Electronics engineering is concerned with the generation, transmission and processing of information and includes computers, software, transmission networks, telephones, radio, television, signal processing and optics.
They design, develop, test and maintain electronic parts and systems for application in the fields of automation, communication, navigation, military arms, data processing and entertainment. Some manage manufacturing processes, while others may be responsible for the marketing of products.
Some examples of applications of electronics engineering are as follows:
- Infrared cameras to “see” in the dark, as a means of obtaining data.
- Phenomena that cannot be observed by human beings are transformed by electronics technology to observable phenomena.
- Computers to solve complicated problems and to assimilate signals which may for example be used to control mechanical and chemical processes.
- Communications relating to telephones, videophones, radios, televisions, etc, whereby information is transferred via mass media.
- Power electronics for the control of power generation equipment control of processes and production lines using remote control and data acquisition systems.
Some areas of specialisation include:
- Biomedical Engineers apply engineering methods to solve medical and other life science problems.
- Computer Engineers design computers and associated equipment, including microelectronics, which involves the design, testing and manufacture of microchips.
- Mechatronic Engineers design and maintain machinery with electronic and computer control systems
- Telecommunication Engineers design and maintain telecommunications equipment such as optic cables, microwave techniques, cellular radio, satellite communications, etc.
- Computer Systems Engineers design and manufacture circuit boards used for interfacing computers to other equipment and sometimes write software for controlling computer operations, etc.
Electronics engineers may design, prepare and supervise designs, prepare specifications, estimates, tenders and contracts. Some are involved in establishing and monitoring performance, setting safety standards and specifying methods for modification, maintenance and repair of equipment and systems. Others may examine installations to ensure that they meet contract conditions.
They are likely to liaise with clients, other engineers, technical officers, technicians, trades people and other workers. Modern management abilities are important. Electronics engineers need to be able to participate in planning, organisation and the control of proceedings.
- independent thinker, able to visualise abstract concepts
- strong creative ability, with imagination and vision
- innovation, inventiveness and ingenuity
- above-average intelligence
- keenness to learn, combined with logical reasoning
- good problem-solving skills
- aptitude for and enjoyment of Mathematics and Science
- capable of working independently and as part of a team
- inquiring and analytical mind
- able to manage and organise projects
- able to work under pressure
- perseverance and motivated to achieve
How to Enter
Schooling & School Subjects
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Science
Recommended subjects: Engineering and Graphic Design
What to Study
Degree: The 4-year BEng degree in Electronic Engineering can be followed at the RU, UP, UKZN, US, UJ, UZ and NWU. Theoretical lectures are supplemented by tutorial classes and practical sessions that mostly take place in the laboratory.
Diploma: The 3-year N.Dip. Electronic Engineering can be obtained at a university of technology, e.g. DUT and VUT. These universities of technology now offer a degree in Engineering in collaboration with universities. The course is a minimum of 4 years’ study.
TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) College: A National Diploma in Engineering can be followed at the majority of TVET Colleges.
For electronic engineering technicians and technologists, see Engineering Technicians and Technologists.
- organisations such as Eskom, SABS, CSIR, Telkom, Transnet, Denel, Transnet, SABC and Sasol
- mining industry
- electronics companies
- government departments
- universities and universities of technology
- private electronic engineering consultation firms and development laboratories
- large and small private companies involved with the design, development, production and marketing of electronic systems, sub- systems and components of products
- self-employment, with enough experience and initiative, can work as a consultant or start own manufacturing or engineering company
Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
1st Floor, Waterview Corner Building
2 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue
Bruma Lake Office Park, Bruma
Tel: (011) 607-9500
South African Institute of Electrical Engineers
18a Gill Street
Tel: (011) 487-3003
Electrical Contractors Association of SA
91 Newton Road
Tel: (010) 271-0686
- read as much as you can about electronics
- arrange visits to various electrical and electronic companies and to speak to an electronics engineer about this type of career
- try to obtain vacation work as an assistant to an electronics engineer
Programmes by Study Institutions