Albert Michael Jacobs passed the matriculation examination of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1903. Continuing his studies at the South African College, Cape Town, the University awarded him the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with honours in chemistry in 1906, and the Master of Arts (MA) degree in chemistry the next year. During 1907 he was also employed as an assistant in the College's Department of Chemistry, under Professor P.D. Hahn*. Subsequently he continued his studies in Germany at the Konigliche Technische Hochschule (Royal Technical College) in Charlottenburg (now part of Berlin) where he qualified as an electrical engineer in 1911. He became a member of both the American and South African Institutes of Electrical Engineers and served as president of the latter in 1931.
Jacobs remained in Germany after completing his studies, working for companies that sent him to Chile, Java and Hong Kong. He returned to South Africa in 1923 to visit his parents and was persuaded by H.J. van der Bijl to accept an appointment with the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM). He rose to chief engineer in 1932, a post he held until 1948. He was appointed a member of the commission in 1926, and in February 1949 succeeded Van der Bijl as its chairman, a position he held until his retirement in 1951.
During his years as engineer at ESCOM Jacobs contributed a number of papers to the Transactions of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers, including the following: "Power rectifiers" (1924), "The Sabie River hydro-electric power station" (1927), "The power station of the steel corporation ('Iscor') at Pretoria" (1936), "Notes on the determination of rms values of load curves" (1938), and "The development of electric power supply in the Union of South Africa" (1941). He also published an account of "The Electricity Supply Commission" in the South African Journal of Science (1932) and an earlier paper on "Mutual inductance of two straight cylindrical conductors which lie in parallel planes but which are not themselves parallel" (Journal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1920).