In Conversation: Galaletsang Mase (Information Systems Manager, Botho University)

A chat with Galaletsang Mase, the Informations Systems Manager at Botho University, about her career journey, what she loves most about being responsible for the entire Botho University IT infrastructure, her opinion of women representation, some of her favorite projects she has done in her lengthy career and so much more!

In your own words, please tell us who Galaletsang Mase is

I am a person who believes in making things happen. I was raised by a mother who instilled using means and tools available to achieve as best an outcome or product as possible in all that I set out to do. I strive to be meticulous in all I set out to do professionally and on a personal level as well. 

I have been matched with a career path that speaks to my person in Information Technology. I find myself at the heart of Botho University, which is a technology-based and driven institution wherein my job is to make all things Technology work.

Briefly take us through your career journey up to your current role as Information Systems Manager at Botho University

This journey started at the University of Botswana in 2006 where I found a place to make things happen. The excitement of programming and seeing something I built work and the rush to solve the bugs that came with it never became old and the passion just kept growing. 

In 2009 as BSc Computer Science Graduate, I joined Botho University as a Trainee Software Developer in the Projects Office which was an inhouse software development department that developed software used in the institution and further engaged students on internships to gain practical experience. Working on these projects, developing systems, some of which are still used in the institution, and training students on doing the same was a great learning and growing experience. My role grew from Trainee Software Developer to Software Developer, to Senior Team Leader within this department as it also evolved.

In 2016 my role grew to ERP Systems Assistant Manager where I was tasked with leading the team that supported the ERP systems used within the institution. I obtained my MSc in Computing from Teesside University in 2017 then further grew with the institution and currently, I hold the position of Information Systems Manager at Botho University in which I am responsible for the entire IT Infrastructure and Systems used in the institution. 

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

My love for Software development and making things work is what started me down this career path and it has also kept me going.

Please tell us what your job entails

Botho University being a technology-driven institution means all functions that are required to operate the institution run on data,  systems, and networks. My job is to provide and support these Networks, Systems, and all the  Infrastructure on which it all lies. Students and teaching staff also require Computer Workstations, Software, Systems, Networks, and other IT tools for Teaching and Learning and my job is to provide and support these requirements. I call the Information Systems Department the Heart of Botho University because in literal terms without it the institution would come to a complete standstill. 

Unfortunately, tech still has a big gender gap problem with a paltry number of women participants in the sector let alone decision-making positions. What has your experience been as a woman in such a field and how have you dealt with the challenges that come with such a wide gender gap?

It has been an opportunity for growth as a professional and personally as well. There are times when decisions/advice given are second-guessed or set out for validation by male counterparts. This builds a sense of self-doubt that in itself becomes a challenge in that confidence in the skill of one declining. But one's competence and ability to deliver on their role tend to speak louder than the challenges.

If there have been challenges as a result of this representation gap, how have you managed to surmount them?

To address these challenges, I encourage myself to learn more, expand my knowledge and I always open myself up to learning something new not only in theory but in practice too, as well as keeping up with the ever-progressing IT Trends. This keeps me in a place of competence and keeps on growing my competence scope. Hopefully, I will be able to encourage other women in the field to rise up to the challenge and occasion as well.

What do you think can be done to reduce this lack of representation?

Right from Primary Education or rather even early childhood learning, we need to groom the girl child to know that they can make it in leadership and in any type of career they would like to choose. This is not a problem that can be handled at an individual level. It is something that needs to be collectively and deliberately taken up by the entirety of society. Mindset change is also required in all of us to allow the girl child to thrive from early childhood without suppression.

On the other hand, what has been the upside of being such a trailblazer in your field?

It is great to have experience working with so many different people on so many different technologies. It's always an upside to be able to count towards the women in IT and Leadership. This also gives me an opportunity to extend a hand and bring up other women in the field.

What is your favorite part of the work that you do?

My favorite part about the work I do is the opportunity to always learn and implement something new. The environment is accepting of change and encourages self-development as well. This allows me to thrive in my love for making things work and grow as an individual on a daily basis. Add middle management to all this and it allows me to learn the art of engaging with people.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

When I was still a Junior Developer my job had been scoped to training interns on software development and Programming for in-house development. Then one fine day I was sent out to meet a client organization and implement DHIS2 for them. This exposed me to so many first times, I had to play the roles of Project Manager, System Analyst, Developer, Programmer, Database Administrator, and Trainer as well. I worked on that project as a first and completed it successfully and that to date even with all the other achievements I have since added, is still my proudest accomplishment. It was the experience that drove me out of my shell and into a bigger world of bigger possibilities. It is an experience I will eternally be grateful for.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your career?

Being in IT is not only about being a tech genius it also includes engaging with a lot of people. These people include users, colleagues, supervisors, and stakeholders. They all require more than just Tech knowledge. People skills are a big requirement for this career.

What advice can you give to young girls who are also interested in pursuing a career in tech?

Young girl, your gender neither your weakness nor is it your defining factor, especially where career is concerned. If you really want to be a techy and even a genius one at that, you can and will do it. Learn, Do, and do not allow anyone to ever hold you back. You can do it.

Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you


NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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