Nasiha Ally: honours

30 Oct 2018 - 17:00

Nasiha AllyThe honours year has been a good one for Nasiha Ally: she was part of the team that won the national hackathon and she has already found a job, starting just a week after her last exam.

After taking IT as an extra-curriculum subject at school and dropping it, Nasiha got certified as a sports scientist and then took the young biologist programme at the aquarium, before finally switching to Business Science at UCT, which is a four-year degree up to honour’s level.

“With information systems, it’s more about applications in the real world … It’s more business facing.”

Investigating the technical viability of a cryptocurrency in Africa as her research project, Nasiha looked at whether this could function as a unified currency for cross-country remittances. “Maybe it could be the next Euro. If all African states had a unified currency, and the way that technology is moving forward, I would make sense for it to be a cryptocurrency.”

Community service is part of the academic programme and Nasiha joined the Schools Improvement Initiative, and taught grade 10 and 11 leaners basic computer literacy. “It was more of a mentorship role rather than being an authoritative figure.”

One of the year’s highlights was the Gradhack that Nasiha won along with team members Natasha Oates, Ryan Tripod and Zack Zornitta.  Discovery’s Gradhack invites third-year and honours information technology students from across the country to submit business ideas. Each of the 10 teams codes for a 72-hour intensive session to present a viable product. The winning pitch, PayDay, aims to boost communication between informal workers who gather on the side of the road and potential employers.

This was not the only competition Nasiha entered. As part of the strategic thinking course, students must present a business idea to the Fox’s Den. Nasiha was part of a group that made the top six. They suggested recycling used cooking oil and selling it for biodiesel, while using the by-product of glycerol to make soap that could be sold in bulk to small retail businesses. No waste and at a very low cost.

Nasiha starts as a software engineer as soon as she finishes her exams. She is optimistic about the future of Africa. “There are so many possibilities, creating jobs, creating value, these are passions of mine.”