By Nomali Cele
Noma Mpeta (27) is the Head of learning at Digify Africa. The organisation is dedicated to giving young people training and helping them acquire skills that will help them thrive in the digital economy. Not only that, Noma Mpeta designs curriculums that help empower young users of the internet and digital platforms to stay safe. We got in touch with Mpeta who shared her career story so far and her predictions for the next decade in digital.
Kaya 959: Please explain your career journey so far
Noma Mpeta: I have always had a keen interest in social media. From the age of 14, I spent a lot of time on Mxit and Mig33.com. I moved on to Facebook and stumbled across Twitter when I realised that I posted a bit too much on my Facebook wall and my “friends” were irritated by it. I now had a place to share my thoughts and opinions with no limit to how many posts I could put up and a community who enjoyed it. It is no surprise that as a marketing student with a keen interest in social media, my career trajectory was set from that point on.
I had been a social media and community manager for various brands and small businesses by the time I joined Digify PRO a programme by Digify Africa which is an intense 10-week course on EVERYTHING that digital marketing entails. I graduated from Digify PRO a certified Google Partner and went to work at a lifestyle, PR and Digital agency as a communications coordinator and was promoted to Junior Account and Communications Manager before I left.
I then joined Digify Africa and have held a few roles in my time here from Content Manager to Curriculum & Learning Manager then the Advanced Learning Manager to where I am today as the Head of Learning.
Mpeta at a Digify Africa graduation earlier in 2019
Kaya 959: What do you want everyone to understand about what you do?.
Noma Mpeta: My current role is largely centred around developing and overseeing the development of digital skills learning programmes from basic digital literacy to more specialised data analytics programmes. My experience working with various brands and businesses across different industries and at different levels has given me the opportunity to not only learn a lot but fuse my passion with purpose. I co-created this role, it didn’t exist within the context of our organization and that’s what is amazing about the digital industry as a whole, the jobs we will have 10 years from now do not exist today, you have the opportunity to create your own path.
Kaya 959: Why did you end up in education and training?
Noma Mpeta: Having not been able to complete varsity due to financial constraints and having been given the opportunity to build and grow myself in an industry that valued my experience and certifications more than formal university qualification made me want to help thousands of young people who would find themselves in a similar situation create a livelihood for themselves using the devices in their hands.
I was privileged to have had educators from primary school right up to university who were passionate about their subject matter and I ultimately want to do the same with the knowledge I have acquired.
Kaya 959: Why do you think digital literacy is important to uplift Africans?
Noma Mpeta: If you have tuned in to the radio, watched the news or even looked for a conference to attend you would have seen how everyone is currently speaking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and its effects on the future of work and skills required to be able to keep up.
However, there are still millions of South African who do not even have basic digital literacy skills and are trying to enter the workforce or earn a livelihood and cannot compete because they don’t have these critical skills. Digital skills allow people to create their own economic opportunities by selling services like social media marketing to small businesses or building software that will solve a problem in their community for example.
Kaya 959: Who are some of your favourite young people working in tech today?
Noma Mpeta: My current favourite young person in tech is Dara Oladosu, a software developer from Nigeria who built the Quoted Replies bot. Quoted Replies is a Twitter-based bot that helps you find quoted replies of tweets without having to go through the hassle of copying, pasting and searching. During a Techpoint town hall with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey and his team, Dara was offered a job at Twitter to help build a native “quoted tweet” feature for the platform.
Talk about opportunity meeting preparation.
Kaya 959: How do you encourage young people to get into the tech and digital industry?
Noma Mpeta: Because of the nature of my role I can no longer facilitate on our programmes at Digify Africa which is how I previously had the opportunity to encourage young people to do so however when I can I have talks on goal setting and vision casting for young people entering our programmes and the trainers who will be delivering them. I also do speaker sessions on this and the young people I mentor probably get the most of me in this area.
What trends do you predict for Africa in digital for 2020?
As we enter into the next decade I predict a stronger push on a people-centric approach to marketing and advertising lead largely by data and insights.