Q&A with JumpCo alumnus, Tlangelani Maluleke.

Tlangelani Maluleke
JumpCo alumnus, Tlangelani Maluleke, decided early in life to be outstanding.

When JumpCo alumnus, Tlangelani Maluleke, completed matric at Malvern High School, she wasn’t too clear about her life’s goals. She chats to us on Heritage Day about being raised in a traditional Tsonga family, and her personal values and inspiration.

On a spring evening in Johannesburg, Dzunisani, 4, has dragged his mom away from her laptop to sit with him after supper. It’s been a long day with her at work, so really this is “his” time! They are watching cartoons on TV when the call comes through. He’s not too impressed! Fortunately his father, Javulani, is on standby, and entertains him during Mom’s interview.

What were your career aspirations? 

As a school leaver I knew that anything to do with computing appealed to me, so I enrolled at Vaal University of Technology for a National Diploma in Information Technology. That was a three-year course, which I completed with average marks. If a crystal ball had revealed my future as an automation tester, I wouldn’t have known what lay in store for her. The other thing she hadn’t planned on was motherhood. The arrival of my little boy changed my entire life.

How did you find JumpCo?

I was unemployed and hanging around after graduation. A friend suggested I apply and after an interview I landed at JumpCo. Everything I had learned from school was suddenly my reality. When I first saw somebody coding I knew wanted to learn more about that. Right from the my first experience in the learnership programme I was learning new stuff. It was like being at school, so I studied at home to assimilate all the learning I was receiving. 

I was one of the top performers on the learnership programme and soon got awarded a spot in the year-long internship programme. Management brought people in to motivate us, so we had access to information that was relevant in the industry. There was a strong emphasis on self-learning to prepare us for all eventualities. This meant that if we got the opportunity to go to a bank, it wouldn’t be too strange, and we would be ready to adapt.

Where do you work now?

Currently I write scripts to automate manual testing processes at FNB. For example, registering a customer into the system is a manual process which I can automate with less human intervention when testing, I write these scripts using Selenium. I also do API and web service testing using Java. 

For tech graduates interested in working at FNB, the company is always looking for people who are ready to make a difference. If you have a great attitude you can participate in shaping the organisation and the industry. 

Who helped you along the way? 

The facilitator who helped me the most was Marcus Tema. He taught me what to expect in the industry. He showed us the things we would need to know once we were out of the sheltered environment of JumpCo. Another thing that Marcus emphasised was the importance of being competitive. So too, of working hard, and of standing out. He offered real life skills motivation… and he saw my potential and  believed in me.

Please share a valuable life lesson

I became pregnant just as I was realising my full potential, getting exposure and opportunities to the career I had discovered I really wanted to pursue. A job shadow opportunity arose at ABSA and I was in the last trimester of my pregnancy. I felt heartbroken when I turned it down. At the age of 26, I decided it was time to put family first. It seemed like the end of the road for my career as I turned down the chance I was longing for. I feared that things would never work out… Just four years later, I discovered greater opportunities and I’m glad things turned out the way they did.

What does Heritage Day mean to you?

Embracing my culture as a Tsonga woman, is still relevant today on Heritage Day. Some people see cultural value in Xibelani, which is a lively dance with women wearing traditional Tinguvu. But for me, the more significant aspect of my heritage is respect. I learned in my family that you don’t raise your voice to your elders. 

At the same time, I believe in being true to yourself. That means there are situations where you must speak up for yourself. Women in IT must make an extra effort to stand up and be counted. Hold your ground when you know you’re right. Use your voice. These things are not incompatible as sometimes we must speak an uncomfortable truth.

Tlangelani Maluleke’s recommendations to her JumpCo sisters

When I go to forums I discover I’m the only woman on a panel being dominated by men. It is too easy to silence yourself under these circumstances, but you must stand up! You can prove that there’s a place for women in this industry. To all the interns I say: Hard work pays. Be competitive. Go out there. Research the relevant technologies. Stay with your own self study. Equip yourself for the industry. It’s a very competitive industry.

Who inspires you now?

I recently listened to motivational speaker Amanda Dambuza, the author of Baked in Pain: Your traumatic past may just be the fuel you need to soar! She spoke of growing up without hope, fearful of never amounting to anything. She persisted despite the odds of abuse and neglect. Now, here she is, a multi-award winning businesswoman and author and motivational speaker. She never allowed circumstances to determine who she was. She inspires me to persist, to work hard, and to make sure I’m always relevant.

Partner with JumpCo for BBEEE success

JumpCO is a BEEE 2nd Level 51% Black Owned company. We invest heavily in future generations of South African software engineers through our MICT SETA Software Lab, launching hundreds of careers since its inception. Email Betty Oliphant for more information on meeting your skills development obligations according to the Revised B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. 

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