Workplace Experience: Cyber Security, hardware and software development intern at CSIR

My journey in tech started when I got to varsity, initially I wanted to study medicine but due to lack of space I couldn’t. In 2014 I got the opportunity to study Computer Systems Engineering at Tshwane University of Technology and my love for science helped me decide to go for it. I attended with a group that was full of males (females were a little number). During August in 2015 I attended my first hackathon that was hosted by UN Women and Geekulcha. In December 2015 I applied and started my first job as an IT Help Desk intern, where there were only two of us (interns and females) . I then decided that networking was not the only thing I wanted to venture into, so I applied at Geekulcha.

At Geekulcha, I got the opportunity to mentor young high scholars through the gkvacwork, national science week 2016 in Kimberley and other foundations where I volunteered. Mentoring others was something that I started doing even to my peers during my varsity days because I enjoy sharing my knowledge as much as learning from others. Ever since I attended my first hackathon I actually started attending a lot of hackathon even during my time at Geekulcha. Through attending hackathons and networking with industry leaders, I got opportunities from various organisations one of which is CSIR, where I am currently an intern in cyber security, software and hardware development.

I still attend tech especially women in tech events to meet more industry leaders and mentor those that are starting off with their careers in tech. As a woman in tech I have been challenged by men who undermined my capabilities and through hard work I always let my results do the talking. I have built a 3D printer (The Serve Digital Innovation 3D printer) through the help of online resources and coaching from Tiyani Nghonyama and Geekulcha. I am the only female amongst two males to graduate (in April 2017) in my course group (2014 first year Computer Systems Engineering students) on record time.

The passion for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence is something I have been passionate about since my childhood and it’s what keeps me going even in challenging times. I am also passionate with creating a better future for our county by enabling fellow young bright women to get into this field and create systems that will improve the quality of our lives as South Africans with the women and men already doing so. Women must know that they are as capable as men are in terms of IQ, the only thing we are not is physically strong but we are equally intelligent and maybe even more.

by Dineo Malatjie


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