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This is the next segment of our blog series highlighting Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone, the highest status level attainable, and recently graduated from university. Each blog in the series features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassador community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we meet Someleze Diko who is from South Africa and recently graduated from the Durban University of Technology with a Diploma and an Advanced Diploma in information technology.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you joined the Student Ambassador community in 2020, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach, such as a particular skill or quality?
Being part of a community supported by Microsoft just seemed like a cool idea, but then that transformed into something new. A few days after joining the community, I started learning about Power Platform, and I loved it, so I set goals to improve my Power Platform skills, but my main goal was to utilize the skills I gained and the program’s reach to upskill others in my city, country, and internationally. The program helped me achieve this by allowing me to host events on Power Platform and other technologies, and it helped me improve my presentation skills.
What were the accomplishments that you’re the proudest of and why?
The program brings like-minded students together. Alongside other Student Ambassadors Narcisse Mbuyu, Lethokuhle Shandu, Yolanda Mabusela and S'phelele Mkhwanazi, I was able to kickstart Inspire SA, a YouTube channel that looks at tech, what the future of tech has to offer, and how we can apply and adapt it to our everyday lives.
This YouTube channel helped us achieve our common goal of bringing tech such as AI, Azure, and Power Platform to South African students and professionals. It helped us achieve visibility in the tech industry and gain opportunities while doing what we love in upskilling others, being crazy about tech, and growing in collaboration.
Through the program, I was “voluntold” by Dona Sarkar to speak at my first ever international conference about AI Builder in Power Platform at Start. Dev. Change. I then spoke at the Scottish Summit 2021 and Microsoft Build 2021 as a subject matter expert panellist for Power Platform.
I built two Power Platform solutions for my university that introduced an innovative way to automate processes within two different departments. One of them was the Revolutionary Engagement App which I built with a fellow Student Ambassador to register, monitor, and maintain university student and staff engagement projects based on faculty and department goals mapped against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Lastly, I was able to work for Greenlight Solutions, a local company in Durban, South Africa, building business applications and solutions using Power Platform. I had the opportunity to showcase the Power Platform skills I attained during my time in the Student Ambassadors program by building Power Platform solutions for their clients. The program helped shape my career in the Power Platform space!
What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?
I joined Microsoft as a Cloud Advocate on Lee Stott's team. My role enables me to carry on the advocacy work I was doing as a Student Ambassador while engaging with new and current Student Ambassadors to help welcome, guide, and connect them.
If you could redo your time as a Student Ambassador, is there anything you would have done differently?
To be honest, I would not do anything differently. Everything I did in the program, every achievement I earned, every opportunity I lost, and every friend I made got me to where I am today, and I am incredibly happy with where I am today.
If you were to describe the community to a student who is interested in joining, what would you say about it to convince him or her to join?
When hiring, most companies look beyond your main university or college computer science or IT qualifications. Especially in South Africa, they check for industry certifications such as Azure certificates and/or Power Platform. As a student, these certificates might be a little expensive, but the Student Ambassadors program provides you with free vouchers to take certifications, which increases your chance of employment.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
Entering the Student Ambassador program is the beginning of a (potentially) incredibly beautiful journey. Please do not let this be the ceiling of your aim in this community. Participate as much as you can, learn as much as you can, and give back as much as you can.
You are part of an amazing and great community. There are 3 milestones that a Student Ambassador can attain—Alpha, Beta, and Gold. Get in touch with other Student Ambassadors at a higher level who can help you navigate through the program. Other Student Ambassadors can also help you empower others to achieve more since you cannot do it alone.
What is your motto in life, your guiding principle?
I have two mottos in my life as guiding principles:
“Patience is a virtue”
This applies to anything in my life--to be patient with myself and others when learning and collaborating.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Start with upskilling yourself before you upskill others by understanding what it is you are trying to achieve and what impact you want to make on others.
These two mottos also apply to how we treat people in general.
What is one random fact about you that few people are aware of?
Before jumping into tech, I wanted to be a pilot (still working on achieving that so that I can personally fly Pablo Veramendi, the Student Ambassador Global Program Manager--haha).
I listen to anime music to calm myself down when I am nervous or about to speak at an event. First, I would listen to Naruto Shippuden--Opening 16 for a more upbeat mood and Attack on Titan Season 2--Opening for a more encouraged and motivated mood.
Good luck to you in all your endeavors, Someleze!