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Members of the IEEE

  1. Jan 8, 2005 #1
    How many of you are members of the institute of electrical and electronic engineers (IEEE)?

    other than the spectrum magazines which kept coming to my mailbox every month (many of them unread inside their plastic sheaths as I didn't have the time, eventually giving up all the issues to friends upon graduation and leaving the university), I really didn't make use of my student membership.

    So what do you think of the "largest professional organization in North America"? what do you like most about it? what is the least thing you like about? What do you think of spectrum and other IEEE publications and magazines? What about the services they provide?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2005 #2
    I've been a member for quite a few years, I find it quite worthwhile. However, I run a consulting company, and prior to that was an industrial research scientist. As such, my opinions are going to be mid way between the working engineer, and academia. This diveristy in the organization does cause conflict from time to time, as the needs of each group are often times 180 degrees opposed. Otoh, such diversity can be of benefit as well.

    Pros:
    IEEE or any other professional technical organization is a function of what you put into it. Meetings are probably my #1 reason for belonging. The connections you make are well worth it.

    Society meetings can be beneficial as well, subject of course to travel issues. Its a fast track way to evaluate technology. And no, its not the presentations, its usually the casual conversations that make a difference. Otherwise, one could just purchase the proceedings, and avoid the travel headaches, and loss of work time.

    The IEEE digital library has now become affordable... I use it all the time, well worth the $35/month fee. Many however won't due to the academic bias as noted in the con's section.

    Discounts
    are another pro.... I get my office supplies for a substantial discount through member benefits. With ink costs of $100/month, it more than pays for the membership fee.

    Education
    The computer society includes a bunch of free courses. The biggest issue is a big disconnect between real life, and academia. Still, they are a lot better than many of the pay for courses one finds on the net.

    Cons:
    Publications
    Spectrum as well as many of the publications end up being landfill fodder. I wish they would provide web access only, rather than wasting paper. Otoh, its a paradigm that has to change. IEEE makes a fortune on publishing... it subsidizes everything else. As such, I can understand the resistance to change. Still, when I was on the road 100 days a year, Spectrum and society pubs made for great airplane reading material. Now, they tend to create a lot of information overload... and as such, I've dropped out of a lot of the societies.

    Academic bias:
    Many of the society papers have such an academic slant to be of little value to the practicing engineer. Otoh, publishing real world engineering applications would slow things to a crawl, and then some. Its a lot easier to narrow a focus to a minute detail under perfect conditions and create neat and tidy models, than it would be to deal with real world effects where in the models complexity tides on insanity. In all fairness, some things can be gleaned from such an approach... still the average working engineer dismisses much of what is published because of the academic slant.... combined with the fact that the last differential equation they solved was at the university eons ago.

    Ron
     
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