Karabo Kanyane Malatji

April 3, 2018 in Developer, Digital, IT, Profiles, Women in Tech

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

March 26, 2018 in Managing director, Operations, Opportunity, Profiles

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/

Deshnie Govender

April 7, 2017 in Entrepreneur, Founder, Owner, Profiles, Social media
Deshnie Govender

Name: Deshnie Govender

Designation: Creative Director

Company: iVENT

What do you do every day? No two days are the same in digital but essentially I work with brands, agencies and influencers. From strategy and content creation to post production – engaging and authentic content is my key focus.

How did you get into the tech space? It found me! Starting out as a DJ I needed my music to be heard and social media was the easiest (and free) platform that allowed me to connect with others in seconds. When I realised social media and influencer management could become actual careers, I leveraged off my experience in music to start up my consultancy.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Do what you love and never work a day in your life. I can honestly say that I love what I do and, notwithstanding stressful days, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Start with your own platforms. What do your social media accounts look like and what is the frequency of your content? Hands-on experience is the best way to start so I would suggest job shadowing or interning at a digital agency. Trust me, this is the environment that will show you how fast paced this industry can be.

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? My company, iVent. I am deeply passionate about what I do and never do anything half-heartedly. My work ethos dictates that my dedication and commitment – not just to my clients, influencers whom I collaborate with and projects that I run – are given 150% of my effort. There is no such thing as sleeping in for me!

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’d like to become a better version of me ☺

Expanding my offices in the UK and America, showing that market what our local influencer offering is like and collaborating on projects. We need to be the first to market, not the last option.

Blog: www.ivent.co.za
Linkedin: https://za.linkedin.com/in/deshnie

Sugeshni Subroyen

March 31, 2017 in Marketing, Profiles
Sugeshni Subroyen

Name: Sugeshni Subroyen

Designation: Marketing Manager

Company: Mint Management Technologies (Group)

What do you do every day? I am responsible for running the marketing discipline within the Mint Group of Companies. Mint is a global Microsoft business provider who provides technology solutions to companies in the financial services industry. No two days are the same, our team of four (strategist, content marketer, events producer and social media marketer) crafts exciting messaging and campaigns to promote our brand globally.

We are a one-stop marketing shop that focuses on the full spectrum of marketing services and with our recent expansion to USA and Africa, we now have exposure to marketing to different cultures and expectations.

How did you get into the tech space? I was always in the financial services sector and when the opportunity came about to join one of the largest technology giants in the country, I grabbed the opportunity to be part of the EOH Group. I worked at the Head Office in Bedfordview as part of the Corporate Marketing team. With an inspiring and revolutionary leader like Asher Bohbot, who could not be passionate about technology?

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Always give your “all” in everything you do!

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Tech is the way to go! According to Satya Nadella, we are in the 4th industrial revolution, Digital Transformation. If you are not part of this revolution, I am afraid you will be left behind!

What motivates you to get out of bed every day? I am passionate about marketing and the impact it has on the success of business. Everyone is a marketer in some shape or form and we are marketing ourselves daily without even noticing. Personal brands extend to professional brands. I love what I do and the motivation comes when people recognise the worth of marketing in the grand scheme of things!

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be someone that can leave a legacy and make a difference so that my girls are proud of their mom and her accomplishments. I want to give back to my community and inspire young girls to be a success in everything they set their hearts on. Success is not determined by the position you hold or the car you drive but is rather the determination and eagerness you put in to any goal you set yourself, whether it is the best cake baker you can be or teacher or developer or UX designer!

Twitter: @ssubroyen
Google+: Sugeshni Subroyen
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sugeshnisubroyen

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

August 24, 2016 in Director, Entrepreneur, Founder, Profiles

Name: Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Jennifer Bezuidenhout

Designation: Technical Director / Co-founder

Company: Viga Interactive, Taggo, Boulot

What do you do every day? I hustle. My days vary considerably, some days I’m swamped with admin and strategy meetings, some days I’m in back to back usability tests, other days I just code or create architecture, but every day I manage a team and client’s projects.

