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ACM membership worthwhile?

I'm about to purchase the costly $200 professional ACM membership.  People always bring stuff up from the CACM journal.  If you're a member, do you have pretty good experiences?  Any weird caveats?

BTW, it looks like their shoppingcart software is pretty antiquated.  Since they want me to have a degree or IT experience, I'm worried they'll want to "process" my CC for a week if I use a yahoo email account to join.

ycm
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I was a student member for a year, and I didn't feel like renewing for this year. The publication you mention is so-so.

I joined the IEEE Computer Society a few weeks ago, and it's much more worthwhile than the ACM, IMHO. The site is more well organized, and you get to enter into a virtual campus also.

Regards,
Ivan V.

Ivan V.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I rarely find anything useful in the ACM,
and dropped membership.

If other people are bringing stuff up from
the ACM that means someone else in your org
has membership - so just get them to
download the relevant articles.
I can't see any benefits of the ACM apart from the libraries and journals.

Incidentally I love the bit on the certificate saying that I have fulfilled the professional requirements for membership of the ACM. The professional requirements appear to be that I have paid them $200.

David Clayworth
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Thanks for the warnings, I'm pretty cooled off on the idea now of joining these orgs.  I'll visit a uni library and look at IEEE journals to see if I want to join them.

ycm
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

I won't be renewing my ACM membership either.

I've been planning on checking out the IEEE though.

semi
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Here are my 0.002 (or less) worth as an student member of boh ACM and IEE / Computer society, for over a year in the case of IEEE and almost a year on the ACM.

From my experience, and judging mostly from the magazines (ACM's "Communications of the ACM" and IEEE's "Spectrum" and "Computer"), if I had to choose only one of them, I'd stick with IEEE. The Articles on CACM feel a little too "stuffy", too "scholary"... I don't know exactly how to put it. I only know that I enjoy reading "Computer" and "Spectrum" much more than CACM, though I think the articles on Computer are as "serious" as the ones on CACM, they're not "dumbed down" or "light reading" either.

It's just a feeling I have.

Apart from that, I haven't explored too much the rest of the offerings of either society (not being in the US _is_ still a disadvantage in both cases, but I think IEEE tries to be a little more international in outlook than ACM :), but from a quick look, the IEEE site seems to be better organiced, and I love the _idea_ of the online campus (the courses look good; I haven't had time to start any of them though). OTOH, ACM's "Technews" is a good summary of tech related news...

But as stated previously, If I had to choose (and I'll probably have to once I have to "upgrade" to full member; student rates are cheap :) I'd go with IEEE. Of course, I'm not a CompSci student, but Industrial (Electronics & Control) Eng, so I like the wider focus on "Spectrum".

One thing I'd like to know is, which membership carries more "prestige", in your opinion? IEEE? ACM?
The thing is, I did some reviewing for a book on C#, and the publisher asked me for my title and affiliation in case they decided to quote me on the back cover. Not having a degree yet, and being "in between jobs", I only could provide them with the fact I'm a member both of IEEE's Computer Society and of the ACM. And when I got my copy of the book I was delighted to find that I had been quoted, and the affiliation given was that of the ACM membership.... that's why I'd like to know which one carries more wheight. At least here in Spain people with technical careers might know of the IEEE, but the ACM is a much less known....

Just my $0 Worth :) (this advice and opinions is worth every cent I've gotten for it :)

Javier Jarava
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Buy an mp3 player instead!

Prakash S
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Actually, when I signed up (I assumed it hasn't changed) you needed to be a student, have a college degree, or 7 years experience.

I've been a member for a long time.  Sometimes I get something from the article but I agree they are too stuffy.  I don't like the "voice" of the magazine.

Still, I keep signing up because my employer will pay for it.

vanguard
Wednesday, September 04, 2002

The ACM has always been the academic organization of Computer Science.  The SIGPLAN and SIGARCH have historically been hotbeds of innovation.  They've been publishing stuff on graphical interfaces since before the IEEE had a Computer Society.  CACM used to be the place new algorithms were first published.  If you join ACM, get Computer Surveys, too.

OTOH, the Compuer Society is part of an Industry org, IEEE that is very well funded, and they have a solid record of good publication.  I know less about it than the ACM, though.

Warren Seltzer
Wednesday, September 04, 2002

I think it is, I've been a member for about 10 years.

There are two things that keep me a member:
CACM gives a nice overview of parts of computing that
I'm not involved in. It keeps me from getting too much
of tunnel vision about computer science (guess what...
CS != web development) 

I don't always get around to reading CACM though.

Second, I'm in SIGCHI, and they have a great annual
conference, CHI. As a member, the discount for early
registration is significant. SIGCHI publications are really
good, too. I always read them.

Another thing I recently discovered was that when I
applied for professional liability insurance (recently
started contracting), several applications asked which
professional societies I belonged to. One would assume
that it's important - does it make me less of a risk?
Maybe it indicates a commitment to the field,
a sense of professionalism, etc. I dunno. That's the first
time I was ever asked.

Oh, it's on my resume too. Couldn't hurt.

See if your company will pay for it. Few people ASK if they'll pay for it, and many companies do!

Lauren B.
Thursday, September 05, 2002

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