|Electronic engineering is one of the three internationally accepted and closely-related subdisciplines in the traditional field of electrical engineering (electrical engineering, electronic engineering and computer engineering). Electronic engineering entails the vast and constantly expanding field of the “electronic world and era”. There is hardly a technological system in the world that does not rely on electronics and electronic engineering. An electronic engineer is someone with a flair for introducing new technologies and upgrading old technologies.
An electronic engineer has a good understanding of the basic sciences and a good education in the theoretical and practical aspects (including design methodology) of electronics and electronic engineering systems. With the drastic increase in new electronic systems being developed all over the world, it is essential to be well prepared for the rewarding life of an electronic engineer.
The electronic engineering degree at the University of Pretoria was developed over many years to provide exactly what the industry expects from such an engineer. This is an exciting world, with the "half-life" of microelectronics and photonics being approximately two-and-a-half years. There are constant improvements and developments.
Electronic engineering is used in almost all Information, Communication and Techology (ICT) application fields, especially those of telecommunications (cellphones, broadcasting, ISP’s, Telcos, GPS), transport (aeroplanes, ships, trains, motor cars), consumer equipment (i-Pods, induction stoves, fridges, microwaves, televisions), the peace-keeping operations (avionics, night vision, electronic warfare, smart bombs, drones, laser target designators), medicine (bioengineering, diagnostic systems, rehabilitation engineering, intensive care units, laser surgery), robotics (mechatronics, mine robots, spacecraft), entertainment (video games, shows, casinos), mining, manufacturing, navigation, communication, satellite surveillance (day and night, entrance control, face recognition) and photonics (lasers, optical fibres, networking).
The electronic engineer has to be innovative and stay abreast of new technologies. Many electronic engineers move very quickly into management, where their analytical, synthesis, managerial and leadership skills are used to reach the highest levels of corporate management. A number of graduates of this Department have sold their ideas (patents) for hundreds of millions of rands.
The aim of electronic engineering is to do things faster, cheaper, in smaller size and with much more control and artificial intelligence. Typical subsystems that form part of larger electronic systems are amplifiers, transmitters, receivers, control systems sensor systems, power supplies, radio frequency (RF) subsystems, micro- and nanoelectronics and microprocessor/DSPs/FPGAs. Most electronic systems use a standard process of measurement (sensing), calculate/compare/store information and controlled outputs (actuators) with extensive computing and communication power.
The Engineering Augmented Degree Programme (ENGAGE)
An engineering degree is very demanding. The workload is high, the pace is fast and the modules are academically challenging. Many students do not have a strong enough background in Mathematics and Physical Science, academic literacy and information technology, and do not have the study skills to cope with the mainstream four-year programme. In addition, many students struggle with the transition to university life, with the very large first-year classes, freedom from strict discipline, and many social actitivites, even if they attend high-performing schools.
This is why the School of Engineering offers a five-year programme, called the Engineering Augmented Degree Programme (ENGAGE). ENGAGE is available in all the engineering disciplines. ENGAGE provides a carefully structured curriculum that helps students adjust to university life and cope with the demands of engineering studies.
In ENGAGE, the volume of work is gradually increased and the support provided is gradually decreased over a period of three years. However, the workload - the time students must spend on their studies - is high from the very beginning, so ENGAGE is not for students who do not want to work!