IEEE-USA InFocus

The Best of Todays Engineer: On Consulting–Volume 2

By Georgia C. Stelluto

With the current trends in downsizing, restructuring and early retirements, engineers in conventional employment are considering self-employment as consultants. Unfortunately, the skills required to become an independent consultant are not taught in engineering schools.

Many engineers are apprehensive about making the transition from a salaried position with predictable weekly or monthly earnings, to a situation where the perception is that income would be uncertain and irregular. According to 2011 AICN Chair William Kassebaum, P.E., almost all experienced consultants were once company employees. “They made the change, and most of them will say it was the wisest career and business decision they ever made,” he writes.

Kassebaum points out numerous benefits in becoming a consultant: “Some experienced consultants will tell you how they learned to control their own destinies and income, so they were no longer controlled by the politics and whims of management. They also found a consultant’s work to be very interesting–and technically challenging,” he offers.

The Best of Today’s Engineer:  On Consulting-Volume 2 addresses such topics as your reasons for becoming a consultant; how to become a better networker; and how to incorporate the new social media into your practice. Having these topics in a centralized location will be convenient for your reference, as you build and incorporate new ideas into your practice.

You should also consider joining and participating in an IEEE-USA Consultants Network. These networks have formed for the purpose of helping IEEE Sections provide more useful services for its consultant members. IEEE-USA’s Alliance of Independent Consultants Networks (AICN) is here to help unite U.S. networks and share information, so all networks can benefit from interesting practices that are happening across IEEE Regions and Sections.

Many consultants have found that one of the most effective ways of finding clients is through an IEEE Consultants Network. By networking with other consultants with the same interests and desires, you are constantly exposed to the needs of potential clients and other consultants.

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By downloading this free e-book and joining a network, you will have additional tools to help you along the way.

From 1-31 July, IEEE members may download: The Best of Today’s Engineer: On Consulting-Volume 2 for free, as a member service from IEEE-USA.

And for the remainder of June, IEEE members may download the June free E-Book offering from IEEE-USA:  The Best of Today’s Engineer:  On Career Transitions.

IEEE members can purchase the other three books in the Launching Your Career, four-book series, and other IEEE-USA E-Books, at deeply discounted prices, by going to IEEE-USA E-Books.  To purchase IEEE members-only products, and to receive the member discount on eligible products, members must log in with their IEEE Web Account.

Call for Authors

IEEE-USA E-Books seeks authors to write an individual e-book, or a series of e-books, on career guidance and development topics.

In particular, we are looking for authors for our new and ongoing series on Shaping an Engineering Career.   This series is about the personal journeys of engineers in their careers. Shaping Engineering Career e-books will include personal recollections by engineers and managers who can demonstrate through life experiences the satisfaction from being immersed in their careers.

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We want to know what you learned during your career that you wish to pass on to your colleagues. What were your experiences? Who provided guidance? Why did you take the route you did? What were the obstacles, if any?

We want the e-books in this special series to stir the imagination of younger engineers by showing how experienced engineers and managers built their careers, and the issues they confronted. While we have listed specific areas of engineering below, keep in mind there are many types of engineering. E-books should be between eight and ten thousand words:

  • Book 1:   Introduction to the Series (Gus Gaynor)
  • Book 2:   Technological Leadership
  • Book 3    Engineering Environment:  Management’s Expectations
  • Book 4:   Digital Technology: Hardware Engineering
  • Book 5:   Digital Technology: Software Engineering
  • Book 6:   Research
  • Book 7:   Product Development
  • Book 8:   Manufacturing Engineering
  • Book 9:   Equipment Design
  • Book 10: Systems Engineering
  • Book 11: Engineers as Innovators and Entrepreneurs
  • Book 12: Advancing to Management

If you have an idea for an e-book that will educate other IEEE members on a particular topic of expertise, email your e-book proposal to E-Book Chair Gus Gaynor and IEEE-USA Publishing Manager, Georgia C. Stelluto.


Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s publishing manager, editor-in-chief of IEEE-USA in ACTION, and manager/editor of IEEE-USA E-Books.

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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