Category Archives: Developer

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

 

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

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

Gail Shaw

Gail Shaw, Entelect

Gail Shaw, Entelect

Name: Gail Shaw

Designation: Technical Lead

Company: Entelect

What do you do every day? That depends on the day and the project. It’ll probably involve some query optimisation. It will definitely involve SQL Server. Most of my time is spent doing performance tuning for clients’ systems. The rest is spent writing documentation, whether it be implementation documents for things like replication or design documentation for HA/DR or helping out other teams with SQL Server problems.

How did you get into the tech space? I kinda grew up in it. My father started a software development company when I was still at primary school. My first computer was an 8086, given to me when dad got himself an 8088. I got involved in after school programming classes before high school. We wrote GW Basic on old NCR machines. Despite that, I never really considered a career in IT, I wanted to go into physics. By third year at university however I realised there weren’t good jobs for physicists in SA, unless I wanted to teach. So instead of continuing with physics for my Honours year, I continued with computer science. When I graduated there was really no question of doing anything other than development.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? That would have to be from Kimberly Tripp, when I asked her (back when I was just getting into DBs) how to get to where she was. While I can’t remember the exact advice, she recommended starting to write. Blog, articles, whatever possible. Because writing gets your name out there and because you can’t teach a subject unless you understand it thoroughly.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Your reputation is everything. It’s a small industry. Get a bad reputation, it lives with you forever. Be honest, be trustworthy, do your best. Work hard, don’t shirk from the tough jobs. Volunteer to help out when you can. There will be times you’re working evenings/weekends. Make sure those are the exception not the norm. Learn something new every day. Share what you know.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Challenge. Problems to solve, things to figure out. Doing the same stuff every day would bore me silly.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Kimberly Tripp (or, if I was going to wish for the impossible, Sally Ride).

Find me on:
Twitter: @SQLintheWild
Website: http://sqlinthewild.co.za

Stacey Hudson

Stacey Hudson, Discovery Vitality

Stacey Hudson, Discovery Vitality

Name: Stacey Anne Hudson 

Designation: Senior Development Manager

Company: Discovery Vitality

What do you do every day? I “herd” technical IT teams across the globe, to ensure we deliver value and quality IT solutions for global partners.

How did you get into the tech space? I received a bursary from a big mining company to study IT and work for them in that space when I graduated, the rest is history…..

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? It’s a question but guides my thinking in a lot of difficult situations…. “do you want to be successful or significant?”.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? It’s exciting and dynamic, but it’s complex and it isn’t a 9-5 job, and you work with highly intelligent, often crazy people. The frameworks are always changing. Be prepared to try things and be prepared for change.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I never quite know what the day will bring, so it’s a new challenge everyday!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? An executive coach.

Find me on:
Twitter – @Staceysuperr
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=101420515&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile