Durban Agriculture Graduate Jobs and Programmes
When studying Agriculture there are so many careers you can follow, but the two that stand out are Agrologist and Agriculture Engineer. To become an Agrologist, you must have a natural interest in ecology, agriculture, the environment, and farming. This is amongst one of the most interesting careers to follow and many may be surprised at the benefits of these careers.
Agrologists are responsible for providing advice and services related to agricultural and environmental science. Agrologists also apply scientific principles to the cultivation, production and utilization of animals and plants.
Agrologist Job Duties:
- Perform pest control using bio-control methods.
- Manage and evaluate rangeland.
- Conduct environmental assessments.
- Give presentations and speak at seminars, conferences, academic institutions and other gatherings.
- Supervise and manage activities on public land that is used for agricultural purposes such as ranching and grazing.
- Promote the sustainable development of agricultural and related resources
- Oversee food safety programs.
- Develop and distribute information and advice for the public and stakeholders in the agri-business and agri-food industries.
- May develop and administer government regulations and programs relating to agriculture.
- Manage and coordinate government programs and make recommendations regarding agricultural and resource use policies.
Education and Accreditation Needed to Become an Agrologist
To become a professional agrologist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture or a closely related field such as Botany or Environmental Science. This usually takes +- 4-5 years to complete.
If you want to become an agrologist who works as a consultant in the agricultural, environmental and horticulture sectors, you typically need a Master’s Degree in Agriculture or a closely related field. To become an agrologist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in Agriculture is needed. This also comes with the necessary experience that can be gained through voluntary work while studying. There are also subjects who one would have to major in, in order to be able to focus on the Agrologist career. These are typically, Biology, Botany, and Environmental Science.
In most countries, Agrologists must be certified and hold membership in a professional association. The requirements for certification and professional agrologist status vary among regions.
P.Ag. (Professional Agrologist) Designation
Achieving the designation of Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) demonstrates your level of commitment to the agri-food, agri-life science and the agrology industry, as professional Agrologists must abide by certain standards in the practice of their profession; In addition to demonstrating professional commitment, earning the designation P.Ag. helps you become more competitive in the job market as a new graduate, and grants you national employment mobility; this designation allows to access greater opportunities within the field of agrology, as well as develop important contacts. Please visit your national or provincial agrology association for information on how to achieve the P.Ag. designation.
For some people they might want to focus on a different career within the Agricultural field. Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Agrologist, as they typically involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
- Agricultural Consultant
- Soil Scientist
As with Agrology you need to obtain a degree in Agricultural or Bio-resource engineering to be able to follow a career path in Agriculture Engineering. Having a degree in other areas of engineering, such civil, mechanical or chemical engineering, can qualify you to work in certain types of agricultural engineering jobs. This is also one of the very well-paid careers in South Africa, as any other Engineering career.
Some employers will prefer to hire Agricultural Engineers who have a Masters’ Degree or higher in Agricultural Engineering. A Master's Degree is also typically needed if you want to become a highly specialized Agricultural Engineer. If you want to work as an agricultural engineer that teaches or conducts research, you will likely need a doctoral degree (Ph.D.).
Agricultural Engineer Job Description
Agricultural engineers integrate engineering principles and design with applied biological science to solve problems in agriculture, food and other resource industries. They analyse agricultural operations and weigh the use of new technologies and methods to increase yields, improve land use, and conserve resources like seed, water, fertilizers, pesticides and fuel. Depending on the job they are hired to do, agricultural engineers may have a variety of responsibilities ranging from designing improved drainage and irrigation systems, to studying the genetics of a species of plant.
Although the job duties of an Agricultural Engineer can vary significantly from one job to the next, they are generally responsible for the following:
- Recommending strategies to protect the health, safety and security of worker's, animals and agricultural products.
- Finding better ways to reduce crop loss from field damage, during handling, sorting, packing and processing.
- Designing and supervising the construction of crop storage structures and animal shelters
- Planning the heating, cooling, ventilation, post-harvest handling, and logistics of food and fibre warehousing.
- Designing and supervising the installation of farm product processing and evaluation instruments.
- Designing, constructing and using sensing, measuring and recording devices to study problems related to effects of temperature, humidity and light on plants and animals.
- Studying the relative effectiveness of applying insecticides.
- Planning and directing the construction of irrigation, power, drainage, and soil and water conservation systems.
Licensing for Becoming an Agricultural Engineer
You do not need licensing to become an entry-level engineer (also known as an Engineer-in-Training). In fact, engineers can only be licensed after having accumulated a few years’ worth of work experience.
