Kobus Myburgh is the owner and MD of Impero Consulting, and has been working in the IT industry since 1995, when he started as an assistant in an Internet Cafe, and accepting a job at the North-West University in Potchefstroom (formerly Potchefstroom University) in 1997, where he has been a computer support technician and went through several promotions to finally get the title of IT consultant.
All his work at North-West university were for in-house purposes, but at iGroup he has developed and worked on various industry grade websites, some of which are listed on his LinkedIN profile. He was also the SEO strategist and SEO manager at iGroup.
He is specializing in usability, with a strong focus on security and scalability using PHP and MySQL. He is also maintaining a working knowledge of Novell networks, Microsoft software products and networks, some Linux administration, and proprietary software such as Symantec security solutions, and Adobe software.
About Impero, Kobus says: "Impero is a small team, and we all do whatever we have to to get the work done, and this means I am doing invoices, sales and marketing as well as development, while my technical staff are manning the phones and do various technical assignments and IT support."
Impero Consuting is a firm specializing in online board of trustee elections, records management (CRM) and web-based admin systems.
What do you like most about your profession?
The ability to create. The ability to see something develop from nothing into something. The ability to make something that improves productivity. While this is true for many professions I could've chosen when I was in school, I am particularly certain that I can make a difference in productivity in most industries.
What questions do clients most commonly ask you? How do you respond?
Q: "How much does a website cost?" A: "This depends on the functionality, design and complexity of your website. Let's discuss your needs so that I can give you an appropriate quotation." Q: "How do I install/use/uninstall/buy XYZ program?" (Asked by people thinking a "programmer" is "an IT guy"... A: "I am a developer by trade, so I do not really know, but I do have some friends who specialize in this industry. Alternatively, give me a bit of time, and I will research the basics for you."
Describe a recent client engagement or project.
Developing an online electronic voting platform using PHP and MySQL. Due to the intense business rules of this project, and the severe security and authentication requirements I have been pushed to a higher level of being. Firstly, my left-hemisphere of brain has lit up. My logic reasoning has increased significantly. My ability to reason about a problem has improved. There is usually a way to logically resolve a problem. My research skills have improved significantly. A lot of time you do not know what to search for, when you use a search engine such as Google. You then get tons of irrelevant results. But every now and then, you pick up a buzz word, and you refine your search using that particular buzz word, until you can swoop down and find exactly what you're looking for, simply by knowing what it is you are searching for.
What are 3 attributes you need to be successful in your industry?
Programming is a mind game. You need long hours of concentration to get your work done. You need to be determined. When you have reached your physical limit of effective concentration, go that extra 5 minutes - that is the only way your attention span will improve. You need to be intelligent. This will allow you to consider a programming problem from all possible angles. Intelligent enough to research various possible answers, and also to know that you do not know everything - get help where possible. You need to specialize. Yes, while a wunderkind or (child prodigy) can program in 50 languages, and has been programming since he was 5, your general programmer achieves the best success by focusing on one language and its related technologies, and specializing in those. Nothing wrong with focusing on different languages at different times, but at that particular time - aim to specialize in what you are doing at the time.
What are the most important things to consider when hiring a service provider in your field?
Reputation. If you have a reputation for good work (LinkedIN endorsements and testimonials, client testimonials, etc.) you are probably someone I will look at. Communication Skills - initial impressions matter a lot to me. If you make a lot of spelling mistakes, or you type like a teenager on a cellular phone, I probably will not look at you. Fair (but not necessarily cheap) price. I found that hiring the cheapest service provider often result in disappointment.
How are you different than others in your profession?
I am highly specialized in my preferred programming language skills, but know enough about most other programming languages, or at least the concept of programming in general, that I can join most programming conversations without making a total fool out of myself. I cannot really say how I am different from all others in my profession, but I know I am different from many others in my profession, simply because the entry point for people in my industry (PHP web programming) is very low. There are a lot of people out there who develop websites for 2K or 3K, and they do take business away from us specialist who often charge 10 times more - but that is only until their project gets hacked, or cannot be adapted to future growth of the client's business needs - that's when the client calls in the specialists.
What are your biggest professional influences (books, mentors, events)?
When dealing with problems in my profession, believe it or not - Google. Yes. Google has the answers for most problems in my industry. Google is the gateway to StackOverflow, ExpertsExchange, and thousands of other programming and technology hubs. As far as guiding my business to the next level, I depend more on mentors than anything else. I do not read entire auto/biographies, but I do follow a few very special people's beliefs and tips very closely. For business guidance, there are people such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Branson. In my industry specifically, there are programmers that I look up to, such as Phil Sturgeon, Christopher Pitt and Rasmus Lerdorf. The lists are legio, and entries in those lists are filled with names that make me realize how little I really know - and how much I need to learn before I can be on other peoples' lists as someone to look up to!
How do you typically handle disagreements with clients?
This is one area in my business life I need to sharpen up on. I tend to bend over backwards for my clients. Sometimes so much that it comes to an extreme cost to myself. I need to push back a bit more, and toe the boundaries. I also often go into defensive mode if I am caught unawares. I am working hard on standing my ground on matters that I know I did my best work under the circumstances.
Describe your proudest professional accomplishment.
Starting my own business full time in 2012 0 Impero Consulting (https://www.impero.co.za). A lot of people have done it before me, and a lot of people are more successful than me, but I did it! I managed to kiss goodbye the security of a corporate paycheck, and am now the boss of my own destiny. My own working hours and my own salary.
Lead Developer at Promise Digital
March 2013 - January 2014
Doing senior development tasks for Promise Digital, including Renault Fleet, Renault Societe, and Renault Clio 4.
MD and owner at Impero Consulting (Pty) Ltd.
March 2012 - Present
Officially started my own IT and telecommunications consultancy business in February 2012.
System Developer at HSRC
December 2010 - June 2012
Reworking the HSRC's internal systems, developing with performance, usability and security in mind.
MD and owner at InternetMAX
January 2010 - January 2012
Web hosting and development company.
Senior Web Developer / SEO Specialist at iGroup
January 2009 - November 2010
Developing websites for high-end customers, integrating e-commerce systems and other data feed requirements of clients. Project management, SEO and SEM.
IT Consultant at North West University
August 2002 - December 2008
IT consultant - responsible for hardware and software issues related to the student IT infrastructure, anti-virus software as well as software license control and building safety.
CEO and Owner at NetGold Productions
September 2000 - December 2008
I was the CEO and owner of this personal web design and development company, which has now become InternetMAX, doing most of the work myself, but hiring contractors as necessary.
IT Support technician at North West University Potchefstroom Campus
July 1997 - August 2002
IT helpdesk support, anti-virus system management.
Emergency Medical Official at Carletonville Emergency Services
April 1995 - June 1996
I was handling medical emergencies, particularly trauma, and also attending vehicle accidents and fires.
Degree: B. Sc.
Field of Study: Information Technology
Degree: South African Matric (Grade 12)
Field of Study: General
B. Sc. (IT) (Hons)
Authority: North-West University
Start Date: Dec 31, 2005
B. Sc. (IT) Cum Laude
Authority: North-West University
Start Date: Dec 31, 2004
Proficiency: Native or Bilingual Proficiency
Impero Consulting Website
Publication: Randburg, South Africa
Date: Sep 01, 2012
Impero Consulting's corporate website, built on Impero CMS, our own in-house developed CMS.
Date: Jun 01, 2005
I was a technical reviewer for the Drupal book by David Mercer, and published by Packt publishers.
3 Camilla Close
Randburg South Africa