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VarsityGenie Values Impact Story: Siphesihle Sephaka

1. Please tell us about yourself

I am Siphesihle Sephaka doing my third year in ICT (Applications Development) at the Durban University of Technology. I love technology a lot which inspired me to join VarsityGenie to expose me to the tech industry. I then got introduced to VarsityGenie whereby I met tech coach Fanie Ndlovu. He got me introduced to other Gurus, individuals who are deeply in love and inspired to do the most in the technology industry. I learned about a variety of technologies at the Durban University of Technology Faculty of Accounting and Informatics(DUT FAI) through VarsityGenie, including robots, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, drones, and virtual reality. I honestly was not aware of all these technologies; I was not even aware of the existence of these technologies in South Africa. However, being a part of VarsityGenie, I was able to learn about all of these technologies offered by the DUT FAI as well as how to use them and implement them into our daily lives, because the future is heading towards the 4IR technologies and that is why it is very important for us as a youth to get ourselves familiar with these. I honestly found myself family in VarsityGenie. I found people with similar technological passion as I do, people who are driven and have visions. And I am entirely grateful for this opportunity to be a Guru.

2. Why is it important for you to get Industry Certification while still studying?

Obtaining an industry certificate prepares you for employment prospects when you complete your studies. They prepare you to know more about the technology sector than you would learn from studying for your diploma alone. They open your opportunities to companies. Industry certifications give us a benefit in terms of employment.

3. How do you feel about being industry certified?

I am currently certified with two certificates: Microsoft PL 900 and Microsoft SC 900. It is not easy to pass these exams for anyone who is looking forward to taking the certification exams. It's not as easy as just completing my school's modules; they're quite difficult and demand a dedicated individual. We write because we are passionate about building a successful career in technology, not just because it's entertaining. Compared to someone who recently graduated with a diploma only, these certificates enable us to gain better future opportunities. The process of getting these qualifications requires a lot of focus and effort from us as well. I study for the exam for at least two weeks in order to be ready for it. Anyone interested in writing industry certification exams should therefore be well-prepared, put in a lot of study time, be disciplined, and most importantly, enjoy what they do. Don't only study to pass; continue to learn and use what you have just been certified in practically.

4. What is your take on VarsityGenie Excellence's core value in helping you to get the certification?

I learned how to be a leader through VarsityGenie, as well as the difficult teachings of how to discipline yourself as a person and how to be humble. This transformed me into a driven individual who is driven to succeed in life. I was able to successfully study and then take my Power Platform (PL900) exam in December of the previous year 2022, all thanks to Mr. Fanie Ndlovu's guidance. This was a result of the strong motivation I received from my fellow Gurus and from my mentor. I am currently assisting other DUT students who would like to join varsity genie in obtaining their certification. Not only did I receive mentoring, but I am also passing on my knowledge to others as well. Not only did I write Microsoft Power Platform I also got exposed to a more practical side of it. I participated in a VarsityGenie hackathon this year 2023, where we were asked to find solutions to real-world issues that might help the entire university. We had the chance to tackle some problems at the institution by using Power Automate, which made things simpler and more automated for them to operate. To me, this was a great opportunity because I got exposed to a more practical side of the Power platform and I got to be part of a great initiative that helps the school. I recently got certified with Microsoft Security Fundamentals (SC900). However, earning this qualification wasn't simple, I succeeded because I had a strong sense of motivation and enthusiasm for success. Mr. Fanie never stopped encouraging me to never give up and to think positively. In varsity genie, we emphasize positivity and that working hard is the key to achieving our objectives.

5. What are your career goals?

My current focus is on cyber security. I am more eager to pursue a profession in cyber security now that I have earned my Microsoft security certificate. Getting Microsoft (SC900) was a starting point for me in getting to where I wanted to be in the future. I envision myself running my own security business. I have a strong interest and great enthusiasm for computer security as well as other types of security that the world needs. One day, I hope to own my own security company.

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