Thursday, 14 April 2016

Young Professionals Development Programme at SKA Project 2016

The South Africa SKA Project is offering the opportunity for bright, young and enthusiastic science as well as engineering graduates to join its development programme. The Young Professionals Development Programme (YPDP) is currently open for applications from suitably qualified candidates.

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.


Only South African citizens” are eligible with one of the following academic qualifications:
  • In final year of a Bachelor of Engineering 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 Mechanical / Electromechanical Engineering
  • In final semester of National Diploma in Electronic Engineering
  • Completing a Bachelor of Technology in Electronic Engineering
  • 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
Young Professionals 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.
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
Selection process
  1. Following a call for applications, the academic results of all respondents are reviewed.
  2. 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. The annual open day is held over two successive days, and the aim is to excite the potential graduates about the work being done at the project, and to allow the technical managers to assess the students’ abilities. The activities of the open day include short talks by the team and visits to the various laboratories.
  3. 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. The project is designed in such a way that the managers can assess the relevant technical skills and knowledge of the students, as well as their interpersonal skills. This project forms part of the interview process of the YPDP programme.
  4. Interviews: 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.
The closing date is 6 May 2016.  No late applications will be accepted. 

To apply please send an email with your name, CV, copy of ID and full academic transcript to

For further queries, you may contact us at, or call Ms Jacqueline Rodgers at 021 506 7300.

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