Electrical Engineering Career Guidance

What does an Electrician do?

An Electrician works in commercial, industrial or residential settings. They usually install, repair and maintain electrical systems designed to provide heat, light, power, control, signal, or fire alarms, for all types of buildings, structures and premises.

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What are the duties and tasks of an Electrician?

  • Installing electrical distribution and control equipment such as switches, relays, circuit breaker panels and fuse enclosures;
  • Reading and interpreting electrical, mechanical and architectural drawings and electrical code specifications to determine wiring layouts;
  • Cutting, threading, bending, assembling and installing conduits and other types of electrical conductor enclosures and fittings;
  • Pulling wire through conduits and holes in walls and floors;
  • Installing data cabling or fibre optic systems;
  • Testing circuits to ensure integrity and safety.

What skills and abilities are required to become an Electrician?

  • Good communication and reading skills;
  • An aptitude for Mathematics;
  • Mechanical ability , strength and manual dexterity;
  • The ability to distinguish colours to work with colour-coded wiring;
  • The ability to work at heights;
  • The willingness to keep up with new developments in the field;
  • The ability to create new ways of doing things;
  • The ability to do very precise work expertly;
  • Ability to work at a variety of exciting tasks.

What are the working conditions of an Electrician?

Electricians usually work a 40 or 45 hour, five-day week plus overtime when required. In construction , there may be no guarantee of permanent work. Working conditions can change dramatically from one job to another, varying from indoors in clean conditions to outdoors on scaffolding, to indoors in cramped conditions (such as climbing inside ceilings).Electricians are also able to start their own small businesses.

What are the minimum entry requirements to study Electrical Engineering at a TVET College?

At a TVET College, the normal entrance requirements for the Electrical Engineering course are:

  • NC(V) Programme:

A Grade 9 Certificate + college requirements set per programme.

  • NATED Programme:

N1 admission - Grade 9 Certificate.

N4 admission - Grade 12 with a pass in Mathematics + college requirements set per programme OR an NC(V) Level 4 Certificate in ElectricaI Infrastructure Construction.

What should I do if I want to become an Electrician?

  • Contact Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to enquire about the entrance requirements to do the Electrical Engineering course;
  • Visit Electrical Engineering training centres and companies to gain more knowledge about the field and what it entails;
  • Contact DHET Career Development Services to provide you with free quality career in formation , advice and counselling services on 086 999 0123 or e-mail: careerhelp@dhet.gov.za
  • Go for an aptitude test to help understand if a career as an Electrician is for you;
  • Attend Career Exhibitions in your area to liaise with higher learning institutions and obtain application forms.

Did you know: Electrical Engineering has different specialisations?

A student who intends to study in the Electrical Engineering field can choose to specialise in one of 3 areas. The 3 areas of specialisation are Heavy current, Light current and Instrumentation.

  1. Heavy current - concerned with the supply, distribution, transformation and use of electrical power. Work in this area entails working with high voltage power systems such as substations.
  2. Light current - concerned with the application of low power electrical systems. Work in this area entails working on electronic circuits, low circuit voltages and currents.
  3. Instrumentation - concerned with process control. It deals with the design of instrumentation devices to measure physical quantities such as pressure, flow and temperature. The design of such instrumentation requires a good understanding of physics that often extends beyond electromagnetic theory.
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