Women in Tech

Carol Khoza

Carol Khoza is a System Engineer, an aspiring Software Engineer who did not let what people say about her career path stop her from going after her dreams. We are inspired to have her featured in this week’s Women In Tech feature.

My name is Carol Khoza and I’m an IT graduate. Some say I’m goofy, friendly and bubbly but I think I’m timid. I’d like to refer to myself as an “Aspiring Software Developer” as I am still learning more about technology. I am currently working as a System Engineer. To further my knowledge I’ve worked on personal projects like Agricode(http://agricode.co.za/home) and more. I also participate in hackathons, and by doing so I’ve gained technical skills such as coding, problem-solving and teamwork which are very much required in the workplace. Participating in hackathons has opened up so many doors for me because I wouldn’t have the exposure I have now nor would I have the skills that I currently have and I won the interview for my current job through a hackathon.

Walks us through your journey and how you got into IT.

So my IT journey started back in Varsity, I did an IT course but I wasn’t much interested in it as I am now. My interest in software development/ coding sparked at my very first Hackathon back in 2019 during my final year in varsity. I had always heard people talking about hackathons so I wanted to experience it, so I attended my very first hackathon hosted by Geekulcha in 2019. I won’t lie, I was very overwhelmed by the whole experience of seeing developers doing their thing right there and there I knew I wanted to dive deeper into coding because I saw what these developers built using technology which initially solved the given problem. From that day forth I told myself that I wanted to learn more and code!

I knew I wanted to be in IT when I started participating more in hackathons as well as doing coding tutorials on my own, I found the whole experience interesting and fun. So I started challenging myself to code more and that’s when I started winning more hackathons. It’s the feeling of solving real-life problems using technology and seeing that solution helps people, winning is nice but the opportunity of learning new technologies during hackathons is the best experience you could ever find. So I knew I wanted to do more using technology to solve problems.

A typical day at work.

My typical day at work goes something like this: I log in each morning, check whatever tasks I may have for the day and plan around them. I usually have a schedule for the entire day to ensure that I complete every task, and I have to collaborate with my team to ensure we meet the day’s goal. After my “9-5”, I worked on my side projects such as Agricode and more. One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is to believe in myself, growing up I’ve been bullied at school and never had much confidence in myself which has affected me badly in the workplace and in my everyday life. I wouldn’t be confident to raise matters during meetings or raise my opinion during discussions or believe that I would make it in the tech space since it’s male-dominated.

Have you experienced any challenges as a female in this industry?

I was always told that I shouldn’t get into tech because I won’t make it or that “everyone is doing IT”. I stood by my goals and believed in myself that’s why I made it this far. My winnings have proved to me that I’m capable of learning and striving in the tech space. I’d say my biggest win was when we won the Microsoft hackathon https://memeburn.com/2020/10/local-team-wins-microsoft-gbv-hackathon/ it was very huge and I’ve learnt so much from it, our solution also won an Anthem award https://www.anthemawards.com/winners/list/entry/#diversity-equity-inclusion/awareness-categories/combating-gender-based-violence-in-south-africa-with-microsoft-azure/0/combating/325155. Here are more of my winnings and achievements:

GirlCode hackathon  https://twitter.com/karol_khoza/status/1289913291763060736?s=20&t=qCpV4rqpTdzWa0M2W8gH1Q

Tadhack hackathon, read more on “South Africa’s Winners”  https://blog.tadhack.com/2020/10/11/tadhack-global-2020-results/

It was also an honour to be named Geekulcha’s Top 15 Young Geeks 2021 https://geekulcha.com/young-geeks/carol-khoza

What is your motto?

My motto in life is “Be the change you want to see in the world”

What do you hope to leave behind as your Legacy?

What I’d love to leave behind as my legacy is to make an impact in the tech space that will last long after I die, be it software that solved a problem or a leading tech company or an organisation that’ll change people’s lives.

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