Hey there! My name is Refiloe Malefane. I am an only child from a small town in the Eastern Cape. However, I grew up in the south of Johannesburg. I am a pre-sales engineer at an IoT solutions company.
I have a Computer Systems Engineering Diploma and currently pursuing a BTech in Electrical Engineering focused on Electronics and Satellite communications. Now enough with the formalities, lol. I am a fun-loving, inquisitive, and ambitious young lady who believes that all work and no play is no good for the soul. I am a book worm who loves to laugh.
Unfortunately, I cannot say I chose this career path from a young age (I wanted to be a pilot 😊). But alas, God had his way and I found myself studying Computer Systems Engineering and I loved it! It was the first time I was ever introduced to programming and it was a match made in heaven, most times. Since then, I have always loved the idea of building an electronics project and coding it to do, well… whatever I want it to do.
After varsity I became an intern at SA’s largest broadcast signal distributor. I had never even considered working in the broadcast industry, but it was a whole new world for me to explore. I learned a lot there in a short space of time. I then moved on to another company as a Broadcast Systems Engineer. This role entailed designing, implementing, and maintaining satellite broadcast systems. Real technician work most of the time, which I enjoyed because I have never had a problem with getting my hands dirty.
But the job became less and less challenging as the years went by and I found myself in need of something more stimulating. I felt that I had gained all that I needed in that role and wanted something that would reunite me with my love for programming and electronics. I was then given the opportunity to join an IoT company that prides itself as leaders in technology and how could I pass that by?
In my currently role, I am part of a team of people that are literally determined to take over the world and so far, it has been amazing. I am learning new things about various industries, new technologies, other people and mostly myself.
Crazy, lol. But on a serious note, a typical day is filled with me trying to find solutions to clients’ problems using new and exciting technologies. There is also a lot of research involved as I sometimes have to create solutions for industries that I am barely familiar with. There is always something new to learn here, and that’s what’s so great about it.
Have you experienced any challenges as a female in this industry and how did you overcome them?
Being a woman in a male dominated industry definitely comes with its own challenges. Being the only woman in the room can be daunting at first, then it gets frustrating as you realise that the people sitting around you greatly underestimate you. But instead of letting such moments get me down, I wake up everyday and decide that I am going to do great, and I am going to be great. I remind myself that I too, bring great value to the team.
That it is important to trust yourself, and the process. Just because things were not going the way I expected, doesn’t mean that they were going wrong.
Do it. And have fun with it. There will be challenging moments but believe me when I say that the satisfaction of solving the problem will be worth it. And remember to always have a teachable spirit.
Always ask, the worst that they can say is no:)
I want to start (or be part of) an organisation that focuses on equipping young girls from disadvantaged families with basic (and eventually advanced) computer skills. I feel that there is so much potential in these girls, but not enough resources to bring it out. I’d also like to leave behind a world that is kinder to girls in this industry.