Maybe because Ondela spent time working in China as a Business English and Conversational lecturer, she’s particularly inspired by the story behind Alibaba, China’s biggest online commerce company. Briefly, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s CEO, grew up poor in communist China, failed his college entrance exams twice, was rejected from multiple jobs and only found success with his third internet company, Alibaba. This rags-to-riches story forms the backdrop of 30-year-old Ondela’s ambitions when she signed up for a full-time Software Engineering Bootcamp at HyperionDev’s on-site Johannesburg campus. She says:
I love the story behind Alibaba. I have a dream of creating a similar business but for a completely different niche. However, the person I really love is South Africa Lillian Barnard, an inspirational woman of colour. She’s the MD of Microsoft South Africa and the first female in that position. She was appointed when I began my journey with HyperionDev – this seemed like confirmation to me that I was on the right track.
HyperionDev is a place where dreams become reality. Before enrolling on a software engineering course, Ondela travelled around Asia teaching. Prior to that she completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Communication Management Sciences and held a variety of high-level positions in the Communications industry.
Ondela mentions a variety of reasons for deciding on a coding career after her time as a lecturer at Dalian University in China . She says:
I am looking for a career with growth and/or travel opportunities. I am passionate about Business, Development (social and economic development), Education, Technology and Travel. I see myself as a Global Citizen. According to my mother, I caught the travel bug at the age of 3 when I got onto my first plane ride; I’ve loved the sky and the road ever since then.
But like Jack Ma, Ondela is not just in the coding field for what she can achieve, but also for how she can help others reach their objectives. She says:
I have always been a philanthropist or humanitarian at heart who wants to positively inspire and help others. To achieve meaningful change in the lives of others, you need to work actively on growing your own self.
Another thing that motivates Ondela is knowing that the software engineering field tends to be male-dominated, and as a woman she’ll be extending boundaries. Ultimately, she sees herself in a leadership role. She plans to study an MBA in the near future and a Master’s in International Development Management in the more distant future.
When it comes to advice for fellow newbies, Ondela has the following to say:
Don’t give up; it will get tough. Relax, think logically, be patient, be easy on yourself, and keep trying – you will find a solution. With practice, it gets better.
Even if it is difficult at times to become a developer, Ondela feels supported and reassured to have her own mentor guiding her on her software engineering journey. She notes that she likes working things out for herself, but she also likes to check in with a mentor to make sure she’s on the right track. Ondela is very certain she’s in the right career. She says:
Technology is part of the future; it is very broad and always evolving. It will take many countries and societies to new heights. I want to be at the heart of where the world is growing and to help the rest of the world become part of this transformation as I learn more and grow in this industry too.
If you’re keen to upskill or you just want to enter the in-demand field of tech (no previous experience necessary), HyperionDev offers online bootcamps in Full Stack Web Development, Data Science or Software Engineering. You can also trial one of these courses for free. If online learning is not your thing, you could join a face-to-face Web Developer or Software Engineering course in Cape Town or Johannesburg. Start your career change today.