Talented Hauwei Seeds for the Future Programme recipient, Rydell Tyrone Thomas, a third year Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Application Development student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) said his love for technology began when he started watching videos on Youtube on how to code simple applications with python, mostly to command prompt applications.
Through watching these Youtube videos, Thomas then realised he wanted to pursue a career in ICT. As a DUT student, Thomas said that DUT has equipped him to achieve to date. “I think the university did the best they could have done in such a short time, to be honest no one saw 2020 turning into what it did, and the university was swift in implementing all the structures that it did,” he said.
Thomas imparts some of his practical advice to 2021 first-year students on how to cope with being a new student and digital learning. His advice to those students who will be studying IT, in the new norm, is that it will be hard to be in contact with people but students should try befriending a student from a higher year of IT studies, like he did.
“I did that in my first year, different situations I know but having a friend in a higher year really helps you prepare in terms of work. I was lucky enough to become friends with Gomo Mohapi in my first year of study and he really opened my eyes to how large this industry is,” he said.
He (Thomas) further stressed that if the university provides data for digital studies to students, he advises that they should not waste data on games, social media, or viewing YouTube unnecessarily.
“Use your time wisely, if we have another year of online learning, keep your brain active, don’t just go to the class on teams and leave the class on while you do other things, this could hurt you a lot when it comes to a test and you do not know what is going on,” he said.
He further advised that students always check that they are muted, and that their cameras are off before they join a class.
“It is really distracting when someone enters a class late and you can hear that students’ music, or background noise, it is just simple manners like if you came late to a lecture you had to sit near the back so you don’t disrupt the class, it’s the same situation,” he said.
Thomas also relayed more on his academic journey and his aims for 2021. In terms of academics, he said he was ecstatic with the marks he had achieved.
“I was fortunate enough to complete another year with full distinctions, but all in all I completed 2020 and I’m happy in what I achieved,” he said happily.
Thomas shares some of his goals for himself in his third year of study, despite COVID-19, which is to achieve a clean slate of distinctions.
“I was not much of an over achiever when I was in high school, but once I started studying what I actually enjoy it became much easier to study, so God willing I am able to achieve for what I set out to complete academic wise,” he said.
Furthermore, he mentioned that he does not mind having blended studies at DUT, as it gives him a little bit more time to venture out into other avenues of study in the IT world instead of focusing a lot of time at campus.
In terms of him participating in any further competitions this year, Thomas said that he would love to enter more competitions like the Huawei programme, but it all depended on the work load that is brought forward during this year.
“If the work load is manageable then I will start hunting again for competitions, as well as other short courses I can complete in the interim. I am wanting to broaden my horizons in 2022, as I really want to dip my toe into studying overseas, as part of an exchange programme or actually getting accepted into an overseas university, that is one of the main reasons I am pushing myself so hard, to be eligible for some type of international scholarship,” he said.
In terms of his tutoring journey, Thomas has said that he does hope he is selected to tutor students again in 2022.
“It is quite enjoyable showing students how a certain concept that they find challenging and showing them how simple its can be,” he said.
He did relay that this year, 2021, he was not sure on how the department is planning to hold tutoring, however he does think that the first semester will be all online in regards for that.
“However, I cannot be too sure about the second semester as we might be able to come back to campus, but that depends on the current pandemic that is currently active in our country, only time will tell,” said Thomas.
Pictured: Rydell Tyrone Thomas