SKA Young Professionals Development Programme

The SKA SA recruits bright, young and enthusiastic graduates through its Young Professionals Development Programme.

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.

YPs with the relevant postgraduate qualification are recruited for a period of up to three years, and are required to pursue a part-time Masters or Doctoral degree during their placement within the programme.

In addition to work-based experience, the YPs are mentored to develop the necessary skills required by young professionals in any workplace environment.

Applications for the 2018 academic year

Only South African citizens are eligible with one of the following academic qualifications:

  • In final year of a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic and/or Computer 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 Mechanical / Electromechanical / Mechatronics Engineering
  • In final year of Bachelor’s Degree in Built Environment (Architecture, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Project Management)
  • 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, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or in Physics
  • In second and final year of a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering or Observational Radio Astronomy

Submit the following documents as a SINGLE PDF file to apply:

  • Updated Curriculum Vitae;
  • Certified South African ID document;
  • Certified university transcripts;
  • Certified copy of degree(s);

One reference letter from a university lecturer or thesis/project supervisor motivating why you should be selected for the YPD programme Email to

Deadline for applications: 30 April 2017

Only successful applicants will be contacted after closing of application deadline.

Incomplete applications will be automatically disqualified. Late applications will not be considered.


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