Ndilisa Didiza

Don't stop learning, including skills not directly linked to your role. For example, I wish that I had studied the reports we created maps for, where I used to work.

Country of origin

South Africa

Which company do you work for?

I am the Founder and Managing Director of Kgothatso Innovations

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Geographic information Systems and Remote Sensing. We provide Geospatial support to companies within the Environmental, Legal, Engineering, Mining, Hydrology and Town Planning fields.

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s (STEM) fields?

Over 15 years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I am fortunate to have a network of very supportive male figures, inside and outside my industry. These are people who are keen to collaborate and are open to finding new ways to work together. Also, my career peaked at a time when more and more women were entering the geospatial space. The representation is not fully equal, but it is getting close. One of the main challenges for us as a business is that there is very little growth in women who code, i.e. GIS developers within GIS. When we have this skill requirement, we hardly find it in women. This is what I’d like to see change at a faster rate.

What inspired you to join this industry?

Discovering that Geography and Information systems could be used for decision making in many industries.

What changes, if any, have you seen with regards to women in your field?

I’m seeing more women with advanced Geospatial skills. A crucial change for our industry if we are to compare with the rest of the world.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

I only discovered GIS by accident during my 2nd year of university. We cannot be having that. We need to expose young girls to the careers within STEM from as early as primary school. And where possible let’s sponsor those maths/science tutors so that the girls can get support early on and know that these are subjects they can excel in.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

Don’t stop learning, including skills not directly linked to your role. For example, I wish that I had studied the reports we created maps for, where I used to work. As a result, when I had to start writing reports in my current role, I would get frustrated and overwhelmed. I’ve since learnt the skill and continue to improve with every report

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I cycle. I’m passionate about healthy living and general well-being. It’s only when we are healthy that we can be our best selves. Cycling has not only helped me to be healthier but has allowed me to meet amazing people as well.

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