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Thursday, December 21, 2023

My IEEE Journey so far and way ahead - Anwar Jamal

In the dynamic realm of Software Engineering and Management, my professional journey has been marked by a passion for exploration, a love for meeting diverse minds, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. As a dedicated traveler, I find joy in unraveling new cultures and connecting with people across the globe. Amidst this exciting journey, my focus on testing, quality, and cybersecurity has been complemented by my role as the founder of W3LC, a thriving forum for learners and tech enthusiasts.

For the past decade, my affiliation with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has been an integral part of my growth story. From a humble start as a Student Member, I progressed through the ranks, earning the titles of Young Professional and, presently, a Senior Member. The IEEE community has not only been a source of cutting-edge research but a nurturing ground for personal and professional development. My involvement with IEEE has been multifaceted – from a diligent paper reviewer to a recognized presenter at multiple conferences. The honor of being an Ambassador for the IEEE Collabratec Platform and mentoring at an IEEE Hackathon added layers to my rich experience. Through IEEE, I have received opportunities for paper presentations and garnered well-deserved recognition, contributing to my journey's success.

As a Technical Program Manager at Expedia Group, IEEE has been my compass for cutting-edge research, invaluable networking, and industry insights. Engaging with conferences, publications, and Collabratec, I gain a competitive edge, ensuring my role evolves with the latest technological advancements. IEEE is my trusted ally in navigating the tech landscape. Navigating the vast landscape of IEEE, I have found invaluable resources through the Explore publication and Computer Society emails. These communications, covering themes like Technology Innovation, Job Alerts, and Standards Association updates, have been instrumental in keeping me abreast of the latest trends and insights in the tech industry. While I receive a plethora of emails, I selectively engage with those that align with my interests, skipping over some that may not directly contribute to my professional growth.

If you ask me what IEEE does well I would assertively say that IEEE excels in delivering comprehensive technical publications through platforms like IEEE Xplore, providing access to extensive research. The organization facilitates robust networking opportunities through global events, such as the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, fostering collaboration. IEEE's contributions to industry standards, notably the widely recognized IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standards, showcase its commitment to technological consistency. Educational resources, including the IEEE eLearning Library, support continuous professional development. Additionally, platforms like IEEE Collabratec contribute to building a strong professional community.

And if you ask me where IEEE can improve then I have some suggestions. Cost accessibility remains a challenge for some, with membership fees and event costs acting as barriers for some individuals. Continuous members of 3+ years should get additional discounts. Volunteering people should get additional discounts. Improving user interfaces, especially on platforms like IEEE Xplore, could enhance accessibility. Engaging younger members more effectively through interactive content, targeted outreach, and mentorship programs is an opportunity for growth. Clearer communication channels and information dissemination about events, updates, and membership benefits would enhance the member experience. Another help we can do is to have a limited earning potential as well eg presence of any paid activities. Ensuring global outreach by tailoring initiatives to diverse demographics is crucial for a truly inclusive IEEE. Addressing these aspects would contribute to a more dynamic and accessible experience for members.

My connection with IEEE extends beyond emails and publications. Regular visits to and active participation on IEEE Collabratec have been essential for accessing the latest research, publications, and engaging with the community. Attending the BVICAM Research Conference facilitated networking and exposure to cutting-edge research. Participating as a Hackathon Mentor through IEEE opened avenues for hands-on collaboration and skill-sharing. As a member for over ten years, I've witnessed the wealth of opportunities and knowledge that IEEE provides, albeit with a keen eye on refining its approach for the benefit of younger members. Reflecting on my evolving needs from IEEE, the organization has been a reliable companion throughout my career. While excelling in delivering technical publications and fostering networking opportunities, there's room for improvement.

To enhance the experience for younger members, I propose a strategic shift in content delivery. Utilizing more interactive and visual formats, diversifying topics, and personalizing communication can be key in capturing the attention of the tech-savvy younger generation. Emphasizing interactive platforms and optimizing social media presence, particularly on LinkedIn, would ensure that IEEE remains a relevant and engaging force in the rapidly evolving tech landscape. Accessing technical content primarily through IEEE Xplore, I acknowledge its importance in my professional life. However, I suggest exploring avenues such as podcasts to broaden accessibility and appeal to different learning preferences. Simplifying access to resources and incorporating smart suggestions in the input box can further elevate the user experience, aligning with modern navigation trends.

On average I get 1-2 emails daily from IEEE that help me explore content and learning materials from Explore publication, Computer Society delving deeper into specific themes. Featured article alerts cover Technology Innovation, Job Alerts, Standards Association updates, and Spotlights. Technology updates provide a quick overview of IEEE trends when time is limited. The Membership Benefits emails are particularly helpful, enhancing my overall experience with timely insights and updates. From Standards Association I can an email digest. Sometimes I get email from IESE Explore publications and sometimes calls for participation. I find these helpful. I regularly visit for the latest research, publications, and tech trends. I engage with IEEE.TV for informative videos on technological advancements. On IEEE Collabratec, I actively participate in conversations, finding it a valuable platform for networking, collaboration, and staying updated within the IEEE community. I follow IEEE and Computer Society both on LinkedIn. On YouTube I have subscribed to IEEE but I watch it very less. However, i think I'd be more inclined to explore IEEE's social media feed frequently if it featured concise tech updates, highlights from IEEE publications, and insider insights from industry experts. Instead of platform like Twitter, with its real-time nature and brevity, I find platform like LinkedIn or website of IEEE itself would be ideal for quick access to the diverse range of IEEE information I seek.

Active participation in professional activities and groups has been a cornerstone of my growth. Yet, cost and limited physical invitations have been barriers to deeper involvement. I propose more cost-effective membership options, enhanced event promotion, and embracing emerging technologies for interactive online engagement to overcome these challenges. As I continue to leverage IEEE for my professional journey, I extend my recommendations for recognition of research participants, transparent communication, and more physical speaking opportunities. These actions will not only enhance member engagement but also contribute to a stronger sense of community within IEEE. Further, I access technical content through IEEE Xplore, if I have access, examining abstracts to gauge relevance. For articles, I browse IEEE magazines to pinpoint key topics for deeper exploration. While satisfied with this approach, incorporating podcasts on select subjects could enhance accessibility. Exploring ways to broaden access to IEEE Xplore content or considering alternative platforms for wider reach would be beneficial for a more comprehensive and inclusive experience.

IEEE shapes my management skills by offering diverse perspectives through conferences, mentorship programs, and collaborative platforms like Collabratec. Engaging with industry leaders and accessing resources on IEEE enhances my decision-making and leadership abilities, contributing to my continuous growth as a dynamic manager. Watching global leaders share insights and experiences on IEEE platforms is inspiring. Learning from their expertise and diverse perspectives elevates my ability to manage technical programs at Expedia Group. It instills confidence, broadens my vision, and empowers me to navigate complex challenges with strategic finesse.

In conclusion, I express my gratitude to IEEE for its instrumental role in my career. I eagerly anticipate the implementation of these suggestions, propelling IEEE into a more dynamic and inclusive future. Here's to continued success, growth, and evolution within the vibrant world of IEEE. Eagerly anticipating further growth, my plans include leveraging IEEE resources for advanced insights, exploring emerging technologies, and fostering collaborative innovation. I aim to contribute more to the professional community, broaden my technical horizons, and enhance my role as a Technical Program Manager at Expedia Group. Exciting times ahead!

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