Terry-Anne Fredericks, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) 3rd year BEng Tech in Electrical Engineering student, was part of a team which was awarded 1st place prize in the Huawei ICT Competition 2022-2023 which was held in Shenzhen, China in May 2023. As a result of her outstanding performance, she has been selected to join the Huawei Graduate Programme.
The competition serves as a platform to nurture and recognise top ICT talents globally, offering participants the chance to demonstrate their expertise in the field of information and communications technology.
Terry-Anne now shares her inspiring journey and experience.
How did your journey in the Huawei ICT Competition begin?
It all began during my third year at University when a small group of students, including myself, was approached by our lecturers, Mr. Vikash Rameshar, and Professor Kingsley Ogudo. They presented us with an internship opportunity at Huawei. I felt immensely excited and grateful for being chosen among the few, so I decided to go ahead and pursue the internship. I completed all the necessary requirements and, after a while, received a call from Huawei for an interview regarding the internship.
Could you tell us about the interview process for the internship?
The interview proved to be quite challenging as it focused mainly on network engineering. While I had some understanding of network engineering from a module I took in my second year, the questions asked during the interview exceeded my knowledge level. Interestingly, one of my fellow interviewees, who also participated in the group interview, confidently answered most of those questions correctly.
I believed he would be the one chosen for the opportunity. However, to my surprise, it was I who received the call from Huawei, informing me that I was one of the three selected for this opportunity. I was thrilled to become part of such a dynamic and innovative company and eager to contribute to their success.
How has your experience been since joining Huawei?
Since joining the team, I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in Datacom, Security, and WLAN, which are the main focus areas within network engineering. I also obtained certifications for HCIA (Associate level) Datacom and HCIP (Professional Level) Datacom. Currently, I am in the process of getting certified for HCIP Security.
When did you learn about the Huawei ICT competition, and what challenges did you face during it?
Participating in the Huawei ICT competition was challenging for me due to my limited knowledge of network engineering. I had to start from scratch and juggle the competition with my university coursework. Initially, managing both was manageable, but it became more hectic after the first two months. The pressure increased as we had to study Datacom, Security, and WLAN within short periods while attending to our university studies and assignments.
At one point, the workload became overwhelming, and I considered giving up. However, my mother’s encouragement and belief that internships are meant to test one’s strengths and weaknesses persuaded me to persevere. With the support from home, I decided to stick with it and see where the journey would lead.
Looking back, I believe I made the right decision. The pressure and workload I faced made me stronger and improved my time management skills. It taught me how to balance work, school, and my personal life. Overall, the experience provided an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
How did you prepare for the ICT competition exams?
As the ICT competition exams approached, including the preliminary and national exams, I ensured that I was fully prepared. I successfully passed both exams, and in the national exam, I achieved the second-highest position in South Africa, as we were competing against participants from across the country. The regional exam posed a greater challenge as it involved practical aspects, in addition to theory and with regionals we were competing with the whole of the Southern Africa region. Despite the difficulty and the draining nature of the exam, our team leader, Lutho, never gave up. He pushed us all the way to the end, and I believe it was his dedication, along with the team’s hard work, that propelled us to the global stage and with the globals we were going to compete with countries all across the world so the expectation was high once again.
Could you share your experience at the global stage of the Huawei ICT competition?
The global stage was the toughest phase of the competition. Not only was it challenging, but it was also mentally exhausting due to the extensive content we had to cover. Despite our team’s inability to complete all the required work, we managed to secure first prize in the Huawei Global Competition Exam, which came as a surprise to me.
What lessons did you learn from your journey in the Huawei ICT Competition?
This journey taught me the importance of perseverance and not giving up on oneself or the team. Hard work, dedication, and the ability to balance various aspects of life are crucial. It also reinforced the notion that anything is possible when you give your all and that hard work pays off. I feel incredibly proud and grateful to have won first place in the Huawei ICT Competition. It is a testament to the efforts and dedication of my team and myself. This experience has been a valuable opportunity for personal and professional growth, and I am truly thankful for it.