Nsovo Manganyi is a full-stack software developer at Yoco, hitting her six-month mark at the company this month. While she admits the role and area is still very much a man's world, she believes the brain has no gender and the capability to think is given to everyone who has a brain. Due to these beliefs, she involves herself in initiatives like The Black Girls' Code to help mandate a change, but she does see it slowly changing in SA.
At Yoco, Manganyi gets excited to be in a team with women. In most cases, she finds herself as the only ‘dev woman’ in a meeting room full of men, but believes in a genderless community when it comes to coding. She loves working at Yoco, because of the equal treatment and opportunities, and because she feels part of the team and "that is the most important thing".
Here, we chat with Manganyi to find out more about her role, why initiatives like The Black Girls' Code matter and
Tell us a bit about yourself - your background?
I am a full-stack software developer at Yoco, hitting my six-month mark at the company next month. While this industry and role is still very much a man's world, I believe the brain has no gender and the capability to think is given to everyone who has a brain. Due to these beliefs, I involve myself in initiatives like The Black Girls' Code to help mandate a change, but I do see it slowly changing in SA.
Describe your role at Yoco - what does a typical workday look like for you?
As a full-stack software developer, I love overseeing the whole picture of the story, from the front end to the back end. I love solving the problems presented.
What I love about my role at Yoco, is creating affordable products and tools for entrepreneurs, thereby helping make a difference in our country. A day in my life includes a cup of tea in the morning, a stand-up where we give updates on what we are currently working on, are there any blockers, and then code (develop) and test the system throughout the day.
Do you have any role models? If so, who?
There are a couple of people that have helped shape my career, some knowingly and some unknowingly.
What do you love about working at Yoco?
Working at Yoco is great, we are treated equally, given equal opportunities. What I love is that I feel part of the team and that is the most important thing. It’s no wonder Yoco was named as one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators by Fast Company, and proudly the only South African company to have been named in 2021.
How we work at Yoco makes a very big difference, we have kanban boards and do sprint planning so anyone can pick up a story card that is next. The team that I have joined uses python and React mostly, so I have been learning that.
Do you think it’s important to have a month dedicated to women? And why.
Having a month dedicated to women is important as it highlights the challenges and achievements, but important we don't just speak to women issues/achievements during these months and ensure you have policies in place at the workplace and celebrate women every day to ensure we move forward
Why are initiatives like The Black Girls' Code so important? How has being involved helped shape your own life?
Initiatives like these are important and necessary for so many reasons, they build pathways for women and young girls to be able to take on Stem subjects and Stem careers. Young girls get to see and interact with role models in the space.
I have also learned that a lot, through it all, I have learned discipline and consistency.
Why is this change needed in South Africa?
Change is needed in SA, because we want this country to create opportunities for both genders. We all want to build a better future for our children and those in it
What advice would you give to women wanting to enter your industry?
You can do this. Believe in yourself
What is the best advice anyone has given you?
One of my mentors said to me “we are going to google it if we don't know it, we are problem solvers”, that stuck with me.
As a woman, have there been any significant challenges in the workplace that stand out for you?
Aaah, yeah, there are a lot of stories to tell. I have been told that "no offence but women belong in the kitchen", and I felt that was stupid because anyone hungry belongs in the kitchen. I have been mistaken for a tester when walking into external meetings with my team. The list goes on and on because I think people are ignorant. How I deal with it is to take no offence, someone's opinion of me does not have to affect me. I know who I am, what I do, and what I bring to the team.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom to share this Women's Month or words of encouragement?
Believe in yourself. A famous Henry Ford quote: Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right!" So take a chance on yourself and believe you can.