What it takes to become an Industrial Engineer in SA

If you have some mad skills in science and mathematics you might want to consider working in the field of industrial engineering. Industrial engineer jobs require analytic skills as well as the ability to work with people. Today we take a closer look at the industrial engineer job description as well as some careers paths available to you in South Africa.

careers in engineering

What is Industrial Engineering?

An industrial engineer is involved in designing systems that cater for the economic and efficient use of both manpower and natural resources to create a positive or financially beneficial result. Industrial engineers are involved in the creation of wealth which is achieved through the combination of improving already established systems and creating new, more efficient systems.

You will apply your business and engineering design skills in order to design and implement systems that will improve efficiency, the quality of the end product or service, the efficiency of workers as well as those workers’ job satisfaction, productivity and the satisfaction of customers.

This field of engineering isn’t just a one-skill field and requires professionals to be able to work with people, have an understanding of economics and make decisions within the field of business that can be economically justified.

engineering careers

An industrial engineer is concerned with three main branches. The first is quality – both the quality of the end product as well as the quality of processes and systems used. The second is manufacturing – the processes and system used in manufacturing, which includes everything from the way the plant is laid out to reducing waste.

The third is logistics – project management that encompasses everything from the movement of materials to the networks of transport used.

Industrial Engineering Careers

Marked as ‘Green Occupations’ and ‘Scarce Skills’ by the Department of Higher Education and Training, there are interesting and rewarding engineering career paths within this field of engineering – from an Industrial Engineering Technologist to a Technician.

Because these professionals combine finances, technology, people, materials and even different production methods to create a productive and effective system, the industries of work range from Banking and Manufacturing, to the Food and Beverage industry.

You’ll find industrial engineer jobs in fields like agricultural production, fabrication, supply chain, automation and control, and manufacturing, to name but a few examples.

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The Industrial Engineer Job Description

Working in these engineering careers you will be responsible for investigating and reviewing how personnel, materials, equipment, operational processes and facilities are used. Once this review and investigation have been completed you will be able to recommend various improvements in order to improve efficiency.

industrial engineer jobs

Like mentioned earlier, the industrial engineer is concerned with the creation of wealth. Through improving processes (like inspecting plants in order to improve maintenance performance) an engineer in this field is able to make changes to systems (or even design new systems) in order to contribute to the creation of wealth of a business.

A company’s industrial engineer job description will vary according to what type of company it is as well as the specific field you are working in. Generally some of your tasks and duties will include working with management in order to keep them up to date with the latest equipment and production methods.

You will also be involved in managing and organising labour (on a project for example), the equipment as well as the materials needed. Liaising with different departments in order to ensure that all deliverables are met and developing specifications and standards concerning everything from manufacturing and quality control to the flow of materials needed will also form part of your tasks and duties.

A very simply put example, an industrial engineer is involved in everything from making sure that the labour force is working optimally and has all the materials they need, to making sure the labour force is able to meet deliverable deadlines that are economically beneficial. This will also include efficient maintenance of equipment, cost calculations and even the layout of a facility.

If you would like to complete studies within this field will need a National Senior Certificate with a degree entrance or a National Certificate (Vocational) NC(V). Mathematics and Physical Science should be your school subjects if you would like to apply for a study programme.

You will need to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. After completing your degree you can also register as a Professional Engineer with ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa). In order to do so you will need work experience (usually three years) working as a Candidate Engineer.

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Some of the educational institutions that offer Bachelor’s Degree programmes include UNISA, North-West University and Stellenbosch University, to name but a few institutions.

According to PayScale, the average industrial engineer salary in South Africa comes in at R 261 421 per annum. Note that your skills, experience and the city where you work will influence this salary estimate.

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Working as an Industrial Engineering Technician

Working in this field, you will be involved in the testing of both existing and new engineering technologies as they relate to everything from how the labour force is used to the materials being used. Once this testing phase is complete, an Industrial Engineering Technologist is then able to recommend improvements in order to increase efficiency.

Industrial engineer jobs in this field will involve you collecting data as well as lending your assistance when it comes to processes (like production sequences), the economic use of the labour force, the materials used and the equipment used.

daily tasks of an industrial engineer

You will be assisting other engineers in order to develop remediation and prevention devices in terms of environmental pollution, as well as testing and modifying these devices. Engineers with this job title is also seen working in identifying potential hazardous situations, introducing safety devices and procedures to remedy this.

To study towards a qualification in this field you will need a National Senior Certificate with a diploma entrance, maths and physical sciences being two of your high school subjects. A National Certificate (Vocational) NC(V) is also able to give you entrance to these engineering careers. You can then complete a National Diploma in Industrial Engineering.

After completing your studies you will need to register as a Candidate Engineering Technician with ECSA and, after two years’ work experience and a professional review, you can apply for registration as a Professional Engineering Technician.

According to PayScale the industrial engineer salary for a technician in the field comes in at R 176 873 per year.

Looking for vacancies? Being an Industrial Engineering Technologist

When it comes to these types engineering careers, the technologist is responsible for analysing and modifying both existing and new technologies. The technologist applies these industrial engineering technologies in both the testing and implementation of projects within the field of industrial engineering.

Sharing some of the same tasks and responsibilities as seen within the industrial engineer job description, these types of industrial engineer jobs involve working with management when it comes to new production methods and analysing how every aspect of an operation works together – from the materials used and the equipment, to the labour force, the costs of production and production schedules.

working in industrial engineering jobs

You will also be working with maintenance (concerning both equipment and the facility itself) in order to facilitate new designs and processes for example.

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If you would like to get a qualification in this field you will need a National Senior Certificate with diploma entrance or a National Certificate (Vocational) NC(V). Mathematics and physical science as high school subjects are also required.

You can complete a National Diploma in Industrial Engineering and follow up with a Bachelor of Technology in Industrial Engineering. Once this is complete you can register as a Candidate Engineering Technologist with ECSA, gaining three years’ work experience. A professional review will be done before you can register as a Professional Engineering Technologist.

Qualified and looking for a new and exciting challenge? Register your CV on Job Mail and start browsing for industrial engineer jobs in an industry that fuels your passion.

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5 Responses

  1. Ncamiso says:

    Wow… This is very ineresting and helpful. Would you kindly post or send me information for aspiring international candidates, especially postgraduate courses.

    Thank you so much

  2. collen says:

    I’m having problem to register with job mail please help me if can I have N5 electrical engineering

  3. Lloyd Sibanda says:

    I am interested in optic fibre engineering. How can you help?

  4. Shuaib says:

    how do i get a bursery to do this engineering diploma?i got all the skills required and 20 year work experience in this line of work.running dads business as a sub contractor for gov,council,metro rail,etc.reply cause im struggling to find a good job with no papers as a tradesman

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