Greetings GirlCode community! We recently sat down with one of the developers from our partner agency, Black Beard Technology to find out more about her role and work in the industry.
What is your name and what is your job title?
My name is Willemien Van Tonder. My title is developer and business analyst at Black Beard Technology. I’m 28 years old.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hoedspruit in Limpopo, close to the Kruger National Park.
What tertiary qualification/s do you have?
A degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Pretoria.
What do you do each day?
I am a front-end developer at Blackbeard Technologies. I help write requirements on new projects that require analysis on a deeper level.
Where have you worked previously? Tell us about your experience.
I worked at BBD for three years before joining Blackbeard two years ago.
How many female developers do you know?
Very few, most of them from my student years. The majority of female developers that I have had the pleasure to meet have moved over to the analyst and project management side of the industry.
What advice do you have for other aspiring female developers?
Keep working hard, the reward is worth the effort. As there are a fewer of us, you have more of an opportunity to stand out and make a name for yourself.
Have you experienced any challenges as a female in this industry?
Unfortunately, I found I had to really prove myself initially to be taken seriously. It is a cliché, but as there are fewer women it is a male dominated industry and the result of this is that it’s a Boys Club. But once you have credibility and a proven track record, this industry does have an amazing bunch of people to work with.
What are the advantages of being female in the industry?
It depends if you like to be treated like ‘one of the guys’ or not. I prefer it and think it’s an advantage not to be treated differently because of your gender. We all collaborate together to get the job done well, actually brilliantly, not just well!
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a developer?
Probably the single biggest challenge is to keep up with the crazy speed of the industry. There are so many new developments happening every week, and it’s really a struggle to keep up with everything. But you need to be on the pulse of innovation so it’s constant reading, constant learning and researching.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I have a big love for animals and own three dogs so I spend a lot of time with them. When I really want to chill hard, I love to get lost between the pages of a good book. I also enjoy building things with my hands, whether it is a puzzle, a wood project or assembling model buildings