“Engineering is a form of art and has filled the world with things of obvious visual beauty but also with subtle forms.” ~ Louis Brown

Engineering and other technical industries are often not regarded as cool or creative industries — but the opposite is most likely true. That being said, most people are aware that engineering is currently one of the best-paying careers in South Africa.

Here is a list of the top 5 careers in engineering:

  1.    Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is a practical field where engineers design, construct, and maintain infrastructures, as well as upgrade structures to safeguard public and environmental safety and health. 

Duties of a civil engineer include:

  • Inspecting project sites and making sure that design specifications and all other safety and sanitation standards are met.
  • Preparing and presenting public reports, such as bid proposals, deeds, etc.
  • Directing and managing construction and operations on site.

Skills needed for this job:

  •         Strong numeracy skills.
  •         Critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  •         Leadership and interpersonal skills.
  1.    Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering deals with the design and development of electrical systems. Engineers in this field have to be trained to handle responsibilities such as wiring and installation of lighting.

Responsibilities of an electrical engineer could include:

  • Communicating with engineers and clients to discuss performance and future projects.
  • Designing and maintaining electrical equipment and products for both commercial and industrial purposes.
  • Using computer-assisted engineering and design software.

Knowledge areas that are important for this job:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Drawing (Technical Design)
  • Communication skills

Click here to start studying towards your N1 Engineering Studies (Electrical Engineering) course

  1.    Software Engineering

Software engineers deal with the practical and analytical aspects of software design and development. They may also be responsible for the maintenance of software systems.  They essentially come up with improvements for software systems, and provide solutions that are aimed at making more efficient use of technology.

Educational requirements:

Most employers look for software engineers with formal qualifications in computer or software engineering, along with relevant practical training and/or experience.

Skills needed for this job:

An ability to think analytically and an ability to pay close attention to detail are essential for success in this field.

  1.    Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineers focus on the design and implementation of systems and processes that control how atoms interact with one another.  As a chemical engineer, most of your time will be spent in the office or in a lab, designing and refining equipment and processes.

Duties of a chemical engineer include:

o   Researching new methods of manufacturing chemicals

o   Conducting tests

o   Designing and monitoring chemical manufacturing systems

o   Collecting data and preparing reports in relation to various processes

o   Considering safety implications, and taking the necessary precautions

Work environment:

Chemical engineers can be found in offices, labs, or processing plants (where they will monitor and manage production). Chemical engineers often work under a lot of pressure, as the expectations can be very high.


  1.    Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering involves working with moving objects. One aspect of mechanical engineering is product design, which involves designing and manufacturing tangible objects with moving parts, such as engines, personal computers, and dishwashers.

The duties of a mechanical engineer include:

  • Evaluating problems and finding solutions using mechanical engineering principles.
  • Supervising and monitoring the manufacturing processes of various mechanical objects.
  • Conducting tests, analysing test results, and making improvements where needed.

Educational Requirements:

The educational requirements for working as a mechanical engineer vary from one job to another. A National Certificate may be sufficient for an artisan or technician role, such as millwright, boilermaker, or fitter and turner. A degree, however, will usually be required for professional mechanical engineering positions.

Other Careers in Engineering:

Other good career options in the field of engineering include:

  • Air Quality Monitoring Technician
  • Electronic Drafter
  • Environmental Health Technician
  • Mechanical Drafter
  • Quality Assurance Technician
  • Telecommunications Technician

With a career choice as physically and intellectually challenging as engineering, it is important that you are certain about the type of engineering course that you are interested in.

At Oxbridge Academy, we have Student Advisors on call to help you figure out which option is best for you, depending on your interests, skills, and career goals.

Click here to contact a Student Advisor