Molefe Skosana’s journey from mentee to mentor

Molefe Skosana
Once a JumpStart tutor, Molefe Skosana went through the JumpCo software labs programme and found his career path as a programmer.

Not many alumni travel through JumpStart and JumpCo Software Labs, but Molefe Skosana is now a software developer for a luxury car manufacturer in Midrand, where he continues developing the skills and building on the knowledge that he gained during his internship. We caught up with him to find out what has changed for him in the interim.

Back in 2014 when JumpStart started in Sasolburg, Molefe was a BSc (Computer Science) student at UNISA. He joined the NumberSense team as a tutor and thoroughly enjoyed working at Credo Primary. Steve Mahony recognised his potential and invited him to join the JumpCo software labs. With a StudyAssist bursary from SASOL he continued his degree and his career took off from that point.

Molefe Skosana, then and now

Molefe Skosana
Molefe Skosana was part of the first team in Sasolburg in

I live in Kagiso now, but I’m in the process of moving house. At 29, it’s time to become a family man. Looking back to my time in JumpStart, it was a lovely programme where I learned the soft skills one needs in a work environment – like working with people from different walks of life, adapting to a formal employment environment, and behaving respectfully to colleagues and learners. The JumpCo learnership at the Boitjhorisong Resource Center in Sasolburg was a great stepping stone that changed my career trajectory. 

What was the highlight of your JumpCo experience?

The first time I was deployed to a major building construction company, I realised I was now managing my first real project. I was finally hands on and had a huge responsibility to the client. Initially, it was intimidating, but I soon got used to it, and Ja! I saw how my work enhanced how the company processed their stock requisitions. This made a difference to the staff on the ground and gave me a sense of impacting people’s experience. I started on the  front end but was later given responsibility for the back end too. This learning opportunity expanded my skills and knowledge in a new way. It was thrilling. The support from both my facilitators and fellow students was remarkable.

What’s your process?

The client gives you the specs and you have to think it through from every angle – creatively and functionally. After asking lots of questions, you gain an understanding of what’s needed and then you implement the brief. When it’s finally running on production, that’s when you get excited. I use most of the technologies and methodologies I learned at JumpCo daily. Then there are the soft skills – being punctual, handling yourself, fitting in with people. It’s a different kind of work.

Who influenced you significantly? 

It’s difficult to mention just one person as Steve, Edgar, Corneil and Kheto each played a different role in inspiring and mentoring me. On the technology side, Corneil du Plessis was brilliant. He talked to me as if I was at his level even though I didn’t understand half of the technical aspects I was still learning. He never undermined me, always spoke to me like a peer, and modeled true leadership. Now I try to do the same for the newcomers in the profession who are still learning and report to me. As an account manager, Edgar Maistry said that developers focus on technology, but forget the business side of things. He explained how that makes a difference in the real world. That expanded view has stuck with me too! 

If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try again.

I’m currently working at a luxury car manufacturer in Midrand and I applied for the Job, feeling quite confident. I was sure I nailed the interview, but unfortunately not. I failed it! However, when you apply you can select to have them contact you again if another position becomes available. A while after they called me to ask if I was still in the job market. I went through a second process and second time… lucky!

What critical skills do you use daily?

Soft skills are the highest priority, and the tech skills come second. Having mastered Springboot, EJBs, Angular, Webservices, Message Broker, DevOps (Jenkins, Cloud services) and Agile (Confluence, Jira, Kanban, Daily standups, Retros), I turn my focus to the people. Because we work with different people we need to understand that we are raised  differently. It’s imperative to respect your colleagues, seniors and juniors, especially their time. Be punctual. When you’re needed, show up. 

What do programmers do at a car company?

There are many things programmers do in the auto industry. The team I’m in builds distributed systems of different magnitudes and functionalities. We are currently building a shift calendar which facilitates the production and distribution of a vehicle from planning to production to distribution. This aims at greater efficiency in the manufacturing process. I like the beautiful working environment and there are many interesting projects to work on and learn from. The best part is travelling all over the world to provide support when a project needs backup. As for the cars, I believe there are discounts, but I haven’t explored that! I’m saving for something else…

What are you reading right now?

Architecting Modern Java EE Applications by Sebastian Daschner is a major text and I strongly recommend that beginners go through the OCA/OCP Java 8 Programmer Study Guide by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. But after I’ve closed my technical books, I turn to my Bible on my bedside table. My faith is my drive.

Partner with JumpCo for BBEEE success

Corneil du Plessis enjoyed mentoring Molefe Skosana and others like him. “Helping someone discover and explore new skills and understand new material brings me great joy. To see them improve their quality of life while enjoying their jobs is very rewarding.”

Your company could be part of  investing in future generations of South Africans with digital skills. 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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