Three Ways IEEE Has Helped Me Find Success as an Engineer

Several of the organization’s resources have helped me navigate my career

3 min read
A hand placing blocks in the shape of stairs with a person shaped block climbing it.
Photo: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTESince I joined IEEE as a student member in the 1980s, I have truly benefited from the organization’s educational and career resources. I cannot measure how grateful I am to the organization—from helping me write my senior thesis to guiding me through continuing education and presenting me with opportunities to break into writing. It’s been especially beneficial in the following ways.

TIMELY TECHNICAL INFORMATION

When I was working on my thesis, “Analysis of Linear and Circular Antenna Arrays and Design of Reflector Antennas,” the organization provided me with access to an enormous amount of information and resources including case studies, articles, white papers, and books written by experts in the field.

Such pioneers included the late Robert S. Elliott, an IEEE Fellow, and Senior Member James E. Richie, who significantly influenced my research in array antennas. Their works have inspired many generations of electromagnetic and antenna engineers. Many of the works I cited were published by the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society.

During my 28-year professional journey from engineering to management and consulting, IEEE has played an important role in my professional success. To do my job well, knowledge of and access to IEEE standards was crucial. With the help of IEEE, I was able to publish my studies and take part in many successful IEEE projects.

LIFELONG LEARNING

After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1989, I knew I had to continue my studies to keep up with the rapid rate of technological innovation.

To that end, I took courses at several engineering schools between 1995 and 2013 to continue learning about emerging trends in electrical engineering, particularly in the areas of power generation and energy distribution systems. During my long journey of education, I always relied on IEEE publications and online resources, including the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, IEEE.tv, and various society websites.

BECOMING A WRITER

One morning in 2014, my relationship with IEEE reached another turning point. I read an article published by The Institute that encouraged members to join its blogging community. I realized that I had benefited from my membership for years and felt it was time to give back.

Something inside me told me I should start writing and share some of my experiences and knowledge with other members, especially young engineers and students. In a few weeks, after conversations with Monica Rozenfeld, associate editor of The Institute, I composed my first blog entry in March 2014 about the importance of having empathy as an engineer. Since then, with great help from the editors of The Institute, I was able to continue to contribute articles and share my thoughts with readers. These have included my perspective, as a father with two daughters, on why girls should try engineering, as well as my experiences working on an amusement park attraction with special-effects mastermind Douglas Trumbull.

Soon I was introduced to the IEEE Public Visibility committee, which seeks to boost awareness of the organization and create a global voice for the engineering profession. On behalf of that group, I started writing for the EE Times, an online magazine that has covered the electronics industry since 1972. I contributed my first article in May: “Engineering Ed Stuck in the Past.”

I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to get involved in many IEEE communities and professional activities. Writing has been incredibly helpful to my personal and professional life. I hope my fellow members—especially the younger ones—have gained some lessons from my humbling experiences with the organization.

IEEE Senior Member Qusi Alqarqaz is an electrical engineer with more than 28 years of experience in the power industry. He writes about engineering education and technology, works as a consultant, and mentors students. He contributes to The Institute as well as The Analog, a newsletter for the IEEE Central Texas Section, and IEEE Transmitter. He previously worked in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The Conversation (0)

Get unlimited IEEE Spectrum access

Become an IEEE member and get exclusive access to more stories and resources, including our vast article archive and full PDF downloads
Get access to unlimited IEEE Spectrum content
Network with other technology professionals
Establish a professional profile
Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
Discover IEEE events and activities
Join and participate in discussions

Can This DIY Rocket Program Send an Astronaut to Space?

Copenhagen Suborbitals is crowdfunding its crewed rocket

15 min read
Vertical
Five people stand in front of two tall rockets. Some of the people are wearing space suits and holding helmets, others are holding welding equipment.

Copenhagen Suborbitals volunteers are building a crewed rocket on nights and weekends. The team includes [from left] Mads Stenfatt, Martin Hedegaard Petersen, Jørgen Skyt, Carsten Olsen, and Anna Olsen.

Mads Stenfatt
Red

It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen: our homemade rocket floating down from the sky, slowed by a white-and-orange parachute that I had worked on during many nights at the dining room table. The 6.7-meter-tall Nexø II rocket was powered by a bipropellant engine designed and constructed by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. The engine mixed ethanol and liquid oxygen together to produce a thrust of 5 kilonewtons, and the rocket soared to a height of 6,500 meters. Even more important, it came back down in one piece.

That successful mission in August 2018 was a huge step toward our goal of sending an amateur astronaut to the edge of space aboard one of our DIY rockets. We're now building the Spica rocket to fulfill that mission, and we hope to launch a crewed rocket about 10 years from now.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is the world's only crowdsourced crewed spaceflight program, funded to the tune of almost US $100,000 per year by hundreds of generous donors around the world. Our project is staffed by a motley crew of volunteers who have a wide variety of day jobs. We have plenty of engineers, as well as people like me, a pricing manager with a skydiving hobby. I'm also one of three candidates for the astronaut position.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less