Mokgadi is a determined young South African woman who is passionate about software quality assurance, technology, leadership and women empowerment. She holds a diploma in Information Technology (Software Development) from Richfield Graduate Institute and she is currently studying towards a Bsc in Informatics, Computer and Information Sciences from the University of South Africa. She is currently working as a Software Quality Assurance Analyst at Glucode, an organisation that develops Web and Mobile Applications services for iOS and Android. She is also the founder of Techarati Technologies, a new organisation providing services in Software Testing and Business Analysis.
Why did I you get into STEM?
I have always known that I will find myself in the technology space one way or the other even though I had no idea what exactly I would do. I have always been a curious person in terms of technology. I did not understand why or how I could talk to someone on the phone when they are miles away. I wanted to understand the techniques and innovations behind this amazing little device. I was always the first one to volunteer to connect new devices following a manual or just using my own understanding. I had unanswered questions and studying technology was the only way to get my answers. After high school I took a gap year just to research channels in this field and ended up in a programming class the following year – I felt fulfilled.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
1. My greatest achievement was in 2015 when I applied for the Khulasangam Internship Programme for a software development opportunity in India. Twenty-four (24) applicants were selected from thousands of applications and I was one of the only 4 women selected. It was a nerve-wracking 3 days of writing tests and doing presentations in front of successful IT companies and entrepreneurs. It was all worth it.
2. Entering this male-dominated industry fearlessly with confidence.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
1. Being undermined is one of the challenges that I have faced and still face in my career. When I was interning in India, a male colleague told me a woman will never cope in the programming space so if we are that interested in IT we should rather consider an admin job in the field rather than doing technical work.
2. Having your skills, ability and work doubted all the time and always have to try improving myself just so I can be given a chance has been another challenge. Despite all the negativity, I have decided and learnt to overlook it and focus on my journey. What matters is achieving my goal and improving my skills.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
No industry belongs to anyone. If Software Development is your passion then go get your own. Never stop learning. Never, ever say it’s enough because with innovation nothing stops. Challenge yourself and allow others to challenge you. That will help sharpen your skills, knowledge, and strengthen you. Do not be afraid to stretch a little more out of your comfort or capabilities, and have no limits.