How did you get into the tech space? I started my career in the graphic design industry. Even while studying I wasn’t convinced of this weird exotic thing called coding, but one day I was asked to develop a website instead of just designing it, and so I started coding. I started my first registered company at 25, unfortunately it failed just over a year later. The failure of my first business resulted in a knock to my confidence, from which it took a while to recover from. When I started my next company, however, I was a lot more knowledgeable, stronger and wiser.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Stay humble. As entrepreneurs we have to be confident, sometimes even arrogant, so it is difficult to remain humble all the time. When I succeed in staying humble it keeps me honest, grateful, and makes me a better listener. All of which tends to come in handy in the big bad world of business.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Never stop learning. Things move fast in the tech space and you need to stay up to date and relevant, when it comes to new technology and trends.

Another essential piece of advice I would give is to create rock solid specification documents. Because there are always issues around communication, a good spec can avoid misunderstandings.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The possibility of a game changer. Every day I’m excited about the prospects that particular day can bring, you never know what’s around the corner and how it can make your business a success.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I love being an entrepreneur. Yes, it is extremely difficult and sometimes I think I must be crazy. The reason I keep pushing is that someday when I’m all grown up I can look back and say it was all worth it, I helped build some really cool stuff.

Twitter: @VIGAInteractive
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-bezuidenhout-26484235

Prathna Singh

August 2, 2016 in Digital, Enterprise, Profiles

Name: Prathna Singh Prathna Singh

Designation: Digital Lead – Health & Public Service

Company: Accenture

What do you do every day? Working for a global technology consulting firm, I work with clients in the Health & Public Service domain, to proactively adapt and react to technological change. In an era of technology advancement, I find great fulfilment in reimagining their operations enabling them and their customers to reap the benefits. I love being part of the Health & Public Service space because we do work that matters and work that impacts the wellbeing of citizens. This includes the improvement of service delivery, enabling trust and transparency, increased customer and citizen engagement, optimal cost of operations and innovation through technology. I spend my days working with our Digital teams to craft solutions that help my clients create business value whilst remaining efficient.

As a digital technologist, I have an understanding of the technologies that are disrupting businesses and governments. We live in a world of instant gratification. Organisations and entrepreneurs are quickly innovating to deliver delightful experiences and services to citizens in a convenient and reliable way. So in order to best partner with my clients, it is imperative that I spend my days continuously applying my understanding of digital technologies to their world, providing them with the ability to leapfrog the competition and remain relevant.

I spend my days at Accenture working with an array of people that come from diverse cultures. Having spent 5 years working abroad with Accenture in San Francisco, Singapore, and across various countries in Europe, I have a strong appreciation for cultural intelligence and teaming. I am energized by working with people from all walks of life. I am particularly passionate about encouraging and inspiring our women in digital and take an active role in initiatives that provide the platforms for women to excel in this area.

How did you get into the tech space? I actually won a computer through a maths competition when I was 12 years old. Makes me wonder had I not won a computer if I would have ventured in this field, but I am so glad that I did. Back then, computers were really novel and new and gaining access to one at a young age peaked my interest. I spent many days learning how to use it, playing games, dabbling with e-mail and the internet. This led to my passion for it. I remember visiting a school friend at her home and her elder sister had decided to study in the field. She explained what her job would entail after she completed her studies. I remember it sounding a lot like a doctor for businesses in order to make them perform at their best. I quite liked this version of a doctor – to be able to consult and advise on technology in business.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? It would have to be the advice that my father gave me whilst growing up. I am the second of three girls. In his words when he spoke to us about education and career, ‘there is nothing a boy can do that a girl cannot do, you can do well at anything you want to if you give it your all’. Those words empowered me from a really young age to believe in myself and to embrace my strengths in the areas of mathematics and science. I made decisions to study Computer Science at High school and at University and although I was part of a minority group of women in those classes, I remained positive and confident because of the support and belief that was instilled in me.

