Electrical Engineering Jobs
Electrical engineers and engineering technicians are involved in activities that relate to the generation, transmission, and conversion of electrical energy. This means that they can perform a wide variety of tasks, and that they could work on anything ranging from generators and power plants to electrical circuits and communication systems.
Electrical engineering jobs are well-suited to those who:
- Enjoy a combination of theoretical and practical work.
- Enjoy solving problems.
- Are good at Maths and Science (particularly Physics).
- Are naturally curious and keen to understand how things work.
What does an electrical engineer do?
An electrical engineer works with electrical circuits, as well as with products and devices that are able to generate, transmit, and convert electrical energy. An electrical engineering technician, therefore, might be required to:
- Wire electrical circuits.
- Perform electrical installations.
- Inspect, and conduct tests on, electrical circuits and equipment.
- Maintain and repair electrical equipment.
More senior technicians may also be required to:
- Assist in planning new installations and other electrical engineering projects.
- Assist in performing quality control checks.
- Develop maintenance schedules.
- Supervise junior technicians.
The different types of technical jobs that are available in the field of electrical engineering include the following:
- Electrical Technician/Electrician
- Field Service Technician
- Installation Technician
- Junior Technician
- Lift Technician
- Maintenance Technician
- Refrigeration Technician
- Senior Technician
- Telecommunications Technician
What qualities and characteristics do I need to be successful as a technician in the electrical engineering industry?
- Critical and analytical thinking skills: A large part of your job as an electrical engineering technician involves problem-solving. And to find effective solutions to problems, you need to be able to think critically and analytically about the various aspects of the situations that you have to deal with.
- Communication and interpersonal skills: It is likely that you will be required to work closely with others on various projects, and you are far more likely to be successful in these projects if you are able to communicate well with your co-workers.
- Numeracy skills: To work as an electrical engineering technician, you need to be good with numbers, as you will need to perform various calculations in your daily work. You might, for example, need to calculate the resistance of a conductor, or you might need to calculate the current of an electrical circuit.
- Observation skills: In the electrical engineering environment, you need strong observation skills, as this will help you to identify problems — and possible solutions — more quickly.
What can I do to prepare for a career in electrical engineering?
This depends on the type of career path that you want to follow. If you want to work as a technician or skilled artisan, you can:
- Study towards a national qualification (N1 – N6) in electrical engineering, and apply for an apprenticeship to get the practical training that you need to become fully qualified. Keep in mind that you will also need to pass a trade test.
- Complete a learnership in electrical engineering. A learnership involves a combination of practical and theoretical training, and results in a qualification that is recognised by SAQA.
If you want to work as a professional electrical engineer, you will need to study towards a degree in engineering at a recognised university. The admission requirements for degree programmes in engineering are usually quite strict, so if you want to pursue this option, you will need to make sure that you achieve high marks (particularly in Maths and Science) at school. When it comes to being interviewed for a job in electrical engineering, you can expect to be asked a combination of general and technical questions.
Here are a few examples of the types of general questions that you could expect to be asked:
- What do you think are the most important personal characteristics for a successful career in engineering?
- How has your education prepared you for a career in electrical engineering?
- How do you think you would be able to use your engineering education and prior work experience to make improvements in our company?
- What do you enjoy most about electrical engineering? Why did you choose to specialise in this field?
- Tell us about a time when you succeeded in using the principles of logic to solve an engineering problem in your last job (or in your studies)?