Tsitsi Marote: Women in Tech

Over the years, the challenges women face in IT have been amplified, and it’s been necessary that we advocate for gender equality so that we may see change. However, women have been making big moves too, and this is something we want to celebrate.

We caught up with Tsitsi Marote to celebrate some of her wins because we believe it’s important to show girls coming up in the industry that; it’s possible to “WIN” as a female in a male-dominated industry.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a software/analytics engineer by day and an entrepreneur by night and weekends. I love music, memes, tech, hackathons, hiking and a great conversation. My background is in Computer Science & Computational and Applied Mathematics with an Honors degree in Big Data Analytics which I obtained from Wits University. I am really lazy to exercise but get extremely amped up about hiking, worst dancer you’ll ever find but I do it anyway. I spent the first couple of years post-tertiary working at a startup. I transitioned from being a data scientist to a backend software engineer and now I’m doing a little bit of everything in the software and data world. In 2020 I co-founded a health tech startup by competing in hackathons called Guardian Health https://guardianhealth.io/.

Walk us through your career journey and how you got into I.T?

I enrolled at Wits University to study Computational and Applied Mathematics because I wanted to become a Quantitative Analyst. I did however have to take on 4 majors which allowed me to explore various areas. One of those majors was Computer Science which I totally fell in love with. At the end of my undergrad, I had to decide whether I wanted to pursue Mathematics(becoming a quantitative analyst or going into software engineering). Software won!!! During my honors year, I chose to major in Big Data Analytics which is a major that falls under Computer Science. I worked for about a year as a data scientist then transitioned to software engineering as I worked in consulting which required me to take on multiple roles based on the project at hand.

When did you know you wanted to be in IT?

In my final year of undergrad, I had to choose whether I wanted to pursue the applied mathematics route or computer science as my major in honors. It took a lot of reassessing, and I realized even though I had gone to study to become a quant, I had fallen in love with the computer science side of things more.

What is your typical day like at work?

My current role is remote, and a typical day starts at around 7 am when I do a bit of planning for the day like reading emails, organizing, and doing admin. I then figure out what am I trying to achieve for the day, and this is usually accompanied by a cup of green tea. On some days, I have standups where the team talks about what we are working on and realign on the sprint goals. Outside of meetings, I then get into coding for most of my day.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew when I was younger that it is extremely important to always maintain a balance outside of work and studying. Live, exercise, eat well, and go out and take care of your mental health to maintain holistic wellbeing. It will make you feel better and more intellectual in the areas of your life.

We know challenges women face in the industry are always amplified; can you tell us about some of your “wins”.

  • Software Engineering Discipline Lead in previous role
  • Top 15 Young Geeks of South Africa 2020 by Geekulcha
  • Rising Stars of 2020 by Brainstorm magazine.
  • Spoken at various events to encourage and inspire upcoming developers.
  • Co-founded a telehealth platform called Guardian Health https://guardianhealth.io/ which has won a couple of awards

What is your motto in life?

“Hope is not a strategy” . – James Cameron

Certain aspects of your life are outside of your control, don’t obsess on those; instead, focus on what you have control of, which is the larger part. Plan, Plan and plan; keep revisiting and readjusting, and wake up early, be persistent, be consistent and start today!

Lastly, what do you hope to leave behind as your legacy?

I would like to contribute to ensuring there’s more equality in tech and to have been part of the creation of solutions to the problems that we face as a continent.

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