Thoughts from KMC

Being a Mom, Majestic and a Software Engineer

Mathabo Matjiu 27 May 2021 • 3 min read

Being a Mom, Majestic and a Software Engineer

I am a mum, a Majestic (That’s what we call ourselves at KMC) and a Software Engineer. I would like to share a bit of my story and all these roles I hold. Furthermore, I started my journey as a Software Engineer in 2013. I got to meet people who were already good in their craft, I remember feeling overwhelmed and it being a bit daunting. I recall being sent to my first client and on my first day. I was told I needed to anchor a story, I was responsible for delivering that feature, and I was shaking like a leaf on a windy night. At first, it felt like I couldn’t do it because I didn’t believe I had it in me. I remember asking one of the technical leads why I was given that task to deliver, he responded with:

“The only way for you to know what you can and cannot do is by doing. You are in a safe space to make mistakes and even break a few things”.

This is the mindset I had to embrace however it didn’t just sink in overnight. I needed to be deliberate in the doing until I got to a point where I was comfortable in delivering anything, sure I broke a few things, I still do. That’s how the learning journey is putting yourself out there, so you learn what you don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know. Another lesson from my early career was knowing I needed to open myself up to criticism and constructive feedback in how I relate to people and carry out my work.

One of the biggest things about being a Software Engineer is that you need to be innovative, think outside the box, try thinking ahead, anticipate the worst and at times doing minimal to deliver a feature that works. Over the years the saying “No man is an island” has been my motto in how I work. I got to appreciate the other roles outside of mine:

Business Analyst (BA) - Gathers requirements based on the research and recommendations PD and PO bring forward

Product Design (UX/UI/PD) - People that understand the mindset of the user and how they interact with the product being built.

Quality Analyst (QA) - These are quality gatekeepers that ensure what is built has minimal to no defects to the product being built.

Architect - Ensure (system-wise) which touchpoints are needed to build the products also how environments need to be built to ensure users can interact with the product.

Product Owner - This individual understands the business process and approves features that need to be built.

DevOps - Ensure environment setup is done and all deployment pipelines are built correctly and are working.

In light of the motto “No man is an island of their own” to produce quality customer-centric software you do not only need me “a Software Engineer”, but other roles discussed and more.

These roles help to keep focus and to avoid over-engineering a solution. As a Majestic, this kind of team setup is a dream, but in reality, at some of our clients, we don’t have the luxury of having all these roles in one team because Majectics understand the role of each individual in the team and that sometimes you need to wear two hats to ensure we still maintain quality.

Somewhere along my journey, I became a mum. One of my biggest fears in life is missing out on my child’s milestones in life because I need to work. To my happy surprise, I am not only supported as a mum but the support started when I was expecting. When I was expecting my first child, people brought me lunch boxes, fussing when I was just crossing the road and having a timetable of when my eating times were to name a few things they did. I must say at first it was weird. However, there was no point in me fighting this because it came from a place of love. I got to embrace and enjoy going to work and doing what I do best which was building a quality product.

Majestics are a unique breed where all of us ensure we bring our A-game at all times, we fight a lot but in a constructive way to ensure we bring our best foot forward and support each other. I am grateful to my people for allowing me to wear multiple hats at once and get the support I need to ensure that none of the things I need to do is compromised. Each day when I wake up, I have mommy duties to do. I know my fellow Majestic’s have my back and will give me the support I need. I am forever grateful.

Mathabo Matjiu