If you have a passion for planning in detail, an interest in mining and minerals as well as a knack for problem-solving then a career as a Process Engineer could be for you.
Process Engineers are the people who start every project. They develop, configure and optimise industrial processes – in other words, they provide the recipe for success. Part of their role includes assessing processes, taking measurements and interpreting data.
Process Engineers provide chemical or biochemical processes to turn raw materials into an end product by using logical and creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
- Physical Science
The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in Process Engineering:
- Stellenbosch University – No specific APS required
- University of Cape Town (UCT) – Faculty Point Score (FPS) of 510
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – APS of 42
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 35
A BSc in either engineering, chemistry or material science is the minimum requirement. Engineering experience is also vital but for graduates straight out of varsity, interning might be a better way to start your journey.
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Process Engineer:
- Communication Skills
- Analytical Skills
- Negotiation Skills
- Excellent Computer Skills
- Commercial Awareness
- Ability to remain calm under pressure
Here are some of these places of work you could find yourself working in as a Process Engineer:
- Mining Industry
- Manufacturing Industry
- Food and Beverage Industry
- Metals and Minerals
- Utility Companies
Working hours are project based, with most days being the standard 8am-5pm but there are instances where extra hours may be required to meet deadlines. It is highly unlikely that you will have to work over the weekend with this career choice.
The current estimated annual salary for a Process Engineer is R217 000 to R770 000, with the average being R428 075. Most engineers are contractors and that means they are paid by the hour, the estimated hourly rate according to PayScale is R155.29 – experience and qualifications are what contribute to what this number will be.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Process Engineer:
- Traveling for work. Depending on the size of the company, engineers might be required to travel to different locations for the completion of the project
- Almost all of the work is conducted in an office with little to none outdoor work engagements
- Industry is still male dominated, females may experience some form of hostility but more and more organisations are evolving and adapting to the females that have joined the workforce
- If required to work on sites or plants, protective equipment has to be worn