To mark the end of Women’s Month, we want to honour a woman we believe is challenging and smashing the status quo everywhere she goes. Introducing iKhokha’s very own first female developer – Pauline Chigumo!
Hailing from Zimbabwe, it’s safe to say that that Pauline is making waves in the tech industry.
With over 7 years of experience, Pauline has certainly learnt the art of working in the tech environment. Fresh out of university, she landed her first job in the capital city of Zim, Harare, as a developer. As a learner at heart, Pauline didn’t stop there. Instead she decided to explore and experiment with different paths until she found her passion in web development.
True to her nature, when an opportunity for further growth called, Pauline didn’t hesitate to answer. In 2016, she made the move from Harare to South Africa, securing a tech job in Johannesburg.
Today, we have the pleasure of sitting with Pauline at the iKhokha HQ in Durban. We’ll let her take you on her journey of valuable lessons. So buckle up, it’s going to be worthwhile ride!
The Only Woman Standing
It’s no secret that the tech industry is male-dominated. Pauline has walked through doors that few woman have entered. And oftentimes, she’d be the only woman standing in a room full of male developers.
The question most asked is, how does Pauline manage to hold her own as a woman?
And, with confidence she answers, “By being true to who I am!”
Conforming is not for people who want to change the world, it’s for those who want to fit into it. For Pauline, understanding your own power and holding true to your beliefs is what has brought her this far.
That’s not to say Pauline hasn’t had her fair share of challenges along the way.
From constantly hearing she’s in a male-dominated industry to being left out in conversation. But, Pauline has climbed her way to the top with grit, regardless. She doesn’t only stand as a true inspiration to women in those rooms. She also stands as the epitome of true tenacity.
“Being authentic to myself has gotten me far because I’m not comparing myself to anyone. I’m on my own path of growing,” says Pauline.
And boy, has she grown! In her 7 years of experience, Pauline has experimented in various tech avenues – from web development to app development and now product development.
Her secret? Taking each day as an opportunity to learn something new.
“For me to progress in my career path, I have to continuously learn. There will always be another problem and another way around the problem. And with ever-changing and advancing technology, I have to be willing to learn so I can keep up,” she says.
Knowledge is Power
One of the best things about being in the tech space is that it’s constantly evolving and there’s always something new to learn.
For Pauline, it means being a part of creating that new or next big thing. And that requires a certain level of confidence, creativity and skill. And to achieve that, her formula is quite simple.
Equipping herself with knowledge. Not just some knowledge; but a powerful amount of it.
Do It like Pauline
So for anyone with a passion for tech or looking to pursue a career in the tech and development space, Pauline has 3 golden nuggets of wisdom for you.
1. Never stop learning
See learning as a lifelong quest with no finish line because it is. Having the desire and willingness to learn will put you in a position where you’re confident in your work and your capabilities – regardless of your gender and other defining factors.
And if no one else rewards you, learning will.
2. Practice makes perfect
Coding is like a muscle you need to constantly strengthen. Make use of free online resources to flex your coding muscles and write at least one line of code each day.
Because the more you know, the better.
3. Believe in yourself
Whatever it is you believe to be true about yourself, is true. In most cases, you’ll have to be the first person to believe in you. The rest will follow your lead.
Champion the Challenge
Pauline enjoys a good challenge. For her, a job in the tech space is the perfect balance between challenge and reward. The process of coming up with an effective solution may be grueling, but the feeling of finally cracking the code makes it all worth it.
Pauline mentions that there’s a feeling of fulfilment she gets from her job because at the very core of what she does, is a greater purpose – driving South African small businesses forward with innovative solutions.
As demanding as the tech space may be, Pauline gives kudos to the strong leadership that fuels her growth and learning within the iK Tribe. In her books, iKhokha knows how to choose people that are the perfect fit for the job!
“A lot of people here have extensive knowledge and experience in different industries and systems so there’s a lot to learn from them,” she says. “They introduce you to new technical languages and are readily willing to teach you and give you direction in what you want to learn.”
If there’s one thing Pauline can count on, it’s her team leads to have the know-how in giving her direction when she needs it.
You know what they say, you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with.
And in this scenario, it couldn’t hold more truth. The extensive knowledge and experience from different industries and systems from her leaders continue to ignite Pauline’s innate desire to learn.
To Infinity and Beyond
For Pauline, the work is not done. While she is enjoying the present, she looks forward to broadening her horizons and continuing to grow under the leadership and mentorship of senior professionals in the business.
The iK Tribe is calling
The iK Tribe is a diverse team of cool, humble and open people who are purpose-driven and dare to dream bigger. Ask Pauline, she’ll tell you!
If this sounds like you, then you’ll fit right into the iK Tribe. We’re calling on all changemakers to join the movement to accelerate entrepreneurship and transform the way South African SMEs do business.
Check out our available vacancies and join the IK Tribe