Professions of a Silicon Valley Double-E
Thursday, October 26, 2006
  IEEE-USA Employment & Career Webinars
Just announced on the ECS community page, Spreading the word.

The IEEE-USA Employment and Career Services Committee has launched a Webinar series that will assist you in finding your next job, maintaining your career, negotiating an appropriate salary, and understanding ethical considerations in the workplace. In the first part of the series you will find out how to get ready for your next interview, find a job that fits your skills and interest and learn about ethical considerations in the workplace.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
  Volunteering with the IEEE, What you need to know

A friend of mine recently asked for volunteers for the SCV GOLD group. Rather than attempt to carry on individual conversations with each one for the entire information, I am putting the intial information dump on what they need to know here, then followup with each one to
see what volunteering role best fits them.

About IEEE-GOLD the "Graduates of the Last Decade" is a group of all IEEE members in the first decade of their Career (typically measured from the date of granting of the BSEE or equivalent). The overlap with PACE is primarily in the "Career" arena, and a little with the other concerns common to all members. I.e how to take the best advantage of benefit packages provided by employers, should I continue my education part time (and how)?, should I go into management? how can I afford to buy a house in the Bay area.

IEEE started GOLD groups on the theory that new Engineering Grads were not finding enough value in existing IEEE local activities to actually go, and that a GOLD focused group could do a better job of hosting such activities. The benefit to the IEEE is that more attendees to these meetings will discover other IEEE activities they want to attend, and they will, remain members, and go on to volunteer with the other groups as they graduate from GOLD.

How the IEEE works

The IEEE is a volunteer organization. Everything that happens at the IEEE starts as a volunteer activity. Some of the activities (particularly publishing and conferences) have over the years generated enough surpluses to allow hiring of full-time support staff. Some of that surplus is regularly made available to support, but not fully fund, other activities, for instance, creation of new local groups. Even when supported by full-time staff, the direction comes from IEEE volunteers.

Why to be a volunteer

The reasons vary from person to person. I want to keep up to date technically, I want to learn a new skill, I want to learn how to lead, I want to meet other people in my field so that I have a network to help me next time I need to look for work, find consulting, find customers, find co-workers, find employee’s or consultants. I want to give something back (we do after all “stand on shoulders of giants”). I want friends with whom I can discuss technological topics. I want to make Engineering my Profession AND my Career.

Whatever your initial motivation, most who try it discover additional value, and keep at it.

What to do as volunteer?

  1. Every IEEE group needs a couple of “make it happen” people. These people are committed to the growth of the entity, and make sure that the planning meetings and actual events happen. Somehow. Without this kind of person, the group can function for a while, but will eventually die out. If you are not yet one of these, but want to become one, start in the next group.
  2. Every IEEE group needs several “I can do that” people. These people take on specific short term tasks as needed. Often times the Organizational Officers come from this group. They don’t take on All tasks, but the ones they are capable of, and can do without great impact to themselves. The main requirement is to SHOW UP at meetings, be on the e-mail list, to be around when some one asks “who can take care of …” A core group of 4 “can do” and 1 “make it happen” person can keep a group going for many years, but it’s more fun with more volunteers.
  3. Volunteers who are seeking to expand their skills will often have a particular kind of task in mind. We’ll call them the “I’d like to do this” people. One wanting to learn Web Authoring might want to take on the job of Webmaster. One wanting to keep up with the industry, and meet the movers and shakers (the “make it happen” people) might want to take on the job of finding speakers for future events. Those folks often need a specific list of opportunities.
  4. The final kind of Volunteer, is the one who wants to do something, but not too much, to be sure their involvement is limited because of other commitments, perhaps to job or family. The “I can only do this” people also want to review the opportunity list.

Volunteer Opportunities list: Elected (typically 1 year terms, a full rotation thru the list is a typical goal)

Appointed (not exhaustive):

In Summary, you can do as little or as much as you want. To get started, tell me what you initially hope to get as a volunteer, which category your are in now, and, if you know, what sounds like something you'd like to do.

