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Mechanical Engineer

by Staff Reporter
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.

Career Overview

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 subjects:

  • IT

Institution 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:
    • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
    • Durban University of Technology
    • Mangosuthu University of Technology
    • Vaal University of Technology
    • Tshwane University of Technology
    • Central University of Technology
  • University:
    • University of Pretoria
    • University of Witwatersrand
    • University of KwaZulu Natal
    • University of Cape Town
    • Stellenbosch University

In general, you will need an APS of 40+ to meet the minimum requirements at university.

Required Qualification/s

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

Required Skills

You will need to show that you have some of the following skills:

  • good spatial awareness
  • critical thinking abilities
  • decisiveness
  • logically/practically minded
  • drawing skills will be handy
  • technical and scientific knowledge
  • communication skills for team work and project-based work
  • creativity
  • time management
  • organization skills
  • IT skills

Where you can work

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Working Hours

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.

Expected Salary

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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.

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