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Getting out of his comfort zone and networking has helped the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Information Technology (IT) student, Gomolemo Mohapi to score big, as he now has an opportunity to join the Microsoft (Seattle, Washington) team.

Mohapi (22) who is currently completing his Advance Diploma in IT at DUT was recently hired as a Programme Manager for Microsoft.

Speaking about getting this opportunity of a lifetime, Mohapi said he feels blessed as he never thought that his first job would be with such a renowned company.

He said he started working remotely with Microsoft last week and is looking forward to later joining his team based at the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington after lockdown.

“I am very happy to be working with Microsoft. It has always been a dream of mine but I didn’t think it will happen so soon. My family is very happy as they know how important this is for me. I just finished my diploma I thought it would be a while before I join Microsoft. It’s a blessing. My friends are very excited for me. I have a good supportive structure,” said Mohapi.

He revealed that his relationship with Microsoft started in 2016 after they offered him a chance to be the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP), which was a voluntary position.

“It started in 2016 during my first year at DUT, where I saw a poster seeking MSP’s around my campus and I applied. One of the staff members who worked at the IT department, Mr Sameer Sabjee was the one who facilitated this process. He spoke to the Microsoft personnel in Johannesburg about me joining the programme. It started from then. I had to create an Application and also had to write a letter of motivation, that’s how I got chosen to be a MSP,” said Mohapi.

He said as a MSP he used to work with Microsoft engineers, and professionals who taught him the latest technologies.

He stated that he used that knowledge to conduct workshops, virtual sessions on and off campus to disseminate the technologies to other students.

Not getting paid did not bother him as he said he was passionate about Microsoft technologies and teaching it to other students.

Mohapi said what actually got him this job is networking and has advised other students to never underestimate the power of networking.

“While I was a MSP, I would strive to attend conferences, seminars, workshops where I would meet people. Last year when I went to Johannesburg for this conference, I was able to meet this lady, Dona Sarkar who gave me the opportunity to work at Microsoft. She was interested in the work I was doing for the community in Durban. I would say people should not be afraid of going out of their comfort zone, speaking to people, talking about the work they are doing. You would never know; one day you would be speaking to your future employer,” said Mohapi.

He said ever since meeting with Ms Sarkar last year, they had been talking about various initiatives that could help people learn to live with these technologies.

“Earlier this year a position opened up where she wanted someone who could help to upskill students on a global level. She contacted me, based on all the work that I have been doing. I applied early this year. I got the email that I got the job and I started working last week Wednesday, I am working remotely for now. We don’t know what the future may hold. We have discussed possible outcomes after lockdown but right now the main focus is on me getting started. We will discuss all other things after lockdown,” said Mohapi.

He said he will work remotely until the end of this year which works well for him since he will get a chance to complete his studies before moving overseas.

During his first year at DUT, Mohapi said he got a chance to study in the United States for about a year which was a great experience, he expressed that he would love to experience being overseas once again.

He thanked his lecturers, the IT department at DUT and everyone who enabled him to pursue his dream.

Pictured: Gomolemo Mohapi who was recently hired as a Programme Manager by Microsoft (Seattle, Washington).

Simangele Zuma

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