S4 celebrates International Women in Engineering Day

Date Published: 15-06-2018

S4 Integration celebrates International Women in Engineering Day which takes place on the 23rd of June 2018 by highlighting the diverse women they have employed over the years.

International Women in Engineering Day initially started out as the National Women in Engineering Day as an inaugural event which was coordinated by the Women in Engineering Society (WES) for the first time in the UK in 2014 to celebrate their 95th anniversary, as a charity supporting women in engineering. Since its launch in 2014 the day has grown tremendously over the years to the point where it was launched in 2017 as International Women in Engineering Day.

S4 Female Engineers
EMPOWERMENT: S4 Integration’s first female Software Developer- Ntombenkosi Yokwana (left), the youngest Software Developer-Nomakhya Mahanjana(middle) and the only female Mechanical Engineer- Bianca Liebenberg (right).

The aim of International Women in Engineering Day is to raise the profile as well as celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career. According to the Engineering Council of South Africa only 11% of the total number of engineers with them are female and 4% are professional engineers. It is important to note that South Africa needs more women working in STEM careers in order to fill the skills gap in order to strengthen the science and technology sector which is vital to reducing poverty, creating job opportunities and increasing agricultural and industrial productivity. By achieving this the economy becomes stronger and the nation will benefit as a whole

We interviewed the company’s youngest female Software Developer, the only female Mechanical Project Engineer and the first female Software Developer to have worked at S4.

Nomakhaya Mahanjana

Nomakhaya Mahanjana – S4 Software Developer: Mahanjana recently graduated in April from Nelson Mandela University with a BSc in Computer Science with Statistics as her second major.

Is this your first job in the industry?

Yes, this is my first job within the industry since obtaining my degree from Nelson Mandela University.

How do you find the working experience so far?

I am enjoying it. I’ve been learning a lot and working with amazing people who are here to answer any questions I may have. It assists with my adjustment from university to the real world.

What sort of contribution do you see yourself giving the engineering sector?

The contribution I would be giving is setting an example for young girls coming from different backgrounds to enter this field despite where they come from. This will give them the courage to believe that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

What does this day mean to you?

It means that women in this industry are getting recognition worldwide as this industry is male dominated.

Where do you see women in engineering in the next 10 years?

I hope to see more women in this industry and more girls daring to study something engineering related and not be afraid to do it and if they do, that they do not give up.

Any inspiring words for young aspiring female engineers?

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not be afraid to enter this industry or even be intimidated by the number of females you see studying in your field. Be brave.

Bianca Liebenberg

Bianca Liebenberg – S4 Mechanical Project Engineer: Bianca holds a degree in BEng – Mechatronics from Nelson Mandela University and has been with the company for a year and a half. Liebenberg is the only female mechanical engineer at S4 Integration currently.

What is it that you do at the company?

I used to be a Mechanical Designer until 2 months ago. For this I used to do designs and create concepts. For the past two months I’ve been in a project management role where I manage the mechanical aspect of projects.

What sort of contribution do you see yourself giving the engineering sector?

I have a passion for engineering, solving problems and creating concepts. I enjoy the challenges, the engineering environment as well as having to “get dirty” in order to get to places. I believe I have a positive contribution to the engineering sector as I truly do have a passion for my field.

Where do you see women in engineering in the next 10 years?

I see women become more evolved and more confident in the field. Especially in a mechanical field it can sometimes feel a bit intimidating to be a female; however I see woman stepping up and becoming more confident in the future. I strongly believe that there will be more woman in the field in the next 10 years.

What made you decide to pursue a career in engineering?

I decided to study Mechatronics engineering as I found robotics interesting. I wanted to be able to get involved in the mechanical, electrical and programming aspects of robotics. I was intrigued by how these three aspects get integrated into a single system to achieve a single goal. Overall, it is just an interesting field, there is always more to learn and the challenges never stop.

Ntombenkosi Yokwana

Ntombenkosi Yokwana – S4 DSA Application Engineer: Ntombenkosi obtained a National Diploma in Information Technology: Software Development from Nelson Mandela University in 2008 and has been with S4 since the dawn of her career.

What made you pursue a career in software development?

I didn't know much about computers when I grew up, I only sent my first email in university so I wanted to know how they work and what you had to do, to make them do what they were capable of. My parents also encouraged me to go into the field of technology.

Were you the first female software developer at S4?

Yes I was. When I arrived here there were no female developers and it was like that for years, but now we have gotten some promising female developers which is exciting.

What is it that you do at the company?

I am a DSA Application Engineer and the team leader within my department. We work with our international partner (DSA) to create an aftersales diagnostic system. We create a system with sequences to diagnose the vehicle, detect faults and guide the technician to fix the faults. The system is also able to keep record of how the vehicle is maintained. Our team specifically creates the library or generic sequences that may be adapted to be customer specific.

What sort of contribution do you see yourself giving the engineering sector?

I see myself being part of the team that pioneers new technologies with regards to vehicle diagnosis. There are exciting things happening in this field with regards to making vehicle diagnosis faster and wireless (meaning the vehicle can be diagnosed and fixed remotely). I want to be part of that movement.

What does this day mean to you?

It means recognition for the women that are already in the industry but more importantly it shows younger women that they can also be in this industry and make a meaningful impact. It signifies that this industry is not for men only, women can do these jobs and be awesome at it.

Where do you see women in engineering in the next 10 years?

I see more young women getting into the industry and bringing unique skills. Young girls are being taught to program at school level and that will help for more of them to be aware that they can also be in this industry and thrive. Also I hope to see a lot more women in management because we work hard and are as competent as our male counter parts.

Any inspiring words for young aspiring female engineers?

With anything in life if you want to make a success out of it you have to work hard, so work hard. There is more than enough space for female engineers, we just have to take the opportunities and work hard. It is important to constantly learn as much as possible, learning doesn't stop when you finish university. In this industry things change fast so we have keep educating ourselves all the time.

S4 Integration strongly supports the empowerment of women within the STEM field. S4 believes that women create diversity within in the sector as problems and opportunities in the world cannot only be tackled from only a male perspective. Women bring a necessary advantage which help companies evolve and enable new channels.

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