NWU´s Nomathemba wins prestigious Women in IT bursary

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 01/19/2016 - 12:20

NWU´s Nomathemba wins prestigious Women in IT bursary

The year 2016 is off to a great start for Nomathemba Duma, a final year BSc IT student from the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal). The reason? She has just been announced as one of the Women in IT 2016 bursary winners.

For Nomathemba – who studies within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, a bright future awaits within the field of systems management.

During a recent media interview, Nomathemba said that IT has been a steep learning curve for her, and despite the progress made in the field a lot of people still perceive it to be a male dominated field of specialisation.  “I observed that my male classmates seemed to enter into their IT studies with a more extensive starting knowledge, possibly because interest in this subject is more strongly encouraged in young men than it is in young women at school level,” said Nomathemba.

The sky is the limit – if you put your mind to it

Nomathemba has no doubts about her future career path. She is set to gain experience in the field from a prominent tech firm after which she dreams of starting her own IT company. She furthermore envisions herself as working in close partnership with government to make sure that IT is a compulsory subject in schools. “IT skills are incredibly important and should be accessible to all,” explains Nomathemba.  

She is eager to use her story of success in her IT studies to demonstrate that women can find success in IT, and to motivate other young women to follow suit.

Entrepreneurship the route for upcoming leaders

According to Nonceba Rasmeni, Project Manager for Women in IT, the candidates up for the annual bursaries are from different walks of life but they all have one common trait – a passion for IT and developing their communities with the skills that they have learned and will still learn.

Rasmeni also noted a trend in leadership aspirations among the bursary applicants. "Women in IT' standard interview question asks candidates where they would like to work, [and] out of eight candidates [selected for interview], seven advised that they would like to own their own business," she reports. This represents an interesting paradigm shift as it shows that students are realising the education must translate to skills. In short: an understanding that they would like to develop business acumen, but ultimately they want to use their skills to run their own businesses.