Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Young Professionals Development Programme 2017 for South Africans

Application Deadline: May 6th 2016

  • Opportunity for science and engineering graduates to work for the South African SKA Project

To give academically excellent science and engineering graduates and postgraduates the opportunity to work for the the South African SKA Project (SKA SA), the project established the Young Professionals Development Programme (YPDP), in 2014.

Young Professionals (YPs) employed by the SKA SA to date are involved in exciting research work, including:

  • Conducting early science observations with MeerKAT and SKA
  • Operating KAT-7 and MeerKAT
  • Trouble-shooting astronomy systems
  • Processing large volumes of data and developing data analysis tools
  • Assisting with physical configuration audits, creating equipment structures and analysing reliability and failure of systems
  • Port signal processing algorithms to accelerators such as GPUs
  • Using LLVM and Python for high performance computing and language virtualisation
  • Developing efficient GPU processing using Python
  • Developing power efficient computing using alternate compute architectures such as ARM and Power
  • Designing high sensitivity cryogenically cooled radio receivers
  • Developing solutions for high-speed digitization of radio frequency signals, reconfigurable computing, supercomputing and machine learning, data transport and storage, calibration and imaging of radio sources, systems control and monitoring and digital signal processing for radio astronomy

YPs with a Bachelors Degree, or a National Diploma, will be expected to complete an Honours or B.Tech degree, respectively, during the first year of joining the YPD programme. Only once this degree is completed will the candidate qualify for full-time employment within the project.


Eligibility criteria

Only South African citizens will be considered for the YPDP programme having one of the following academic qualifications:

  • In final year of a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Electronic Engineering
  • In final year of a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Light Current Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering and/or Radio Frequency Engineering
  • In final year of a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Mechanical / Electromechanical
  • In final semester of National Diploma in Electronic Engineering (other fields not considered)
  • Completing a Bachelor of Technology in Electronic Engineering (other fields not considered)
  • In final year of a Bachelor of Science with Mathematics and Physics as majors, or with Mathematics and Computer Science as majors
  • Completing a Bachelor of Science Honours in Astronomy / Astrophysics, or in Computer Science
  • In second and final year of a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering or Observational Radio Astronomy

Selection Process:

Open day

The best students will be invited to participate in an open day at the SKA SA’s engineering and science office in Cape Town to be held on 11 – 12 July 2016.

Project work

The most important part of the open day is the project work. The students are expected to work on a “mini” project, which they would have selected prior to their arrival at the project office.


Following the open day, the technical managers select the students they wish to interview. Following the interviews, suitable candidates are made offers of employment with the SKA SA.

How to Apply:

  • The YPDP is currently open for applications from suitably qualified candidates from South Africa.
  • To apply, please send an email with your name, certified identity document, CV and full academic transcript to [email protected] before 6 May 2016.
  • For further queries, you may contact us at [email protected], or call Ms Jacqueline Rodgers at 021 506 7300

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the South African SKA Project (SKA SA) Young Professionals Development Programme



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