Self-proclaimed people person Tokollo Noko defies the stereotype of an IT geek seated in front of a steaming computer all day. She would much rather be interacting with people and finding out how IT systems can help them.
Working towards her honour’s degree in Information Systems, Tokollo came to UCT for an undergraduate BCom degree in accounting, but it took just one inspiring lecture on virtual reality in her first year to convince her to change majors.
She hasn’t looked back and was part of the team that won the national leg of the Konica Minolta International University Contest that aims to support tertiary education institutions in building the digital campus. The team went on to take second place internationally, bagging them a trip to Amsterdam, an experience Tokollo isn’t likely to forget soon.
The honour’s year is a busy one including course work, community work and a research project. Group work is an important part of the programme, teaching students to work together to meet deadlines. Tokollo thrives on this team work, believing that diverse collaboration contributes significantly to a project’s success.
Tokollo’s research project tackles the user-experience of fault reporting. Over the June holidays, she was able to observe how the NGO VPUU (Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading) prepares their field workers to use CitySpec. This mobile tool is used to report faults on broken taps and toilets and accelerate service delivery. “I learned that observing how end users of a technology use an application, should be an important part of developing applications,” reflected Tokollo.
It is obviously something she feels passionately about and the fact that service delivery has improved because of the app use is something she finds particularly heartening. “The cool thing about research is that you learn,” says Tokollo. “I enjoyed [the research project] so much because I got to see the actual impact that technology makes in people’s lives.”
Building computers for people, taking their needs into account, is fundamental to Information Systems for Tokollo. And this isn’t possible by sitting behind a desk. “You are building systems for people, you need to spend time with people. You need to understand what their needs are and then translate that into code,” says Tokollo. “I have a passion for working with people.”
Community service is also a required component of the honour’s year. Tokollo tutored grades 10-12 girls on coding using html and css as part of the Code4CapeTown (Code4CT) project. “I realised the importance of introducing code at an early stage and building the confidence for [the girls] to use different platforms at university.”
As Tokollo finishes off her honour’s year, job hunting isn’t a priority because she has already has been offered a position with BSG as a business consultant with their professional services team.
She hopes to complete her master’s degree sometime in the future, but first it’s time to get some work experience.
School of Information Technology
Skool vir Inligtingstegnologie