Electronics Engineer

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, an example of obtaining information. 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, an example of the assimilation of information electronic systems involving the control of mechanical and chemical processes, an example of the control of information
  • communications, such as international telephone conversations and videophones, an example of the transference of information mass media, such as radio and television, an example of the distribution of information power electronics for the control of power generation equipment control of processes and production lines using remote control and data acquisition systems (SCADA, etc.)

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.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Note: The Engineering Faculties of some universities offer support programmes to help students to become self-sufficient and capable of completing the very demanding engineering course. The programmes are aimed at students from communities which lack proper education facilities. Only students with good grades would be considered.

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, Kentron, Portnet, Metro Rail, SABC and Sasol
  • manufacturers
  • 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

Further Information

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
Private Bag X 691
Bruma, 2026
Tel: (011) 607-9500 Fax: (011) 622-9295
E-mail: engineer@ecsa.co.za

South African Institute of Electrical Engineers
P O Box 751253
Gardenview, 2047
Tel: (011) 487-3003 Fax: (011) 487-3002

Electrical Contractors Association of SA
P O Box 9683
Edenglen, 1613
Tel: (011) 392-0000 Fax: (011) 974-9402

Getting Started

  • 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


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