Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Tapiwa Muza born, Zimbabwe. I am an only girl in a family of 3 Children. Grew up around boys, and that made me very competitive as I had to play catch up to the boys. When l was growing up l was very athletic, literally did every sport in school. l loved a challenge and still do. I am an extrovert and love to engage with people.
Walk us through your career journey and how you got into I.T?
I.T was never the first career choice, l saw myself as an office administrator like my mother, and the general inclination is to follow in the footsteps of your role model. l used to help at her workplace from time to time and practice the basic computer skills I had learnt at school. My love for computers grew and l decided to get formal certification. At that time, I did not know that I.T could be a fulltime career with a wide scope of opportunities that one can pursue. The first step, with the advice of friends in the industry, was to take short courses through a college because l could not afford to go to a polytechnic or University. I took a couple of courses but later realised when applying for a job they were not enough to get you into the market as the first pre-requisite is a degree or diploma equivalent. I then enrolled for a Diploma in IT with UNISA, it was a very scary and challenging experience because this is when l got to experience the world of programming.
What is your typical day like at work?
As a project manager, my tasks and time vary day on day dependant on what the project needs. I check in with my supervisor and review my diary every day, so l am clear about what needed to be achieved in the week. l am responsible for overseeing progress on various projects within GirlCode, one of my main responsibilities is overseeing the GirlCoder club, which is a volunteer lead coding and robotics club for primary and high school children.
Have you experienced any challenges as a female in this industry and how did you overcome them?
The greatest challenge l experienced is prejudice against females. At one time a male student told me that l could not achieve anything doing any I.T relevant course. He described it as very “technical” – a term which only applied to male. Past records did show that not many females were successful, so the argument was not really to my advantage. The class was already male dominated and at that time we were 4 females in the class, of which 2 dropped out during the course. Being a very competitive person that l am l took it as a challenge and succeeded.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?
With age, has come wisdom and I now realise that when young, one needs to seek help with career guidance and the best is to engage with people that are already involved with the areas of interest. One must also carry out a lot of research to avoid wasting time pursuing areas that are not a fit for one’s career goals.
What’s your advice for other girls considering getting into the tech space?
Do not be afraid of taking up space in the industry. Research all about the tech space, have in-depth understanding of your career path and choice, be focused and put in the work.
What is your motto in life?
Opportunities don’t happen. You create them. — Chris Grosser
Lastly, what do you hope to leave behind as your legacy?
I would like to leave a legacy of leadership- teach people about creating lifelong achievements, through ethics and doing well while doing good. I want to become a role model to the younger generation.