Category Archives: Developer

Woman in Tech of the Week: Christina Burger

Woman in Tech of the Week: Christina Burger

Name: Christina Burger

Designation: Senior Software Engineer

Company: Derivco

What do you do every day? I’m currently working in a team at Derivco that focuses on tools and frameworks that support our game development studios, so they can work as effectively as possible. I have a love-hate relationship with JavaScript and front-end web development. I also enjoy dabbling with other languages and experimenting with new technologies. The best part of my day is if I can either learn something new or teach someone else something new. We have a great working environment, where we work in cross functional teams with experts in different fields such as art, music and testing.

How did you get into the tech space? I started playing games with my brother when I was young and really enjoyed it. What interested me most was how the games were made, so I knew I wanted to become a game developer. My family encouraged me to pursue any career I wanted. During my studies, I often felt I would never become a “real developer”. However, as I started working my confidence grew, and I realised I have a passion for software engineering. Now I can’t imagine working in any other industry.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? You do you! There is no one else who can ever be you as well as you can, and you will never do well if you try to be someone else. Try to accept the little things that irritate you about yourself. Find something that you enjoy and do well, and then do that thing until you don’t enjoy it anymore. Remember to add a healthy dose of new things and new experiences. The person who cares most about your happiness and success is you. Don’t focus on what others are doing, and try to measure yourself against your own goals and dreams.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Stop trying to be perfect, and start being brave. Go out and apply for the job you really want, or ask someone to be your mentor, or sign up for a course. Remember that imposter syndrome is a real thing. When you assume everyone knows more than you do, you don’t realise that they probably assume the same about you.  Always be willing to learn and admit when you don’t know something. That’s the only way to get better at anything you do.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Coffee! And working with colleagues who’ve turned into friends.  But also coffee.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Is crazy cat lady not a good goal to aim for? My team has started calling me “Auntie Bob” in reference to “Uncle Bob”, so I suppose my professional idol is Robert C. Martin. But there are so many people I can learn from every day. I would be happy if I could continue working in software development and help build a diverse and inclusive community in technology.

Twitter: @pypmannetjies

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christienkroeze/

Woman in Tech of the Week: Kimi Beyl

Woman in Tech of the Week: Kimi Beyl

Name: Kimi Beyl

Designation: Software Developer

Company: Retro Rabbit

What do you do every day? I develop software as well as mentor junior developers

How did you get into the tech space? I always wanted to make computer games since I was a kid.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t eat 2 Big Mac’s at once

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Don’t give a damn about what others think or say, I am a HUGE geek, and not the brightest bulb that ever lived, but my passion is software, and I love what I do. Don’t think you can’t before you haven’t even tried.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Coffee, definitely the caffeine!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A Ghoul

Google+: google.com/+kimibeyl

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kimberleigh-beyl-93bab3b9

Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global) to get her featured!

Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

Do you want to advertise to the  Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (robyn@kato.global).

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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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

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