Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Insight: Thandeka on Pivoting Careers

Dell Young Leaders alum Thandeka walks down a street in South Africa.

We often use the phrase career journey to describe the steps Dell Young Leaders take following university graduation. This phrase is illustrative because all careers are filled with changes, challenges, successes, and wins. And there are plenty of opportunities for pivots along the way.

We recently spoke with alum Thandeka Skhosana and learned more about her career journey and how it helped her find her true passion.

Tell us about your journey into your current profession.

I was part of the Dell Young Leaders 2014 cohort and graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 2018 after majoring in mathematics. When I left high school, I initially wanted to be an engineer. But six months down the line, I felt like this was not the type of job I wanted. I didn’t know I had so much passion for teaching, but I felt that my “happy place” would be in a classroom. Today, I teach maths and technical science at a technical high school.

What future career path do you envision for yourself, and what do you need to do to get there?

While teaching I realized that my passion ran deeper than solely staying in the classroom. I wanted to expand my options and explore policy implementation to try and affect the curriculum that we have in South Africa. I decided to enroll with the University of South Africa to pursue my law degree so I could get the bases and grounds of the law that I need to pursue my dreams.

What do you think is important for new graduates and young professionals to keep in mind when thinking about their careers?

I would encourage them to recognize the importance of developing different skill sets in life. To be able to adapt, stand out, and to still live your life. To pursue your dreams and keep on motivating yourself and the people around you. When I hear the phrases “women in STEM” and “women in teaching”, I immediately think of breaking the walls of society around gender that define us. It’s important to break every stereotype and just be the best in your field.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt since entering the working world?

I have learnt a lot by knocking on different doors, getting rejected by some, and getting accepted by some. Don’t be scared to take a chance because those experiences created the person that I am today. My advice is to be resilient, be strong headed in what you came looking for, and to don’t be afraid to change or to strive for a higher standard.