Capturing the essence of how digital technology is changing how we live, work, and communicate was highlighted in the ‘Best Bachelor of Technology Project’ done by Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) 2017 BTech: Information Technology student, Aadelah Patel.
Patel was given recognition for her hard work and dedication at the recent Information Technology (IT) department annual Awards Ceremony for having the ‘Best Bachelor of Technology Project’.
These awards form part of the various initiatives by the IT department to encourage and motivate students to excel in their academic work. Every year top performing students for all levels of study are awarded for their outstanding work and dedication.
“I was aware of the fact that I had obtained the highest mark for my research, but I did not realise I would be receiving an award for my achievement until DUT had called me. I feel honoured that my research has been recognised as good enough for an award,” she said excitedly.
Her dissertation: Information Technology Students’ Perception of Social Media’s Influence on Academic Performance, delved into attempts to obtain Information Technology students’ perceptions of the influence that social media may have on their academic performance.
“Social media has permeated all generations of internet users, becoming a prominent communications tool, particularly in the student community. Regardless of whether social media has a favourable or unfavourable impact, it has become a part of students’ daily lives on which it appears they rely heavily. This has led to an increase in interest into the influence of social media on academic performance. The findings of this study reveal that the use of social media has a significant influence on the academic performance of the surveyed students, however social media’s use can be harnessed for augmenting student academic performance and for advancing education in general,” she said.
Currently, Patel is working at PwC. She applied for the IT Risk Assurance graduate programme in November 2017 during her final exams, and was fortunate to get the position.
For Patel, her journey to success would not have been possible without the support from her DUT IT lecturers. “I would like to thank all of my lecturers, but of course the list is too long. A few lecturers that do stand out, are Dr Abuobayda Shabat, Mrs Seena Joseph, Professor Richard Millham, Mr Jay Pancham, Mr Sameer Sabjee for always assisting students, Dr Jeanette Wing for being not only a wonderful lecturer, but a superb coordinator for the BTechs of 2017, and last but not least, Mrs Robyn Thompson who was my supervisor for my research. I could have not achieved this award without her commitment and guidance,” she said.
She also reiterated that DUT had shaped her into a graduate that is agile, a graduate that has a solid understanding of how the workplace works and a graduate that can see how their skills fit into the workplace. “Most importantly, DUT prepared me for the idea of moving across jobs and sectors, and my experience makes for a perfect example – I majored in software development, however I am an IT Auditor and I’m able to adapt and use my technical skills while integrating it with and broadening my business knowledge,” she said.
Another goal for Patel is to complete her three year graduate programme at PwC, and she plans on staying with the firm after the graduate programme because it has allowed her the opportunity to grow as an individual, to meet new people and build relationships. “I have, and continue to gain business, personal and technical skills that I can use across the business and throughout my career. I also plan on completing my Masters, while obtaining my CISA certification (Certified Information Systems Auditor) within the next two years,” she said.
Her advice to future IT students is to stay motivated. “Don’t be discouraged. It’s all part of the process. When you’re in your 20’s, it’s the perfect time to explore and pursue your interests and develop your true identity. We need goals that align with our values and ignite our spirits. So conquer your goals while you enjoy these amazing years of your life,” she said.
Pictured: BTech: Information Technology student, Aadelah Patel with Amanda Redman from Dimension Data, at the IT Awards.