So, who’s Maritza van den Huevel?
I started out my career as a linguist. After a few years in academic research, I migrated to the software industry. My ability to translate between software developers, business stakeholders and end-users is, is the common thread in my technology career – starting with my early days as a technical writer, to establishing and running an Innovation Lab to build digital learning products and now designing and delivering population-scale mobile services at the Praekelt Foundation. When I’m not thinking up ways to use technology in disruptive ways, I love running trails and reading.
When and how did your passion for technology begin?
I studied Computational Linguistics as part of my Honours degree. I felt increasingly drawn to the technological aspects of the field, and when an opportunity came along to move into software development, I made the most of it.
My Humanities background continues to fuel a strong passion for user-centred design and building technology solutions that real people find easy and enjoyable to use.
What advice do you have for young girls who are interested in this industry?
It’s not all about the technology. Yes, Maths and Science are important. So is coding. But don’t forget that you’re creating technology for real people. Most users don’t respond to technology products because they love the technology, but because of how it makes them feel or makes their lives easier.
So make time to learn about people, too.
If you’re at school, join community organizations or volunteer for a cause that you care about. If you’re studying, take some subjects like Anthropology, Sociology and Philosophy.
What’s your favourite?
- Movie – Antonia’s Line
- Book – Too many to mention, as I read a lot and very widely. Currently reading: The Silmarillion (Tolkien) and The New How (Nilofer Merchant), amongst others.
- Website – www.brainpickings.org
- Mobile App – MyFitnessPal and EskomSePush