9 Things you Learn Trying to Get into SA’s Tech Industry
Madoda Khuzwayo is a technology entrepreneur. His latest project is Hostriver, a solutions company aimed at the SME sector. Their Do-It-Yourself (DIY) website building platform empowers entrepreneurs to build an online presence.
Khuzwayo is an tech industry veteran, before Hostriver he launched companies like Hello Fibre, OpenTenders, DailyJobs and Recipe Network.
Khuzwayo says he fell in love with the Internet and “the infinite possibilities it can generate for commercial use and social change” at an early age.
He has a qualification in electrical engineering from the Vaal University of Technology which he later complemented with an eCommerce and Information Systems qualification from the Westminster College of Computing in London and an advanced certification in Linux and Database Administration from SQL College in Bangalore, India.
Everyone is welcome into the technology sector, says Khuzwayo, but it does take some skill to navigate.
People are willing to help those that are willing to help themselves
“To build a career within the tech industry, the first thing you get told is to find the right people and build relationships with them. Here are few more of my personal learnings,” says Khuzwayo.
Whether you get paid for the work or not, you’ll be filling your portfolio and gaining skills. Take it day by day.
Build your network and make connections
In the tech industry you need to put yourself out there. Attend tech meetups and take part in online community discussions.
Be willing to start from the bottom
When you make the leap into tech be prepared to start from the bottom. Often you will start in a junior position; however, often junior positions can be terrific and well-paid.
Mentorships are important
Mentoring is a two-way street, when working with someone who is tech savvy this is a wonderful way to develop your digital skills. Find an experienced person in the industry and gain first-hand knowledge about the sector. Like the great saying goes, ‘People are willing to help those that are willing to help themselves’. Find someone whom you could learn from, and alternatively who can learn from you.
Drive, determination, and perseverance go a long way
Maybe you are a quick learner, adaptable or are a problem solver. Find your niche and incorporate it into the tech sector you are interested in.
Jump in 100%
For any new skill to be acquired you need to work hard to become good at it. Immerse yourself in the tech industry and network with other techies, attend a technology conference and read as much as you can on the trends and various technological topics.
It’s not what you studied, it’s what you learned
Make use of social media
You don’t have to be tweeting or posting the entire day, however social media is a hub within the tech world and it’s important for sharing information and building valuable connections.
Don’t let your age stop you
Often when we are young we tend to be concerned about our age and being the youngest in the room, but all that really matters is the ability to get the job done.
Follow your interests and passion
For example, if you love fashion, then you might be interested in e-textiles; if you enjoy playing video games, then you might want to become a test engineer or even a developer. There are a lot of options. Explore those areas that you are passionate about and never limit yourself by thinking you need to work in a traditional technology company or even in the IT department.
The South African technology industry represents unique challenges and great opportunities. Therefore, what are you waiting for? Transitioning into tech industry will not be easy, but with the right amount of dedication, determination and passion anything is possible.