IEEE-USA’s Free E-Book to Members Encourages Engineers to Embrace the Challenge of Dual Careers

By Sharon Richardson

In June, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS will offer Shaping an Engineering Career-Book 2: Dual Career Ladders, by authors Raymond E. Floyd and Richard H. Spencer. In this second e-book in the Shaping an Engineering Career series, authors Floyd and Spencer give a brief summary of their backgrounds; write about their experiences; offer lessons learned along the way; and provide insight to readers who may be considering a “dual ladder” career.

In the introduction, Floyd and Spencer note that at some point in their careers, engineers may discover what is known as the “dual ladder” in the corporate structure.  A “dual ladder” is having the choice of working on the technical side of a career, or the management side of a career.  The authors share that in some cases, the engineer can move from one to the other, depending on their corporation’s needs; however, the choice is not always that simple.

Raymond Floyd was born in Los Angeles, California, shortly after the Great Depression and just before World War II. His family moved to Louisiana when he was eight years old.  He shares that the news headlines at the time read, “Roosevelt Dead!”; “Victory in Europe!”; “Victory in Japan”–and the first nuclear device had been used to end the war.

Floyd became interested in chemistry and photography as a young man. His desire, at that time, was to become a chemical engineer. But working with his father, as an ironworker apprentice, he decided to take a different career path. Trained in missile guidance and auto track radar systems in the Air Force, Floyd started as a radar team leader for Vitro Weapons Services, supporting a variety of electronic tests at Eglin AFB. He decided electronics was another new opportunity, and decided to become an electrical engineer.

Several years, and many positions later, Floyd accepted a position working with the co-author of this e-book, Richard Spencer, at the Product Test Group in Boca Raton, Florida, as an Advisory Test–still on the technical side of the dual ladder system. Shortly after joining the group, Spencer asked Floyd to move across the ladder into management. It was in this position that Floyd learned to work with managers reporting to him; helping them to become better managers through his mentoring efforts, rather than direct involvement. In this role, Floyd writes, “a 40-hour week can easily expand to 70+ hours.”

Born in Southern California, in the midst of the Depression, Richard Spencer shares that his father was a Civil Engineer, who prompted him to seek a career in engineering.


After five years as a project coordinator and test engineer, Spencer made his first move across the dual ladder, becoming a Project Engineer with Product Test Laboratory–with engineers, technicians and human factor specialists reporting to him.

Floyd and Spencer note that private industry to the federal government offer many opportunities to work dual career ladders. But they caution that many organizations are careful about using the words “engineer” and “manager.” The rationale, they say, is that such a title may give the impression that someone has all the responsibilities of a manger–but they actually don’t.

From 1 June to 15 July, you can get your free e-book to download by going to Log in with your IEEE Web account, add the book to your cart, and use promo code JUNEFREE16 at checkout.


In July, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS will offer A Living Resume ” Volume 1: Documenting Your Accomplishments, by author Harry T. Roman.

The Living Resume series is an evolving story that documents your growth as a professional. The tone within is conversational; shaped by 36 years of business experience; designed to make you think carefully about what you have done in your career; and explore how you will set it all down in a logical manner. Someday, you may need a compendium of your career to help you keep your job–or perhaps, secure a new one.


Volume 1 of The Living Resume discusses how to document your career accomplishments.


IEEE-USA E-BOOKS seeks authors to write an e-book, or an e-book 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





Join IEEE:

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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