A Bit About Me

Black and white image of a person looking out over the Namibian desert

Hi there, I'm Cath and thanks for popping in to visit! I figured that the best way for you to learn about me is for me to answer some questions for you - so take a look at my questions and answers below.

How was Breaking the Mould born?

Breaking the Mould was born when I decided that I had outgrown my old blog and I wanted to re-brand to something a bit more grown up. I had been thinking a while of a new name but nothing seemed to be an exact fit. Eventually, after millions of different names had popped into my head, the concept of "Breaking the Mould" came to me and I knew that this was the name I would choose for me re-brand. One thing that I've always wanted to learn to do is learn how to build my own website. After taking a set of online specialisation courses in Web Design through Coursera I was feeling a bit more confident in creating a web page, but I still wasn't convinced. It was only once I had actually gone and got myself the breaking-the-mould.co.za domain that I felt I couldn't dilly-dally any longer and so I spent a few weeks, after work, in airports and between social events of friends getting an initial version of Breaking the Mould ready.

What is Breaking the Mould About

It's about literally Breaking the Mould. I'm a project engineer at a software development company and it's not unusual for me to be the only women in a meeting of 10 or 15 people. I love that I'm someone who is breaking the stereotype of what it means to be an engineer and a programmer. Breaking the Mould is a place where I reflect on what it's like, as a women, in the field of engineering and software development. It's also a space for me to share the other activities and interests I have, when I'm not at work. I want to show people that engineers and programmers aren't just geeky guys who hide behind their computers all day.

What's Your Story?

I was born in a small town in the KZN Midlands and lived there until I finished high school. I went to the local junior school and then went to an all-girls high school, both of which I really enjoyed! After finishing school, I left home to go and live in Cape Town to study engineering at UCT. I didn't get in to res, but spent my first two years in a flat with two girls from high school and all of our res friends spent a lot of time at our place as their home away from hime, I moved into a bigger, co-ed digs in 3rd and 4th year and we always had something on the go at home. It turns out that engineering class was a good place for me to meet Frosty, my fiancé. After finishing off my degree, I worked overseas for a few months at a ski resort with Frosty and a few friends and then I came back to South Africa to work as a Control and Instrumentation engineer in the maintenance department of a factory where we made margarine. Frosty went back to UCT to do his masters. We did long distance for two years, which was tough. But we survived! Luckily Frosty found a job in Cape Town and so I found a job and moved to Cape Town a few months later. My new job is in the software development field and now I do a lot of project managing and some development in between all my calls! Earlier this year, after close to 7 years of dating, Frosty proposed and we're now in wedding planning mode - so watch this space!

Pivitol Points in Your Life

There have been a few moments in my life that have helped to mould me into the person that I am today. One of the biggest pivitol points in my life was when my younger sister passed away. I suddenly went from being a child with a sibling to an only child. Over this time I grew up quickly and learnt that life will always have it's rough and smooth patches and that you have to make the most of the good times and weather the bad times as well as you are able to. I would say another pivitol point was somehow ending up studying engineering. It's taught me the value of hard work and that I can do the things I put my mind to. It has also taught me the value of teamwork and the importance of ensuring that your skills complement the skills of the people on your team. A final pivitol moment, for the sake of keeping this short, is that fateful maths tut where I met Frosty and he originally helped me thorugh a bunch of problems that I had no idea how to solve. I helped him with all the programming assignments!

What Do You Do for Fun?

I like to keep myself busy with a wide variety of different things. On most days you can find me with my camera close to me, as I'm a keen hobby photographer (all pictures on this website were taken by me) and I especially love taking pictures at night! There's something magical about capturing a scene that looks ordinary until you shoot it with a long exposure. Frosty and I like to enjoy the beauty that Cape Town has to offer - on weekends you can find us doing something out-doorsy either just the two of us or with friends. Plus, it's a good opportunity for me to take lots of pretty pictures. In the week, we sometimes play tennis to unwind from work. And once it gets dark, Frosty and I really enjoy doing online courses and you can usually find one, or both, of us doing some sort of programming course. Yes, we program for fun (maybe there is something in that geeky engineering stereotype!). I also really enjoy cooking and am always keen to try out a new dish. It's fantastic finding a recipe for something that looks impressive but which is actually really easy to make!