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Friday, October 13, 2006
  You can get the Career Survival book free

Since one comment questioned the cost of the career e-handbook I mentioned earlier,
I thought I'd add this note from the mailing I got today from the IEEE-USA

Free IEEE-USA e-Book for Membership Renewal

IEEE members who renew their memberships before 31 December 2006 will receive a
complimentary IEEE-USA e-Book. Titles include "Career Planning Guide for IEEE
Members," "The Best of IEEE-USA Today's Engineer: On Career Survival," and
"Strategic Thinking: A High-Tech Strategy Guidebook," among others. See for a
complete list of titles. Offer applies only to higher-grade members (not
students, afilliates or associates) and the member must have an e-mail address
available for IEEE mailings listed on the member record. A coupon code and
redemption instructions will be e-mailed to all eligible members early in
They Also mentioned that ...
A Georgetown University study found problems with the high-skill visa
provisions within the Senates major immigration reform bill (S.2611). The
study looked at three of the larger high-skill visa programs: H-1B, EB and F
visas. The report, funded by IEEE-USA, concluded that S.2611, as passed, would
expand the permanent immigration system beyond reasonable estimates of future
demand for non-American workers. The U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor
Statistics estimates the number of new computer and engineering workers needed
by the nations economy over the next 10 years at 1.25 million. As passed,
S.2611 would make as many as 1.88 million high-tech visas available over that
same time period exceeding total demand by some 630,000 visas.

More information can be found at:

The current
version of Today's Engineer Online can always be found at:


Tuesday, October 10, 2006
  Registration PE review courses available from IEEE-USA
For those of you considering registration as a career option, the IEEE-USA has PE review courses available in CDROM format. They can be purchased at .

Periodically one of the local sections holds a local PE review course. If you are interested in a local course, please leave a comment on the comment page and specify which technical area you'd like to prepare for.

For more information about licensure, and Exams see the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying ( page on licensure for engineers . Which also sells study materials.

Exams are given in April and October.

For details of Californial registration see the California Board for Professional
Engineers and Land Surveyors

Why should you get registered? - in certain areas of design where public safety is potentially at risk, registration is usually required for the Engineer responsible for the project. This is not normally required for employees of Electronics firms or even the consultants they use from time to time. However in California, it is not legal to use the word Engineer in the job title of non-registered employees.. which is why so many companies use the term "Member of Technical Staff" or other term in job titles instead of "engineer".

Steps: First you need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (called the Engineer in training or EIT when I was in college).
Next you need 6 years of documented Experience.. for EE's its important to not that the references you use to document this experience do not themselves need to be Regisitered..
Also your BSEE from an ABET accredited program counts for 4 years..
Then you need to take and pass the Priniciples and Practice exam. In California you also need to take a California specific law exam, but thats a take home exam that basically ensures that you read thru the law and find the answers to things you should know.

If you are getting ready to go this route.. good luck!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speakers: Ed Perkins, Dr. Trudy Hu

Location: Coco’s Sunnyvale

Date: Friday Nov 3, 2006

Time: 6:30 dinner 7:00 presentation

PACE exec-comm meeting 5:30pm

1206 Oakmead Parkway
Sunnyvale, California 94086
United States

Cost: Dinner $10 minimum per person


Or email

Every mega trend requires new frontiers new visions, new tools, and new problem solving skills. The latest trend on the economic battlefield is globalization of commerce, science and technology development. Change is the only unchangeable force in nature. Engineers’ and scientists’ career markets have gone through the following paradigms:

I. 1950s-1960s: Secure engineers in corporate world
II. 1970s-1980s: Restless and trend-knowledgeable engineers
III. 1990s-2000: Project-based engineers
IV. Future Trend: Globalization, Globally competitive engineers

Engineers, technologists and scientists have created incredible inventions using their scientific minds, logical and differential cognitive powers. Our scientific and engineering training equips engineers with the best tools for future career markets. However, it is time for us to upgrade our tool sets and sharpen our scientific minds to integrate diverse perspectives. The new globalization paradigm requires adopting new tool sets (communication skills and perceptions) to turn negative energy into positive breakthroughs. They include cognitive, emotional and behavioral upgrades and psychological makeover.

With the career paradigm shift, engineers and scientists have encountered severe conditions, such as high unemployment rate, multiple layoffs, outsourcing, declining benefits, burnout, declining health, age discrimination, and many more. Many fell through a silent crack due to shame, pride, or negative coping strategies. Engineers, technologists and scientists need to have a support system, a clear self-analysis, and understand their strengths and areas for future growth.

The ultimate goal of the Career Makeover is to empower engineers, technologists and scientists and their profession. It motivates engineers and scientists to work with management and human resources to innovate their own career and lifestyle in the 21st Century with empowered vision, confidence, and global leadership in technology and scientific frontiers.

Objectives and Outcomes

The goal of this seminar is to teach you how to help yourself manage/run your career in this era of globalization and selective hiring.

