What is your specific job?
I’m VP Engineering at Sendy so my responsibilities span across working with various stakeholders to agree on ‘what’ the business needs us to build and work with engineers on the ‘how’, at the lowest cost and risk.
Your initial spark to enter the industry?
I was in school around the same time social media was taking off so there was a lot of excitement around Computer Science as an enabler and possibilities around disruptive innovation and revolutionizing the information age. I also had a great mentor who walked me through what I needed to know right around the time I settled into a career.
Your most exciting project to date?
Bonga - my close friends and I worked on an app to help women report sexual and gender based violence incidents after one of our friends was affected - it worked similarly to a ‘panic button’ and allowed you to add friends and family to a ‘safety circle’ and send them an SMS with your exact location when in need. We were still in school, won numerous awards and got a lot of media coverage for it - particularly from the southern part of Africa. I was particularly happy to hear stories of women who used the app to find safety and shelters across the country.
Top skills that anyone who wants to work in Tech needs?
Explore! While I have the utmost respect for specialists, I encourage the people I meet to endeavour to be generalists - diversify your knowledge of various technical subjects. Fundamentally, basic programming knowledge (Data structures, algorithms, programming paradigms etc.) can go a long way!
Your biggest role model?
Elon Musk - he runs product and engineering for both Tesla and SpaceX which is beyond impressive!
People or media (blogs, podcasts) to follow?
Podcast: HBR’s Women at Work, Ideacast, Radiolab
People: Brene Brown, Cal Newport, John Doerr
Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
Yes, there’s an obvious glaring gap! I think there are various factors contributing to this disparity but one that resonates with me is the lack of enough female role models in Tech which is something we have to fix - young people grow up admiring and mimicking adults and looking for inspiration so it matters what gender and career the adults are in. We need more female role models in tech!
ALWAYS remain your authentic self, do not change to accommodate bad behaviour or earn good; the tech space needs you. You in your true form. Most importantly, do not be afraid to use your voice, tell them to shut up when they need to in the politest terms possible.