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Being A Young Woman in the Telecom Industry

An interview with Sanelisiwe Ndwandwe – Junior Software Developer at Adapt IT Telecoms.

By Katucia Moussongo

Despite global progress in various fields, women still make up a small percentage of the Tech workforce. Despite the hurdles, some female graduates enter the industry and position themselves behind Technology. In this interview, meet Sanelisiwe Ndwandwe – Junior Software Developer at Adapt IT Telecoms.

An interview with Sanelisiwe Ndwandwe – Junior Software Developer at Adapt IT Telecoms.

By Katucia Moussongo

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to maintain a good mindset while waiting,”

What was your perception of the Telecommunication industry before you joined the Adapt IT  team? And did it change since you joined the company?

For me, Telecommunications has always been about keeping people connected. And the way it has progressed and advanced through time has made it even easier to connect with your loved ones because everyone is now literally just a phone call, e-mail, or video call away. That’s how I perceived Telecommunications. However, since joining Adapt IT, my perspective has shifted because, I am now part of the team behind the magic. I get to see the journey from the development of a product to its launch in the markets. Presently, I have a better understanding of how Telecommunications work. It is not just the end product, but the work that goes into it, behind the scenes.

How did you find your first experience with Adapt IT Telecoms?

My emotions were somewhat conflicted. A part of me was incredibly eager to be a part of this amazing team and to work with these talented developers. But another part of me was terrified and worried because this was my first job and my first experience in the industry. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that I wouldn’t be able to learn the work and do what was required of me. But then, I had such a wonderful experience thanks to my manager. She was very welcoming. And more so, my colleagues greatly supported me during that transition. They made my journey a lot easier. They were always willing to teach me and provide me with guidance. As a result, I’ve never really struggled to understand something because they were always there to help me understand things better.

I feel great right now. I’ve adjusted. Indeed, I am still learning, but I have improved a lot since I first arrived. I’m currently in a position where I am really confident in what I do. And I feel like I can even transfer the knowledge to someone else easily.

How does it feel to finally be recognised as a Software Developer ?

It wasn’t an easy journey to get here. I applied for Adapt IT graduate program, went through several interview processes, and was offered an opportunity. I learned about the technical side of Telecommunications for a year through trainings and assigned projects. I had to stay focus and work hard. But seeing how I have matured in the role and in the company has made me understand that all those sleepless nights from studies, the failures and the struggles were all preparing me for this moment. All of this couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s encouraging me to keep evolving in the field and keep learning because I still have a long way to go in terms of understanding what’s going on in the industry. That’s how I feel. 

Moreover, I’m a woman and this is a male dominated space. There aren’t many women working in software development because it is very challenging and demanding. I mostly work with men. Having the opportunity as a woman to be a part of something so amazing makes me say I am a thorn amongst the roses.

I’m very proud of myself for persevering thus far. It takes a lot to get here, and I’m willing to put in the work and grow. A quote that I like by John Ruskin says, “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it”. I feel like all of my challenges leading up to this point have rewarded me with the opportunity to be the person I’ve always wanted to be. It is both motivating and encouraging.

Why is Adapt IT the right place to be?

There is a lot going on in Adapt IT. There are different teams in different divisions, different graduate programmes available and a multicultural workforce.  Amongst all this diversity, we get to learn about what individuals in other departments are doing. Thus, we have knowledge transfer sessions on Fridays, where we get additional information on what’s happening outside our team.

In addition, Adapt IT is a great place to develop professionally. And working here is enjoyable since, at the end of the day, it’s all about being challenged and the joy of finding a solution to the challenge. That’s Adapt IT for me. I enjoy being challenged, I enjoy thinking, and coming up with solutions.  Adapt IT enables me to be that person.

What will you say  to aspiring young developers who are still in school and looking for their first professional opportunity?

I would say they should be willing to learn and unlearn. They need to understand that it won’t always be easy and fun because coding is very challenging and extremely sensitive. It’s like a little baby that you need to take good care of because if you make one mistake, everything falls apart.  Nevertheless, what’s important is your attitude in the midst of those challenges. It is only your attitude toward the situation that matters. Also, while seeking that first professional opportunity, they need to be kind to themselves and be patient.

They must remember that patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to maintain a good mindset while waiting, to keep a positive attitude while waiting, and to trust that everything will fall into place.

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