If I reflect on some of the milestones I have achieved, I attribute a lot of them to raising my hand to take on a challenging role, to having the bold conversation with my supervisor in order to explore new avenues at work, backing myself through my work outputs and decisions, always respectful and always knowing there was always going to be more to learn. It was the best advice anyone had ever given me. Turns out when you believe in yourself, others do too.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? This is the most exciting time get into the tech sector. With the readiness of such advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, drones, artificial intelligence, robotics, the list goes on… We are in the position of contributing to a crucial moment in history. Whilst the pace of change is superfast, there is a wealth of information out there. There are a growing number of women in tech that are applying their strengths and skills, reaching new heights in their careers. There is a drive by many organisations to drive up the number of women in this space and so if there are any doubts around your ability to build a career in this field, have a chat with myself or other women in this space and indulge in their insights and experiences.

I would say that if you are looking to get into the tech sector, you should remain relevant by reading widely, experiencing the technologies yourself and articulating a point of view. Having a point of view on how on how your technology skills can contribute to solving a problem or creating an opportunity for an organisation or individual will provide you with a voice. It will help you differentiate yourself in a high demand talent market.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? I am a ‘glass half-full’ kind of a woman. I believe that living a fulfilling life sits in your control. How you view your day, how you decide to learn from the challenges, celebrate the successes, how you trust the process of life to work in your favour is key. Positive affirmation and truly believing in what you devote your time to everyday are the special ingredients for my daily motivation. In this way, I can have the awareness of when change is necessary and remain true to my life purpose. This means working for an employer that values you, engaging in work that you want to do well and giving the best of yourself.

This also means finding the balance between work and life. Family and loved ones are an important part of my life, so are my passions for travelling, jazz, interior design and being near the ocean. You are the master of your minutes, take time to self-reflect and choose to live your days being happy and motivated. I also remember not to take life too seriously and to remember to inject laughter and humour into my life. We are not perfect and we should not be too hard on ourselves.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Part of me never wants to grow up, it’s my child-like curiosity of the how the world could be different or reimagined, which is something I really enjoy. Time does roll on though and I think what is really important to me is to grow up being authentic – being true to myself, my values, my potential and my passions. I really enjoy being part of a solution and making a difference in the world through my technology and business skills. More than anything, I want to be one of the reasons that other girls and women in my circle of influence, choose a career or hobby in technology. I think that we bring a different lens to the world as women and it is the cumulative impact that will make the difference. Being able to inspire others to be part of this exciting industry is one of the things I would love to experience as I grow up. I have some great ideas about how to bring together girls and women for this purpose and look forward to bringing those to fruition in the near future.

LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/prathna-singh-2085a81
Twitter: @prathnasingh3

Prudence Spratt

August 1, 2016 in Founder, Managing director, Profiles

Name: Prudence Spratt

Prudence Spratt

Designation: MD / Founder

Company:  Spratt Digital Consulting

What do you do every day? Running a small business I do a little bit of everything, I meet with clients, project manage work in progress, execute on tasks and do all of the admin that comes with running a business.

How did you get into the tech space? I think I was born into it.

I was born in the 80s and at the time my mom was a computer trainer when PCs first came out so there was always a PC in my house and I loved being on the computer.

When my mom was pregnant with me she met Bill Gates at a trade show in Sydney so in some way I think I was meant to get into tech – that and the fact that I started coding websites when I was 14.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? To take accounting to Gr12. It helped with my further education and work after school immensely.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? Follow your passion – find the sector of tech that you like the most because when you love what you do the other parts of your job that you don’t like become much easier to deal with.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My great team and the ability to work with them on exciting projects and with awesome people. That and if I don’t get up and feed my dogs they will probably eat my couch.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? A grown up version of myself…

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SprattSA
Website:  www.spratt.co.za
LinkedIn: https://za.linkedin.com/in/prudencespratt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SprattConsulting
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SprattCoZa/posts

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

June 10, 2016 in Developer, Events, Profiles

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