BEHIND THE SCENES AT BUI
Business Development Manager Lizette van Wyk tells us why she’s still excited about technology after two decades in the industry.
Lizette van Wyk is a senior member of the BUI team in Johannesburg. She’s an experienced developer, solutions architect, project manager and sales consultant who joined us in 2015. We asked her about her role models, her biggest lessons, and her career journey.
Lizette, do you remember your first computer?
Yes! It was a Pentium I. My parents got it for me in my third year of university. I remember programming in Pascal and running MATLAB for my Honours project.
You studied Computer Science at North-West University. What influenced that decision?
I’ve always loved a challenge! Riddles, problems… The idea of solving problems using technology was really intriguing to me.
If you returned to university today, what would you like to learn about?
I’d probably study Psychology. I’m interested in the human mind, but also in artificial intelligence. I think AI is going to have a dramatic impact on our social and intellectual status quo.
Tell us about your career path.
I started out as a junior developer at Vircom, developing websites in Notepad. It was a blast! And I met exceptional people there. I’m still friends with them. When Vircom was acquired by another company, I moved into management. Later on, I worked as a solutions architect and project manager at Oakwell. And after that, I joined Digital Matter as a mobile software solutions architect and product manager. I started my BUI journey as a program manager and moved into sales about two years ago.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Working with the BUI team! They’re all very intelligent, very motivated people. And also, for me personally, just being able to find the right solution at the right price for our customers.
What’s your biggest challenge at work?
Knowing enough to make sense!
We get it. The tech industry is always changing. How do you keep up with the latest trends?
I’ve come to realise that it’s impossible to know everything. I try to attend online sessions specific to BUI’s focus areas. And for industry news, I rely on social media.
Who is your role model in business?
I’d have to say Elon Musk. I think he’s shown the world that anything is possible, and that the status quo doesn’t have to be the norm.
What lessons from your parents do you value the most?
My parents gave me my moral compass. They taught me the importance of honesty, loyalty, and patience.
How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
I hope they think I’m a team player, and that I’m optimistic and fun to be around.
You’re a key part of the BUI team and you have a lot of responsibility. How do you balance the demands of your career and your home life?
Honestly, I don’t always get it right. For me, it’s about prioritising and scheduling. And I try to make family time quality time.
You probably know that America’s Silicon Valley had a “boys’ club” reputation for a long time. What do you think of South Africa’s tech industry, in terms of gender equality?
I can only speak from personal experience, but I’ve been in IT for more than 20 years and I’ve seen substantial progress. We’ve had a lot of social and political change in South Africa… I have to believe that the country will address gender equality as well.
What advice would you give to young women considering careers in technology?
Don’t change who you are to try to fit in. Because in this industry, it’s more important to be assertive, honest, and knowledgeable. And remember that university is about more than just your studies… You gain life skills, you make friends, you learn, you teach, you experiment… Never stop learning – and never stop challenging yourself.
What tech project or initiative are you excited about right now?
There are so many! And they’re all so exciting! But I’m ecstatic that Microsoft is launching two data centres in South Africa this year. I think cloud technology is revolutionary. And I’m very keen to see where it leads in the future… Automation, AI, data analytics… There are so many possibilities.
How did you spend Women’s Day this year?
Relaxing with family and friends. No email. Absolutely no email!