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In the spotlight: Mandla Mahlangu

Last month, as part of our 30th birthday celebrations, we kicked off our ‘in the spotlight’ blog series, which takes a look at how our customers use our courses in their day-to-day roles. Now, we’re continuing the trend by talking to more people to get a real insight into how our courses have helped them at work – the inside scoop; the nitty gritty; the real customer stories.

This time, we’re talking to Mandla.

So Mandla, tell us a bit about you and your role.

My name is Mandla Mahlangu and I work as a report developer for an IT company that focuses on software development and security, based in Centurion in South Africa. I have always enjoyed studying and learning new things, and I feel that it’s an ongoing process that can lead to much greater things in both your job and in your personal life. As such, I’ve managed to get both a post-graduate degree in IT, as well as ten other accredited certifications.

So, while I don’t work in a project management role, much of the work I do for my company is project-based, and I knew that learning about project management would be a worthwhile investment for me.

What qualifications have you got, and how do you use those qualifications and their frameworks in your day-to-day life?

I currently hold a post-graduate degree in IT and have a bunch of other qualifications as well, including Change Management™, PRINCE2®, MSP®, MoP®, ITIL® and Software Testing, all of which I did as e-learning.

Day-to-day, I use quite a few of these frameworks both in my professional life and in my personal life. For instance, I use some of the Software Testing modules to help me understand how to capture data, and to test if the functionality of a system is correct and working properly; but then I use Change Management to help motivate myself and others in my workplace, whilst also using it in my personal life to help me deal with change. I also use parts of the PRINCE2 methodology to help me break down and organise my workload into manageable tasks, and to help keep things clearly defined.

The project management qualifications that I have gained have definitely helped me to understand how projects work, and have enabled me to appreciate the various different aspects that need to be considered – such as conflict resolution, scope management and time management. All of which have been really useful, given that I am regularly involved with projects in one way or another.

How did you get into the role you’re in now?

In school I was always fond of maths and science. My dream was to be a chemical engineer, but I couldn’t reach that goal due to financial issues. So, when the time came to register for University, an advisor suggested that I should consider moving into the world of computers. I registered for a BSc degree in IT and, after completing that, I got a job as a software developer and worked in that role for about seven years. I only joined my current company about two years ago and now work as a report developer.

What’s the most interesting aspect of your job?

Working with data in general is really exciting for me. Data is regarded as a really important asset by many organisations – every transaction that is happening is stored in the database, and you often find that the data shows hidden patterns that can then be used in the future to make informed decisions.

I also really enjoy working at the reporting level because it involves working with lots of different people and various stakeholders (management, operational etc.), and there’s always a large amount of data that I have to go through and present. Also, business analytics and data science are areas that I’m really passionate about, and I may move towards specialising in that in the future.

Do you have any career ambitions or goals that you’re working towards?

I want to move into more of a data science-based role, but my main goal is to further my learning by getting a PhD. I love learning so much that I’d like to get some more certifications as well, maybe reach 100 certifications at some point! I’d also like to motivate others to take education more seriously and hopefully help them see why I’m so passionate about it.