When I learnt that Yoni Wa Mbayo Zengwe wakes up to study and sharpen his professional skills for two hours every morning before work, the rest was not surprising. He is a proficient programmer, follows best practice in industrial communications design, is experienced in installation and commissioning, and is a master of process control and advanced process control - the list goes on.
How has he acquired all this?
He began by completing a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at a tertiary institution in South Africa. This qualification, together with a sound work ethic, prepared him for the work force and so began his journey of endeavor.
In March 2010, he was employed as Junior PLC and SCADA Software Engineer at a system integrating company. In that first year of his career he walked away with the Best Junior Software Engineer award.
Zengwe was keen to broaden his skill base so found himself work in the mining industry. During the following three years he noted with interest that the industry was becoming increasingly automated.
He understood that to remain within engineering and to avoid working in areas being hollowed out by automation; he had to continually upskill and look for opportunities.
Yoni explains that he wasn’t able to go to a ‘conventional university’. He was working on a rotation of 8 weeks onsite and 2 weeks off site, and needed a more functional way of continuing his professional development and furthering his education, while still working. He eventually found the perfect fit for him: the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT). He recalls enrolling on the Advanced Diploma of Industrial Automation:
“While doing the course I started solving some of the issues we had on site that could not be solved before. I remember while doing the ‘Best Practice in Industrial Communications’ module, I managed to solve intermittent loss of Profibus communications after learning a few tricks from the subject. Studying for the advanced diploma felt like adding at least 5 years of experience to my career.”
Zengwe points out the merits of working alongside his study; he was able to meaningfully and usefully apply and practise his newly learnt skills at work, as he progressed through his course.
It was the flexibility of the live online model of learning which encouraged Yoni to embark on one of EIT’s 3 month courses (designed for professional development). He earned his Certificate of Competency in Allen Bradley ControlLogix 5000 PLC.
But it was the boost his career received (as a result of the advanced diploma), that inspired Yoni to enrol on EIT’s online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation. He said:
“I have since been working for another system integrating company. My current work conditions could have enabled me to study part time at a conventional university here in South Africa, but after comparing my knowledge base with other professionals in the industry, I definitely feel like I have got an edge, thanks to what I have been learning while studying at EIT.”
Yoni is motivated by the allure of growing his knowledge base so plans to pursue EIT’s Master of Engineering in Industrial Automation when he graduates from his Bachelor degree.
We at the Engineering Institute of Technology thank him for his loyalty to the college; we congratulate him for his success thus far and wish him everything of the best in both his work and study.