Welcome to the fourth in our new series of blogs, where we share the inspiring stories of Trailblazers in South Africa, who are defying expectations to find success in the tech industry.
In our last blog, we spoke to Dewald Wasserfall, a South African rock star who came to a crossroads in his life after the pandemic hit. With touring on indefinite hold, Dewald wanted to find a more sustainable career. With help from Trailhead, he successfully retrained as a Salesforce Consultant at EXAH.
But why are we sharing these stories?
We want to give a voice to the young, the marginalised, and the bold; the Trailblazers who have succeeded in their goals despite the odds against them. We also want to show that – no matter your gender, race, sexuality, or educational background – there are always opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem.
And it’s thanks to our Talent Alliance partner Accenture that we can share the story of Bongeka Mnyosi.
Bongeka Mnyosi is a graduate of Information Systems and Technology Management at the University of Johannesburg. And as of 2018, she became a Trailblazer at Accenture.
As a young student, Bongeka was always hungry to work in the tech space and hopes that organisations like Salesforce can help raise awareness among young women in South Africa about the opportunities available in the industry.
Fast forward to 2021, and she has not only turned her dream into a reality but shown that with a little fearlessness – you can do anything.
After completing my IT degree at the University of Johannesburg, I went to work as an intern at a company called Mint Management Technologies. At MMT, I became a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant, but even before I left university, I really wanted to join Accenture.
Luckily, sometime in 2018, I got a call from HR at Accenture offering me a job. It turned out somebody from Avanade who had previously tried to headhunt me at MMT had given them my resume, and that’s how I joined the company.”
I was working on Microsoft projects, but I was hoping to learn more, and that’s when my manager advised that I should probably expand my skillset. Just as I started looking into it, Kuven Pillay, [Director: Salesforce Business Group at Accenture South Africa] emailed the whole company about a Salesforce basecamp in Johannesburg.
I was aware of Salesforce, but I didn’t really know what it was. So, I signed up for the basecamp and, right away, they started talking about the customer experience and how it’s more than just a CRM. I fell in love with it immediately and registered for classroom training.
It was a tricky process. When I started my Salesforce training, I was already working on a Microsoft project. But I was so fascinated by Salesforce that shortly after I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to write my certification.’
About a year later, I spoke to my manager again about working with Salesforce, but it was clear that if this was going to happen, I’d need to reach out to the right person. After a lot of searching, I found that person and was able to make my case by saying, “Yes, this is what will make me happy – and this is what I really want to do.
Before I started working with the Salesforce team, I was introduced to Trailhead through my maintenance and admin certification. I had to rely on it a lot to help me make the shift from Microsoft to Salesforce, but I loved how much it had to offer.
“I was always searching for new topics and modules to cover. And instead of asking my peers for help all the time, I’d always check Trailhead first – it has very direct instructions on how to complete each task.”
The more I engaged with Trailhead, the more it recommended new modules that were relevant to me. It felt very on-point to the challenges I faced in my day-to-day work, and this kept me motivated to see where it could take me next.
Then there’s Salesforce certifications. Trailhead will tell me exactly what knowledge I’ll be measured on in the exam, so I can ensure I’m as prepared as possible. It encourages me to stay sharp and push myself forward.
What appeals to me about Salesforce are the opportunities to learn. It’s unlikely I’m going to wake up one day and say, ‘I know everything in Salesforce.’
Whether it’s AI, automation, building apps, or helping people with manual processes – there’s so much to learn in the Salesforce ecosystem. And compared to other Enterprise software, there’s so much more for me to explore.”
Be fearless. Fear is the biggest challenge. At first, I had this nagging feeling that maybe I should stick with what I already know, but I also knew that I had to overcome that fear of the unknown if I was going to grow.
“Trailhead really helped motivate me to put that fear to the side, as you can explore it entirely in your own time, on your own terms.”
My younger sister works for a big bank in South Africa, and she told me that they were planning to use Salesforce. I ended up encouraging her to look into Trailhead, so much so I was probably annoying. I want people to be fearless and take advantage of these opportunities.”
I definitely think we still need more awareness. When you’re at school, you can study IT, but it’s not a reflection of what it’s like in the real world. I think if more students knew about the likes of Trailhead, that could be hugely beneficial. It’s free, you can use it in your own time, and it teaches you skills you can actually apply in the workplace.
“I was so hungry to learn when I was a student, and I know others are the same. I’d love to see more companies like Salesforce get in front of students and show them the opportunities that are out there waiting.”
It means there is no end to my learning. As a Trailblazer, I’m a brand ambassador, so I need to stay informed of the latest updates and enhancements. I also take responsibility and mentor others on the platform. I carry the Salesforce brand with pride.
I still have so much to learn. For me, this is just the beginning of my journey. There are many certifications I’d love to work on. I’m currently working on a project in the mining sector and, after that, I’d love to move to see what we can do to help different industries, too.
The future looks very bright. But first, more learning.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Bongeka Mnyosi for her time and wish her well as she continues her Salesforce journey.