In this second part to electrical engineering we will discuss the various fields that you as a budding electrical engineer can investigate while studying and the different bodies an engineer will be affiliated with.
Electrical engineering (heavy current)
Engineers, technicians and technologists in this field are mostly concerned with the design, development, installation and testing of electrical motors, generators, alternators, transformers, transmission lines, cables and switchgear as mentioned in my previous article.
Electrical engineering (light current/electronics)
Technicians / technologists may choose to work in one of the following fields:
Industrial instrumentation: These technicians/ technologists are concerned with the design, fault detection and testing of industrial instrumentation used in large manufacturing concerns as well as within the chemical industry.
Electronics (communication): Technicians/ technologists in this field apply their knowledge in the communications area, for example radio, television, radar and communication between computers.
Biomedical electronics: In this field they specialise in the design, installation and fault detection of electronic equipment, for example heart-lung machines, EEG and X-ray equipment.
Micro-electronics: Technicians/technologists in this field are involved in the design, testing and manufacture of microchips.
Telecommunications: Technicians/ technologists in this field use their knowledge in the installation, maintenance and fault detection of telecommunications equipment such as optic cables, microwave techniques, cellular radio, satellite communications etc.
Computer systems: In this field the technicians/technologists work in a computer environment with the design and manufacture of circuit boards used for interfacing computers to other equipment, the writing of software for controlling computer operations etc.
The electrical/electronic engineer should display the following characteristics:
• Independent thought
• An urgency to create
• Logical reasoning
The engineer must be capable of identifying a problem and must then try to find the best solution as fast as possible and at the lowest cost. Sometimes the ideal solution requires logical thinking. Electrical and electronic engineers must also have an aptitude and liking for mathematics, be innovative and have the potential to work independently and in a team.
Here are some ideas as to where you might find work once qualified or when looking for a place of work to perform your learnerships (BTech/National diploma students).
• Government departments
• The mining industry and related companies
• Organisations such as Transnet, Eskom, Mittal Steel, CSIR, Sasol, Kentron, SABS, SABC, Denel, Portnet, Metro Rail
• Universities and universities of technology
• Manufacturers of electrical equipment
• Private engineering consultants
• Self-employment, with enough experience and initiative, can work as a consultant or start own manufacturing or engineering company
Further Information can be obtained from:
• Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) - www.ecsa.co.za
• South African Institute of Electrical Engineers - www.saiee.org.za
• Electrical Contractors Association of SA - www.ecasa.co.za
*Source: Courtesy of TCD Consulting (Pty) Ltd. Technical Recruitment guide