You will learn about:


Communicate what employers are expecting, what things are needed to succeed
Understand market requirements, how you relate to market, your business model (EXERCISE)

Communicate attitudes and approaches needed to respond to new workplace
Understand personal factors impacting adapting to new workplace
What are your “critical variables”?)

Paradigm shift: the past, current, and the future trends
Highlight and compare the traits of the old and new paradigms
Assess your working styles, personality, career goals (self assessment)
Integrate different paradigms and empower yourself and your profession


Edward Perkins

Ed has 30 years experience in the electronics industry, including hardware design automation, program and project management, mixed-signal test development automation, design services management, chip architecture development, software development, and real time embedded systems programming. He was a program manager in the Virtual Test Division of IMS in Beaverton, OR, where he was responsible for leading their mixed-signal R&D development efforts. Ed also spent 10 years at Digital Equipment Corporation in the central engineering CAD department where he was responsible for development and deployment of CAE services and support to engineering groups worldwide. He has been an IEEE volunteer for 25+ years. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and is Past Chair of the Oregon Section, Region 6 Membership co-chair, and a member of the IEEE-USA Career and Workforce Policy Committee. He has a BSEE and MSCS from WPI (Worcester, MA) and most recently an MS ECE specializing in VLSI design and test from Portland State University (Portland, OR).

Dr. Trudy Hu

Dr. Hu is a Licensed Psychologist and National Health Provider based in Beaverton, Oregon. She is an advocate for engineers and scientists. Engineers and scientists are industry and society builders and they deserve our highest respect. Dr. Hu has more than 12-year post-doctoral clinical experiences and more than 20-year experience in business and human resources. She has been the Editor-in-Chief for hi-tech organizations and column writer for journals and newspapers. Serving people is her passion. She loves to work with you and your organization to bring out the best in you. Her workshop features integration of multi-disciplines and multi-cultures. She provides valuable free information through her website,

Please contact to be added the SCV-PACE list.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006
  Tonight's event on IEEE-USA activity on US Technology Policy


Speaker: Dr. Russell Lefevre, IEEE-USA VP Tech. Policy

Location: Coco’s Sunnyvale

Date: Tues Oct 3, 2006

Time: 6:30 dinner 7:00 presentation

1206 Oakmead Parkway
Sunnyvale, California 94086
United States

Cost: Dinner $10 minimum per person


Or email

Based on a survey of members in December 2005, the IEEE-USA formulated the following priorities for 2006, focusing the activities of the IEEE-USA board-members, staff and volunteers.

In addition to covering the status of these activities, Dr. Russell Lefevre, IEEE-USA Vice President – Technology Policy will address the issue of National policy in the face of globalization raised in the National Academy of Engineering report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, and how the IEEE-USA is directing its efforts in this area. He will also share his experience in dealing with the staff of many Senators and Representatives.

He will conclude with a brief discussion of IEEE-USA Technology Policy activities. These are used to help define our legislative agenda and have had many successes.

Russell J. Lefevre is a Life Fellow of the IEEE. He received the B.S. and M.S. in Physics from the University of North Dakota. He received the Ph.D.EE from UC Santa Barbara. He has over 30 years experience as a radar engineer. His activities include identifying advanced technologies, performing R&D, developing business strategies, and organizing proposal activities. He was responsible for over 80 Small Business Innovations Research awards. During 2001, Dr. Lefevre was an IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow serving as Science Advisor to Senator Jay Rockefeller. He was the Senate Staff person responsible for the activity leading to the NSF Math and Science Partnership program to improve K-12 education. Dr. Lefevre was personally responsible for inclusion of the Noyce Scholarships that provide scholarships for college students who major in a technical field and commit to teaching in a K-12 school. He continues these policy and Congressional liaison activities for IEEE-USA.

Ruminations about the Electrical Engineering profession as practiced in Silicon Valley by an IEEE Senior Member. Disclaimer: All Posts here are official IEEE business in that they are messages about IEEE activities from an IEEE volunteer. These messages do not constitute official records of R6-PACE activities, nor official IEEE or IEEE-USA policy statements. Website:

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Location: San Jose, California, United States

When he is not working on IEEE stuff, Jonathan does Mixed Signal Design Verification at Qualcomm. Senior Member IEEE. Founder IEEE-SCV-SSC (the first Solid State Circuits chapter). Past Section Chair, Santa Clara Valley Section - the Largest Section. Co-founder IEEE-SCV-CAS. IEEE-SSCS Membership chair 2001-2003. IEEE SSCS chapters Committee member. IEEE-SCV-PACE committee member 2001- IEEE-SCV-PACE Chair 2006-2007. IEEE R6 PACE coordinator.


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