Katlego Mokgosi (25) has big plans for her own career as a programmer and wants to bring other women and girls on board. International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a day we celebrate with our sister entity, JumpCO Software Labs, where Katlego is currently enrolled in a learnership. Equal access and participation in science for women and girls is a vital imperative globally, but particularly in South Africa where the lack of IT skills in the South African market slows the nation’s development and economy. JumpCO aims to ensure that young women like Katlego gain the skills to enter the market place with excellent training as programmers, opening the door for terrific career prospects.
Women inspiring women
The American polymath, poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, inspires Katlego with her powerful ideas and strong, forceful writing. She inspired change in generations of young black women and was awarded more than 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime.
“I think you can be a jack-of-all-trades and a mistress-of-all-trades. If you study it, and you put reasonable intelligence and reasonable energy, reasonable electricity to it, you can do that.” – Maya Angelou
Katlego’s inspiration in the tech space is closer to home. Baratang Miya is a social entrepreneur and CEO of GirlHYPE, an NPO focused on empowering girls from disadvantaged backgrounds with the skills to pursue careers in tech and build lasting careers in the industry.
Katlego’s biggest female champion was right in her home. “My mom always had my back. She believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself,” says Katlego. Although she is in the early stages of her career, she cherishes the hope of awakening and motivating future female pioneers. “I can imagine myself mentoring other women and girls in the tech industry in future. We must have female mentors. When young girls are exposed to these role models, they are inspired to choose professions in tech.”
Ones, zeroes and groundbreaking ideas
Katlego took to computers as a girl and was privileged to attend a school offering IT as a subject. That early exposure started a journey that led to a love for programming. “I love the psychological challenge that programming presents!” Katlego successfully attended JumpCo Software Labs’ learnership programme back in 2019 for her NQF level 5 in Computer System Development. Now she is thankful to have survived the stringent selection process for the internship program.
The internship envisages to align and hone skills in line with the industry requirements through mentorship, work experience, values and further certifications. She is currently preparing for her Liferay DXP Front-End certification, thereafter IBM and Redhat certifications. “It’s more than just ones and zeroes,” she says. “Programming offers me the chance to create groundbreaking ideas and carry them through to completion and reward me with those certs.”
Early education in maths and science
Katlego recognises her sister interns who are educator assistants on the JumpStart programme. “People like Noxolo and Rino are making a difference in foundation phase education, helping future generations of women by laying strong foundations in maths and science. When young girls find joy in exploring these subjects, they prepare themselves for success in the future. They are doing vital academic preparation that equips girls with critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills that will serve them for many years,” she said.
Katlego has high hopes for her future. She aims to become by 2024 a front-end developer at either Oracle or FNB in South Africa. In twenty years she hopes to be working for a big Silicon Valley company as a senior full-stack developer.
How can you support education for women in STEM?
JumpStart and JumpCO Software Labs welcome partners. We seek companies keen to support young South African women training for meaningful careers in STEM and STEM education. Our organisation offers a supportive environment where township youth gain skills, pursue their studies, and work at transforming underperforming classrooms into centres of mathematical excellence. We can help you meet your Skills Development requirements. Your contribution to our organisations qualifies you for a Section 18A Tax Exemption Certificate. Email Betty Oliphant for further information.