Workplace experience: Felleng Mushunje

I would firstly like to thank GirlCode for the opportunity for such an enriching experience as well as the team from Basalt: Lumka, Luyanda, Lerato, Nerudo, Vuyo, Benjamin and Neo,thank you for everything.   Walking into the WeWork reception work space was like being in another world, we had to put our details into a iPad that took our picture and notified the person we were visiting…. – Matrix Vibes!!!   The building was beautiful, with a blend of 1st world influence and Wakanda. – If this is what working in tech means I am totally in! ūüôā  

The first day we did an exercise with Luyanda where she asked us to write down words that described who we were in all facades of our lives as well as expectations we had for the week. I am always keen on introspection so this was enlightening to see where I was, or how I saw myself.   When then spoke to Lumka who was a developer. He highlighted the important need of continuously learning. Even though he was more competent or specialized in Java when he started, he had to learn other programming languages such as REACT, VIEW and ANGULAR while working so that he could remain relevant and an asset to his team. We asked a lot of questions and he answered happily with great advice given. He touched on a lot of aspects in tech and what is trending at the moment and how we use technology in our every day lives.

Even though I am working full time and my journey in programming has literally just started –¬† he said I should ask the IT guys at work what technology they use so that I can transition easier towards that role while still working for the same company. – Thank you, I never thought of that before and will definitely use that advice.

We kicked off day 2 with Nerudo, who shared his journey on how he came about being the successful full stack Developer / Tech Lead he is now. His story was inspirational, and I feel honored to have been given the privilege to hear it. I think many young Africans should hear it so that it can motivate them to achieving their dreams.   He did not tell us his title until the end when we asked. He said…

” Your title highlights your incompetence!”

– How humble and profound…   Some key takeaways from him that caught my attention:  

“Its knowing that you don’t know that is important.”

“Drop enough shit so that the right people find you.” ¬† Wow! Thank you, if that was all BASALT had for us, I was totally full and ready to conquer the tech space. ¬† But no, they had more. ¬† We then had the opportunity to meet the HR¬†head, Lerato. She gave us tips on what we should put on our cv’s and what we should omit. She told us to create a git hub account and join tech user groups so that we can keep up to date on what is happening in the industry. She then highlighted on the fact that we should work on projects or assignments over and above that we are given at school, go to events and meet ups and read publications on our favorite languages. ¬†This was invaluable because no one ever gets to speak to HR on an informal basis, only getting to meet them at the dreaded “interview”.

This interaction made me aware that I have a long way to go and need to narrow down my interests and concentrate on one thing at a time. ¬† After a short lunch break we met with Vuyo, Neo and Benjamin. They introduced a different side to a tech company I didn’t really know existed. Quality assurance, Business analysis and business development. Ok, so as a beginner in software development, I could transition easier into these positions with the marketing and corporate knowledge I have now? – Maybe…

Vuyo who works on the quality assurance, showed us what he does in his day-to-day as well as the internal communication platform they use. He introduced us to “Selenium” a portable framework for testing web applications. Authoring functional tests without the need to learn a test scripting language. – How clever…  

Neo explained to us the importance of a discovery meeting, to get the scope and exactly what the client wants. Research, research and more research he kept pumping into us. He told us to look up the top ten CRM’s and ERP’s as well as the¬† best open-source software to try in 2019. We should be concentrating on gaining more knowledge besides school, through Udemy, tutorials and Youtube so that we can differentiate ourselves from our peers he said.

This day was information overload and I felt my brain slightly fried but in such a great way! I took plenty notes and will look up every single thing. There were lots of terms I did not understand, but I know after research I will definitely be a head above the rest.   For the last two days we had a topic to research and had to present in just over 24 hours. I had to present on Blockchain, on how it would benefit the Legal, Healthcare, and banking sector in South Africa. By deadline time, I can confidently say I knew a great deal about this topic that was totally unknown to me. And I  could easily explain it so that others could understand!

 One of my goals for 2019 was to utilize the immense pot of knowledge I have in the people in my life as well as take full advantage of any opportunities that may come my way.   Knowledge sharing is an immense value in my life and I appreciate the fact that these strangers at BASALT, wholeheartedly  shared their knowledge.

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