In Conversation: Batsho Sechele (Regional IT Engineer (UAE), McLaren Construction Group)

A chat with Batsho, a seasoned IT professional with over a decade of experience in the field. He takes us through his early beginnings in the field, his motivation for moving abroad as well as a few nuggets of wisdom for upcoming IT professionals. 

In your own words, please tell us who Batsho Sechele is?

I am a middle-aged man from Jackalas No.1 Village in Botswana. I am currently based in Dubai (UAE) where I work as a Regional IT Engineer.

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in tech

Well, I started studying IT at Jwaneng Technical College from 2005 to 2006 where I was pursuing a certificate in IT. Towards the end of the year of completion, we had to do an internship where I was fortunate enough to get a chance to do my internship with Debswana Jwaneng Mine. This was a huge step in my career as I worked with a team that allowed me to use my little skill and let me learn a lot in the IT field. After completion of my internship, I proceeded to pursue an Associate Degree in IT at Limkokwing university (Gaborone) from 2007 to 2010. This time again my internship was with Debswana Orapa mine. These internships armed me with vital skills in this field. 

A few months after completing my studies at Limkokwing, I got an internship role at Population Services International Botswana (PSI). At the beginning of this role, I was replacing an IT administrator who was leaving the organisation. With my little skills, I managed to do well with the support of the staff as the sole dedicated IT personnel. Three months later I was offered a permanent role as an IT assistant which I did till mid-2013. In July 2013 I got promoted to IT&MIS coordinator a position I held till the end of the year when I decided to relocate to UAE. 

My first job in UAE was an IT administrator role which I held for three months before I left to join Emirates Airlines as an IT Operations Technician a position I held for almost six years. During my stint at Emirates, I enrolled with the University of Bolton to pursue a Master Of Science in IT. I later left Emirates after completing my studies to join McLaren Construction Group as the Regional IT Engineer (UAE). I still study to boost my Masters with certifications.

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

I had always had an interest in computers which I noticed a lot when I was doing my Cambridge. I had tried to pursue Public Relations at GIBS college, but my heart was always into tech which I went full-on when i studied in Jwaneng.

You have been based in the diaspora for most of your career. What have been your experiences working in tech abroad?

My experience has shown me that you have to put in the work. One has to study all the time to upskill themselves. Technology is evolving at the level of knowledge here is mind-blowing. If one does not study, they get stuck in one place for the longest time. The competition in terms of skills/knowledge pushes one to master their craft.

If there have been any challenges, how have you been able to surmount them?

Challenges make us smarter/ better people. One has to have the hunger not to give up, and needs the fighting spirit to better themselves despite the challenges. In this place where there are few of us, one can only get somewhere on merit and that comes with the will to learn and unlearn a lot of things due to cultural differences.

On the other hand, what have been some upsides of being based abroad? 

One gets exposed to world-class technologies when they get introduced. One gets a chance to learn a lot from those in the same field but has a lot of exposure in IT. Access to learning opportunities is great hence my having found it easy to pursue my Masters.

Compared to countries like the UAE where you have been based, Botswana’s tech industry is what one could call archaic. What learnings do you think we can get from such countries to grow our tech industry?

We just need to open opportunities to the youth and those specialising in tech and let them flourish. We need to empower locally based IT companies to let them compete with world-class entities. They should be the leading companies when it comes to jobs instead of taking tech jobs and giving them to foreign companies on their own. We need leaders who believe in technology, especially in the government sector.

Please tell our readers what your job entails.

As the sole IT personnel, I manage company infrastructure/ IT Services in the UAE region. I manage vendors/third-party companies that we work with. I'm also the advisor in this region. The IT hub is based in the UK where the main branch of the company is. I report to the Head of IT who is in the UK as well.

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

Managing to study and pursue my Masters while working. Had to drive 50KM every Friday for a lesson.

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

That one has to study as much as possible at a young age. As you grow, you get busy and some opportunities pass as you start to study at a later stage.

The field of technology has changed a lot over the years and having been in it for over a decade, how have you been keeping your skillset relevant to ensure that you are always knowledgeable on new technologies?

Studying, studying, studying. In the tech field, one has to keep studying/upskilling till they are six feet under.

If any, what is the best advice you have received in your career?

I was told that I needed to study more and get more knowledge. This was when I completed my IT internship at Debswana.

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

Be hungry enough to shut out the critics. Don't undermine any compliant institutions of learning. Don't let anyone tell you that you did not do well at secondary and that's the end of you. Take the baby steps, learn and you shall reap the rewards. My journey is a testimony.

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

LinkedIn: Batsho Sechele


NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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