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Making the Durban University of Technology (DUT) proud is the super-talented Rydell Tyrone Thomas, who has been selected to represent Information Technology (IT) and DUT on the prestigious Huawei Seeds for the Future 2020 Online Programme.

Together with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Huawei South Africa put out a call for students to apply to join the Seeds for the Future 2020 Online Programme.

Seeds for the Future selects the most exceptional Information and Communications Technology (ICT) students together to study the latest in technology. Normally, the students chosen would go on a two-week trip to China, however with the COVID-19 pandemic, the selected students will participate in an interactive online course for the 2020 programme.

Thomas, a ‘computer nerd’, is in his second year of study towards a National Diploma in ICT: Application Development at DUT. When he heard of his selection, he was honoured and also surprised.

“Being selected for the Huawei Seeds for the Future Programme is an honour. I was not sure I was going to be selected as they were only going to select between 20 to 50 students. So it was a real surprise when I got the confirmation email,” he said happily.

Explaining more on the Huawei Seeds Programme, Thomas said that he heard of it through his senior lecturer Mr Ebrahim Asmal, who had sent out a broadcast email on the Huawei Seeds Programme.

“The week before submission was due, I stumbled across the email, I scrambled the necessary documents, answered the questions as well as wrote the essay, and submitted the night before it was due on 21 July 2020,” he added.

Besides being selected for this exciting programme, Thomas is also part of the Microsoft Student Partners, which is soon changing to Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors(MSLA). It has been another driving force for him to try upskill himself as the standard for developers in the world is very high. Also, he stressed that he is extremely passionate about learning and teaching.

“It is one of the main reasons why I applied to join the Microsoft Student Programme. I am one of the youngest tutors in my University department as you need to be a postgraduate to be a tutor, and I’m a second-year student,” he said.

His love for technology began when he started watching videos on YouTube on how to code simple applications with python, mostly command prompt applications and thoroughly enjoyed it. He then realised he wanted to pursue a career in ICT.

“In 2019 I got accepted to study application development at DUT and the flood gates were opened in exposing me to the world of technology and ICT. I was able to talk to people with the same interest as me, learn new technologies. A lot of credit goes to my senior lecturer Mr Ebrahim Asmal, he is extremely passionate about what he does and that trickled down to me. I might not be as passionate as switching and routing as he is, but he exposed me to so many sectors of that environment from computer security to Internet of Things (IoT) and all the way to networking which I was never exposed to in my previous years,” he said excitedly.

Thomas said he was looking forward to the short course, and according to the Programme agreement he will learn to become proficient in Mandarin, more knowledgeable about Chinese culture, Huawei’s history and culture as well as its core values. He will also learn about business development and ICT advanced knowledge such 5G, IoT, Cloud etc.

“I enrolled to learn about 5G as well as AI (Artificial Intelligence). The top performing student also wins a mysterious prize so I’m aiming to be the top student to represent DUT,” he said.

Thomas said it was vital for DUT students to be exposed to such programmes which are extremely vital, especially for IT students, because programmes like these expose students to other paths of the industry.

“It exposes students to aspects of the IT industry which we will not be exposed to in campus. This course also normally gives out certifications, that is always a cherry on top for any CV,” he added.

Thomas said he feels that students should not miss out on amazing opportunities like the one he was accepted into. “These opportunities make you a better student as well as a better person as a whole. Students feel like it will be a burden with the extra work. But it’s how you work that will set you to be golden. People say don’t work hard work smart, but how I perceive it, is that a person should be smart in how they work hard,” he said.

Pictured: Rydell Tyrone Thomas

Waheeda Peters

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