If you are a critical thinker with an interest in gaining technical and scientific knowledge, a career as a Mechanical Engineer could be for you.
In this profile:
As an engineering graduate, you’ll find different types of opportunities. For example, financial firms love engineers for the way they think and function. The industry and sector you choose to go into will also determine the path your career will follow.
You’d start out in a junior position and work your way up as you gain more experience within your field. If you have leadership skills, you may find yourself taking on more managerial roles. This will also alter your career path somewhat.
Required School Subjects
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics (matric level)
- Physical Science (matric level)
Recommended Institutions and APS
Engineering studies are offerered at various types of institutions. You will only need to calculate your APS if you’re applying to a university. Here are some institutions in each of these categories where you study Mechanical Engineering:
- TVET College:
Almost all TVET colleges in SA offer a mechanical engineering qualification.
- University of Technology:
In general, you will need an APS of 40+ to meet the minimum requirements at university.
Calculate your own APS Below
In order to qualify as a Mechanical Engineer, you will need to have one of the following qualifications behind you:
- N levels (NQF 1 and up) from a TVET College
- Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
- BTech in Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
You will need to show that you have some of the following skills:
- good spatial awareness
- critical thinking abilities
- logically/practically minded
- drawing skills will be handy
- technical and scientific knowledge
- communication skills for team work and project-based work
- time management
- organization skills
- IT skills
Where can you work
As a Mechanical Engineer, you can work in a variety of spaces. This will, however, depend on your qualification in Mecahnical Engineering.
Here is a break down of some of the jobs you could pursue with each qualification (there are tons of other jobs where you qualification could be applicable):
TVET University of Technology University Automotive Maintenance and Repair Mining Industry Business and management General manufacturing engineering Automotive factories Construction General maintenance engineering Engineering and production workshops Product development Mining Industry Building service contractors Manufacturing and automation Marine Industry Consulting engineering Design
Generally, you’ll work for an engineering firm and, therefore, work the normal 8am to 5pm stint. Unless they have some form of flexi hours and/or remote working. As is with all careers, if you work for yourself, you’ll dictate your own hours.
Here is an average starting salary that you can expect – remember the more experience you have, the higher your salary will be. The type of position you take and your role within a company will also play a huge role on your expected salary.
TVET University of Technology University Beginner R5 500 R15 000 R20 000 Intermediate R12 000 R21 000 R35 000 Senior R25 000 R30 000 R45 000+
What to Expect
Each type of institution will have a different focus.
TVET: They will offer more practical implementation of the work alongside the necessary theory. More of your time will be learning the practical side of your chosen mechanical engineering path, i.e. mechanic.
University of Technology: Here you’ll do a lot of theory with 6 months of mandatory practical work. You’ll first do your diploma and then will need to do an extra year to get your BTech, which is on the same level as a degree.
University: University programmes are mostly all theoretical and academic studies. You may have some practical work within the institution laboratories.