard that helps companies like Apple, Marriott, Dimension Data make sure their Wi-Fi and SaaS performance is excellent 24/7
– Awarded “Best Startup 2017” from Wi-Fi Now (international industry body)
– Acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise last week(!) for the team and technology (plus huge market)
– Expecting 100X scale in next 18-24 months
– We’re investing significantly in our Engineering & Design team in Cape Town
– We’re hiring senior software engineers (front-end, back-end, iOS, ML, embedded), and a senior UI designer

Cape offers a unique opportunity as a truly full-stack startup. We design our hardware in-house and manufacture in Cape Town. Our back-end and front-end systems and software are built entirely in-house using Python, ReactJS, Java, InfluxDB, and AWS Kinesis among other technologies.

Experience in any of the technologies mentioned above would be a big plus for the engineering roles.

Please contact victor@capenetworks.com if you’re interested in working for us!

If you want to advertise job opening or anything else to our network please get in touch with Robyn Farah.

Link

Yes, We Have Changed Our Logo!

You may have noticed that we, Women in Tech ZA, have changed our logo. We have done this as we have connected with several Women in Tech Chapters around South Africa and Botswana, so we wanted to use a logo that can easily be altered to suit each chapter as well as clearly be associated with their umbrella organisation, US!

About the logo: In 2016 Women in Tech Cape Town ran an online competition for the community to submit designs for the community. After receiving over 20 designs we got the public to vote for their favourite design and the winner was the below by Samuel Molahloe.

 

Women in Tech Chapters:

As of March 2018, Women in Tech ZA is grown from being an online platform to being connected to 4 Women in Tech Chapters around Sub Saharan Africa. (Thank you to Mishal Weston for editing all the logos from Samuel Molahloe’s original design)

 

Women in Tech ZA Goals: In February 2018 Robyn Farah became chairperson for Women in Tech ZA. Her aims are:

  • To have active women in tech communities all over South Africa connected to Women in Tech ZA
  • A “Woman in Tech of the Week” feature on the Women in Tech ZA website weekly.
  • Have active Social Media platforms
  • Get sponsorship to collect data on females in Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in South Africa

Get Involved:

Did you know that Women in Tech is registered as an NPC this means that donations to our organisation are tax deductible!

 

Deirdré Fryer

Name: Deirdré Fryer

Designation: Product Management Africa

Company: SYSPRO

What do you do every day?
Lots of meetings…
Industry and product Research to understand our positioning in the market as well as our strengths with a focus on looking for improvements.
Customer and sales engagements to understand and solve business needs with software and technology.
Product messaging and positioning to drive enablement of the product across our employees, partners and customers.
Collaboration with marketing and sales teams to drive collaboration around our product and the value features add

How did you get into the tech space?
By chance, while writing my final exams I took a temp job in reception at a software company, SYSPRO, and never looked back.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
If people are not adopting or buying into what you are proposing, change your approach. You need to show people the value in what is being offered specific to them, not how you see it, solve their pain and they will embrace what you are offering without question.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Learn, read, learn, read and never say no to an opportunity, even the smallest and most insignificant task will teach you something.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
The thought that today I could be part of something that will make someone’s life easier. Making a difference little bit by little bit
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A wine taster 😉
The best role model to my two daughters, showing them that having a career and good life balance is possible, you can have the best of both worlds.

Twitter: @FryerDee
Linked In: Deirdre Fryer

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Karabo Kanyane Malatji

Name: Karabo Kanyane Malatji

Designation: 1st Year Junior IT Auditor

Company: Nkonki Incorporated

What do you do every day? I start off my day with a prayer. Every morning I get ready for work and I make my way to the Gautrain to travel to work where I’d grab my coffee fix before making my way to a client with the team. Each day is different some days are filled with a lot of admin and paper work. Some days we work through client systems using application controls and ITGCs to test the systems. So my day purely depends on what the client wants or who the client is. So it is quite flexible compared to the jobs I did previously.

How did you get into the tech space? I studied a BIS Information Science honours degree at the University of Pretoria and I’m currently a Master’s in Information Technology student at the university as well. I completed two internships in Information and records management previously at the Human Science Research Council and Education Labour Relations Council. I am also a Golden Key International Honour Society member which is a membership awarded to the top 15% students in their respective degrees for two years in a row. I am also a self taught Microsoft SQL database creation.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? The best advice I got was from my father. To always work hard for what drives me and keeps me up at night, not be short sighted and not be too hard on myself. To work towards my dreams everyday but still acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses at the same time. He always advices me to work hard as though I did not know where my next meal will come from. And to basically be smart with my money.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
I would advice them to always make time for themselves to relax and unwind because it gets hectic very quickly and be willing to put in the extra work and extra hours . They must have a teachable spirit and be willing to take up new challenges. They must be willing to grow because the tech industry is constantly changing. So there’s a lot to learn and produce in order to grow our ICT industry.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
I am motivated by the woman I aspire to be on a daily basis. A woman who is comfortable in her skin. A strong woman; academically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. A woman who inspires young girls to be themselves and not let society and their circumstances define them. Lastly, I am motivated by my dream to be an entrepreneur in the tech and education space That’s what motivates me to get out of bed, to be that woman and she is constantly on my mind everyday.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be someone who has inspired the next person to dream big and reach for their dreams especially in the academic space. I’d really love to be involved in seeing more young girls entering the science and technology space and reach their limits/ potential. I also want to be an innovator that has taken our tech and business industry to new heights .

Twitter handle: @fabiekay
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karabo-kanyane-malatji-Oab13a6b

Tracy Surkont

Name: Tracy Surkont

Designation: MD

Company: TotalSend

What do you do every day? As TotalSend’s newly-appointed MD, I’m very interested in the bottom line and when it comes to profitability, few things are more important than Sales and New Product Development. As such, my day is focused mainly on coaching and motivating sales staff while also researching potential new products.

How did you get into the tech space? My career was entirely sales-focused for about a decade before I was offered a Product Manager role at Vodacom in 2008. I was excited by the challenge of being completely out of my comfort zone and I absolutely fell in love with mobile new product development. After then spending some time in Africa, another opportunity presented itself when I was asked to consider building a bot platform for one of the social networks entering South Africa. I then collaborated with a former MXIT colleague and with my product knowledge and his ninja skills, we delivered our first version in 2013.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Work smart not hard, believe in yourself and speak up.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Don’t be afraid to do a little bit of grunt work – most times the work is fun, you get to develop products and services, but that also means you sometimes need to answer the phones, help out with support and get the coffee.
Shed your ego and open yourself to learning – big egos get nothing done. There is always someone who knows more than you and if you are willing to learn – you’ll be better off for it.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My family. I have a toddler at home who is constantly curious – I get to experience the world through his eyes and he has made me realise that life is not all about work. Taking the time out to enjoy the simple things has helped me to look at things in a different light. I really do want the world to be a better place for him.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Don’t all moms want to be superwoman ☺

LinkedIn profile www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-langdon-surkont-13046327/