Building future leaders
Get to know Dimakataso Mohapi, a Vodacom Discover Graduate.
The Discover Graduate Programme is part of Vodacom’s early careers programme designed to develop future leaders. The programme offers a permanent employment opportunity underpinned by two years of skills training. Dimakatso Mohapi, a Discover graduate now in her third year at Vodacom, works in Predictive MIS at the Cape Town office.
1. What qualifications did you study for?
A BSc in Information Technology, followed by an Honours degree in Computer and Information Technology at North-West University. I recently received a scholarship to study a Masters in Computer Science at the University of Szeged in Hungary.
2. How has your career grown at Vodacom?
I started as a Radio Planning and Optimisation Intern at the Bloemfontein office for a year and then transitioned to my current role.
3. What have been your career highlights?
Being on the Discover Graduate Programme has been the best thing. It gave me an opportunity to have a life and career coach. It has also helped me to understand the real world and corporate world.
4. Did you always want a career in tech?
I’ve always had big dreams for myself. I initially wanted to become a medical doctor, but unfortunately didn’t qualify to apply. I ended up going with information technology, which was my second choice – with a very limited computer background and no funding. I developed a passion for IT and the various specialties like programming, data science, machine learning and data analysis. However, it’s not best practice to try and do everything at once, so I’m focusing on data analysis.
5. What are some of the challenges of being a woman in tech?
The technology sector is male-dominated, and we’re striving to remove that mindset and bring in more women to create a gender balance. Knowing my worth has allowed me to succeed in the industry. I know what I bring to the table doesn’t have to do with my age, gender, or race.
6. You’ve co-founded an NGO named RunTech. Tell us more about it.
It’s a programme that teaches kids from Grade 1 to Grade 9 how to code. My passion for teaching started with tutoring maths and science during my time at university. This also gave me the privilege of being a facilitator for Vodacom’s programme, Code Like a Girl – a role I enjoyed. I couldn’t help but continue teaching children in my township who couldn’t participate because they didn’t meet the programme’s academic standard or didn’t get an opportunity to join it.
7. What’s your message to other women in tech and those who’d like to enter the industry?
Be a groundbreaker, and don’t hesitate. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Break the rules. Most women will agree with me when I say that the rules were made to oppress us. So I encourage women to break them, but in a sober-minded way. Companies like to say, “We’ve been doing it this way for 25 years.” Well, why not be the first to do it a different way for one day? Yes, your company may have been doing it that way for years, but it’s okay to do it differently for one day if you have a better or quicker way.