IEEE-USA Leaders

IEEE-USA President’s Column: Professionals Need a Professional Home

By Tom Coughlin

This column is a summary of a talk that I gave to an HKN meeting at the 2019 ECEDHA Conference in Tucson, Ariz. I was trying to make a case for IEEE student members to consider that IEEE is more than just a student club – it can be their professional home.

Students in technical disciplines benefit from IEEE and IEEE-USA because we provide:

  • Targeted, career-relevant content covering critical non-technical skills needed for professional success and advancement
  • Peer-reviewed publications, topical conferences, webinars and other materials to keep technically current
  • Financial benefits, resources to assist a job search or career transition, including the ability to benchmark a salary offer
  • Problem-solving and work/career advice
  • Information on trends and issues affecting the profession and its future.
  • Insight into and a voice in Washington on the public policy issues and decisions that affect and concern S&T professionals
  • Opportunities for Young Professionals to become engaged – to learn by doing – to connect, and to make a personal difference.
  • Leadership opportunities, opportunities to “give back,” and recognition for your accomplishments

Professional Development

IEEE-USA provides professional development webinars focusing on many soft skills that technology professionals need to develop. IEEE-USA has more than 200 archived webinars with supporting slides and documents available on demand, and it will add more than 25 new professional development webinars in 2019. IEEE-USA also has more than 250 e-books in its online catalog on diverse topics, and typically only $2.95 each for members.

Compensation Benchmarking Tools

IEEE-USA conducts an annual salary and benefits survey of U.S. IEEE members. The resulting comprehensive survey is the most granular survey on ECE professionals on the market today. Survey participants earn free uses of the salary benchmarking tools in exchange for participating in the survey. IEEE-USA also publishes industry-specific salary reports, along with the full salary and benefits report. More information is available at:


This summer, IEEE-USA is hosting EVO19, a conference geared towards active and emerging leaders, 2-3 August 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA. Attendees will learn from accomplished leaders from companies like HP, Adobe, HP, ANSYS, Temi USA and more. Registration is now open, and you can save $100 on your conference fees if you register before 15 June.

Check out the full listing of conferences and events that IEEE-USA is co-sponsoring or participating in.



IEEE-USA advocates on policy issues that affect you and your career. You can find out more about our advocacy positions and activities at: More than 250 IEEE members serve on IEEE-USA’s public policy committees. IEEE-USA also recruits junior/senior and graduate students to spend a summer in Washington, D.C., as WISE (Washington Internships for Students of Engineering) interns, where they  learn about how technology professionals can participate in the public policy process and meet policy-makers and their staff. You can find out about this program at:


IEEE-USA supports other activities for students and professionals. There are several communication channels that IEEE-USA uses to communicate to members:

  • IEEE-USA InSight (online publication)
  • IEEE-USA InSight Email Update (eNewsletter)
  • IEEE-USA Leadership Connection (eNewsletter)
  • IEEE-USA Conference Brief (eNewsletter)
  • Monthly IEEE-USA InSight Podcast
  • Public Outreach (AwesomeCon, MakerFaires, SxSW, CES, etc.)
  • Media Relations
  • Social Media (currently LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube)


Being an IEEE volunteer can teach you important leadership skills and help boost attention to your resume. You can also interact with and meet folks who could be your mentor, or help you find your next job through being an IEEE volunteer. Your local Section and Region have many volunteering opportunities, as does IEEE-USA. Here are some IEEE-USA volunteer opportunities:

  • Communications
  • Public Awareness/K-12 STEM Education
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Employment and Career Services
  • EVO Conference planning
  • Advocacy (Congressional Visits Day)
  • Public Policy (Artificial Intelligence, Energy, R&D, Space, Transportation, Entrepreneurship, Communications, etc.)

Find out more about IEEE-USA volunteering at:

Being an IEEE member provides opportunities to form connections that can help you throughout your career, keep yourself current in your industry, and look for new career opportunities, and develop your leadership and soft skills. Professionals like you need a professional home.

Tom Coughlin
IEEE-USA President, 2019


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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