Siyanda Ncobo

Keep practicing the skills you have acquired. Even if you have not stared working yet and even when people tell you that you are not capable of succeeding in STEM.

Country of origin

South Africa

Which company do you work for?

Konica Minolta South Africa

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Software Development

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

2 years and 9 months

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?

Being a young African woman and starting out in my career as a junior I faced the challenge of being undermined. I found that I had to work harder to prove myself. Working hard was worth it in the end because that is what helped me overcome my challenge. I ended up being known for being able to learn something from scratch to becoming good at it. I also became known for being able to handle whatever task I was given no matter how difficult it was and sometimes without the help of my seniors.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I actually joined this industry to expose myself to something new and different. Initially, I was meant to study Electrical Engineering, but my heart was not in it. So, I followed my heart and chose Software Development. While applying at the college, I was told that Software Development was the most difficult one that they offered. This only fuelled my desire to succeed in my studies and career. I ended up falling in love with Software Development in my first year and excelled in it immediately.

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

I have seen more and more women come into and dominate the industry. More women are taking up leadership roles in the industry which is really inspiring.

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

We can make the career expos -in high schools- fun by bringing fun scientific experiments which the students can participate in as well. Schools can request that women who are already working in the STEM fields have talks with the students. We can also expose students to fun Mathematical and Programming games or platforms at school and at home. Teach young girls about the endless possibilities of the STEM fields and how the STEM fields can help make a difference in their world.

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?

Keep practicing the skills you have acquired. Even if you have not started working yet and even when people tell you that you are not capable of succeeding in STEM. Keep learning and keep growing not only for your own career success but to also be an inspiration to other young women.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I love trying new things. So, if I am not trying a new recipe at home, I am trying new things with my loved ones. I also enjoy watching stand-up comedy for a good laugh after a busy day.



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