August Free eBook: Advancing to Management – It Starts at the End

By Sharon Richardson

In August, IEEE-USA eBooks will offer free to IEEE members: Shaping an Engineering Career” Book 3/Volume1: Advancing to Management, by Siri Varadan.

Advancing to Management is an excellent guide for graduating and mid-career engineers. An IEEE senior member and vice president of Utility Integration Solutions, Inc., Varadan uses anecdotes from his own career to provide readers with perspectives on career advancements that have been influenced by various other disciplines. He provides examples of the tools and skill sets needed to navigate through one’s career path.

Varadan has learned to “envision the end result, and then work backward, step-by-step, to the present.” In the first chapter, Start at the End, Varadan stresses that you must have well defined long-term and short-term goals–and those goals must be written down. “Your present state does not matter, all you need to know is where you want to go in the future”¦ true success is achieved when one’s passion, or purpose in life, is fully realized,” he says.

He also asks: “If you don’t know where you are, how would you know how far you are from your goal? How would you know how much effort to put in to get you there?”

Using as an example a goal for an engineer to transition to a top management spot (for example, CEO or President within a corporate organization), Varadan charts out an organizational ladder, showing how many years, education and experience one typically needs to reach each level.

He shares with readers the difficulties he had obtaining his first job, not having any real experience. “As a student, I progressed from one program to the next, but for all practical purposes, I had no real industry experience.” Varadan also writes that being an international student did not help him. Potential employers would shy away from him, he says, because of the complicated process they had to go through to hire him.


Networking is a must, says Varadan.  He started with his graduate school advisors, and worked his way through his friends-who “may know somebody that knows somebody.”  In the process, Varadan learned how to write a cover letter, and how to adjust his resume to get the job he was seeking. “The efforts that went into my first job search made working on my doctoral dissertation seem like a breeze.”

Varadan ends the eBook with these words of encouragement: “The right attitude is one where you are passionate and excited about your job–one that makes you want to get out of bed, and pursue your passion; one that makes you want to say: “Thank God, it is Monday (TGIM)’; one that reconfirms the saying: “If you love your work, you will never work a single day.'”

The chapters in Shaping an Engineering Career ” Book 3: Advancing to Management include: Charting the Course; Networking; Mentorship; Attitude; and Going Forward.


In September, IEEE-USA eBooks will offer A Living Resume ” Volume 2: Documenting Your Writings, Awards and Honors, by author Harry T. Roman.

Roman’s continued story of documenting your growth as a professional, stresses the importance of sharing your accomplishments. He writes that “Accomplishments form the icing on the cake of your career; and should be carefully itemized and detailed.”


IEEE-USA eBooks seeks authors to write an eBook, or an eBook series, on career guidance and development topics. If you have an idea you think will benefit members in a particular area of expertise, please email your proposal to IEEE-USA Publishing Manager Georgia C. Stelluto at



Sharon Richardson is IEEE-USA’s Coordinator, Publishing & Communications.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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