Agricultural engineers who become licensed carry the designation of Professional Engineer (PE). To be licensed as a Professional Engineer, you generally need to meet the following requirements:
- A degree from an accredited engineering program
- A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
- Relevant work experience (typically 2-3 years)
- A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam
Skills needed to become an Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural engineers must have a wealth of knowledge and skills to function effectively in the Agricultural and Agribusiness industries.
Some agricultural engineers will specialize in certain areas, and will thus require a certain or a specific set of skills. In general however, agricultural engineers must have the following skills:
- An aptitude for mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics and the biological sciences
- Strong project management abilities.
- Knowledge of databases, Excel and 3D design software.
- Strong working knowledge of machine design and fabrication.
- Able to foresee how their system designs will interact with other components of the larger system.
- Conversant with design and selection of mechanical equipment like pressure vessels, heat exchangers, pumps, conveyors, tanks, piping etc.
- Have sound knowledge of applicable codes and standards.
- Able to work with technicians, scientists and other engineers toward a common goal.
- Able to solve multiple issues when designing facilities and processes, from workers’ safety to environmental protection.
- Able to anticipate problems in order to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers’ health, and mitigate environmental damage.
Agriculture Graduate Programmes by Location
Studying towards becoming an electrical engineer, takes time and patience. Hard-work and dedication is the order of each day. It takes +- 4 years to complete a degree in Electrical Engineering. In this profession, you will have the opportunity to work on and improve products that generate or are powered by electricity. For the automotive enthusiast, these include the wiring and electrical systems found in cars and airplanes
A career as an Electrical Engineer
If you choose to follow a career path in Electrical Engineering, you could be involved in the design and operation of industrial control systems, communications systems, electronic circuits, the generation and distribution of electrical power, or other electrical and electronic products and systems.
Besides the scope of what types of products and/or systems you could be working on, your career as an electrical engineer offers even more options. For example, you can choose the kind of industry you want to work in, the level of responsibility you’ll take on, and whether you’ll work in product development, maintenance, implementation, testing, improvement, or other areas.
Given the above mentioned options, your future career as an electrical engineer can take so many forms. It all depends on your interests, your preferences, and your career ambitions. When studying electrical engineering, you’re not just limited to a career as an electrical engineer. The skills, knowledge and competencies that you acquire by studying electrical engineering can be applied in careers both in the field, careers indirectly related to electrical engineering and even careers that aren’t related to electrical engineering at all. With the skills you gain in this field, you’ll be eligible to various different employers for various different reasons. The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying electrical engineering at university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.
What the career entails?
If you choose to pursue a career in the field of electrical engineering upon graduation, you could end up performing a wide variety of tasks, in many possible work settings. For example:
- Working in computer terminals designing electrical networks
- Working in manufacturing plants, designing and manufacturing products such as communications devices
- Working on civil engineering projects such as electrical power girds
- Working in a laboratory as a research and development specialist
- Working in a college or university as an Electrical Engineering Instructor
- Working in an office as a sales and marketing specialist for electrical and electronic devices
With any practical career, come practical experience and what makes most graduates more employable is the experience they gain while studying. Most graduate programmes offer you the opportunity to gain the necessary experience so that you can become more comfortable in the working environment. Therefore it is utterly important to try and gain experience whiles you studying. Volunteering is a very good way in which you can gain experience within your specified field of study.
Employable skills gained by Electrical Engineering graduates
Electrical engineering programs are designed to teach you skills that are necessary to succeed in a career as an electrical engineer. As an electrical engineering graduate, you should be armed with skills and knowledge in the following areas:
- Calculus for electronics
- Circuit analysis
- Communication networks
- Electrical power systems analysis and design
- Electromagnetics fundamentals
- Electronic manufacturing processes
- Electrical engineering materials
- Engineering statistics
- Feedback control
- Marketing and communication for engineers
- Microcontroller systems
- Physics for electronics
- Power systems components
- Sensors and signal conditioning
- Signal processing and filters
- Technical communication for electrical engineering
- Technical mathematics for electronics
- Wireless system design
In addition to skills in electrical engineering, you will also develop a set of skills that are applicable to careers outside of the field. These skills include, but are not limited to:
- Communications skills
- Teamwork skills
- Organizational and time management skills
- The ability to meet tight deadlines
- The ability to solve complex problems
- Attention to detail
These skills can help you move around in your specified field and can also be a great advantage against other candidates.
The salary for an Electrical Engineer is based on the following:
- Your level of education (bachelor’s, graduate etc.)
- Whether or not you end up working in electrical engineering
- If you achieve a professional designation
- The amount of work experience you’ve accumulated
- The size and type of your employer
- The industry in which you find work
- The region in which you find work