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IEEE/ACM Membership

Is it worth it?  I just received a special offer from the ACM--$84 for an annual membership, plus a free subscription to their new magazine, Queue.

I doubt there's any technical information available through them that I can't find elsewhere.  They offer training courses, but I don't do much structured learning like that outside of university.  I'm sceptical of the value of listing ACM membership on my resume, and I'm not a big conference goer.

Are there benefits I'm missing to membership?  How many people here are members of either?

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

> I doubt there's any technical information available through them that I can't find elsewhere.

I think that there is (specialized articles in their journals), but I access those by subscribing to my local university library.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I had an IEEE membership but dropped it after a year due to ineptitude on their part -- When I had enrolled I failed to submit the appropriate professional/academic information, so they assigned me a grade of "Associate". Seeing this scarlet letter, I submitted all of the appropriate documentation and was upgraded to Member, as seen on cards and mailings thenceforth. Suddenly about 6 months later I was again referred to as associate - they had lost all track of the prior activities, and just rolled back the hypothetical transaction. I sent several queries to them to be informed that they don't have a record of me submitting the materials, and I must have always been an associate - please resubmit. That sort of administration sets off a red flag to me, and it just seemed like a waste of time so I let it lapse.  With it I got their Spectrum magazine which was a pretty superficial high level magazine, but was a good read, and also got their software engineering journal which was full of such incredibly dry, theoretical information, that I suspect that no one actually reads it.

.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I've been asking myself this question for some time now. My impression (backed up by talking to a friend who has let his ACM membership lapse) is that the ACM has a more academic focus, and that the IEEE is more geared to application of technology.

I keep considering a membership in the IEEE, but it looks awful pricey, and I'm unclear that I'd get enough out of it to be worth the money.

Since I'm only really interested in the Computer Society, I see that I can join just the Society (without being an IEEE member) for a mere $50 (half year) or both for $95 (half year). IEEE Software magazine would be another $22/year (paper) or $18/year (electronic) or $29/year (both).

I can't tell if the money is well-spent or not.
You get Computer magazine, but I don't know whether I care or not.
You get on-line training courses, but the topics didn't seem to be useful to me (although, you folks doing app software might well check it out).
Online Books thing looks neat, but it's a collection that they rotate, so I still have to buy anything I want as a reference.
Allowed to subscribe at sensible rates to 19 publications, only one of which I care about.

For me, I can't yet see the benefit. For you, well, take a look at the membership benefits page on computer.org. Might be a good deal for you.

Michael Kohne
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I finally joined the IEEE and have been maintaining my membership ever since.  It's something close to $300 canadian per year for IEEE and Computer Society membership and it's barely worth it...

You get Spectrum and Computer, which are both great, although Computer is a bit theoretical as previously pointed out.

You get some on-line courses which I've never used.  They look useful.

You get an email alias that can forward to your real email.

You can get a credit card - of no use to me, I don't even know if it's visa or mc.  You can get some sort of insurance.

The main thing that does make it worthwhile, that I continue to keep it active for is the local networking opportunities - the local chapter arranges speakers or meetings at least once per month.  They're usually interesting, and good events to keep in touch with people.

Ward
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

IEEE/ACM claim that they're for "networking opportunities", but since the ubiquity of the Internet, this is no longer a strong selling point.

To me, the IEEE seems to be primarily a broker of intellectual property, for their own benefit. If you look at the services they provide, it all boils down to licensing information of some sort (membership directory, periodicals, standards). Other than getting a discount on those license fees, there seems to be little benefit to membership.

David Jones
Thursday, April 22, 2004

Here's one opinion to keep in mind, though I don't have any real opinion on the acm myself.
http://www.nhplace.com/kent/PFAQ/acm.html

Tayssir John Gabbour
Thursday, April 22, 2004

Funny, I too got the membership thing. I liked the online courses but then the contractor I work for also claims to have oneline courses (some 3rd party providing) and the site would not work with debian/kde/firebox. I tried to find out if these course sites would work for me but I haven't yet. I got sidetracked by seeing that membership prices depended on where you lived or where you said you lived. I didn't like that idea at all. I happen to plan on living half or more of the year in Brazil and I'll be having to compete with people from Brazil, Russia, Moldava, India etc. so I don't reckon I'll be making near what I do now. But where do I live? I expect to perhaps come back to the states now and then to take a 3 month/6 month gig. I've lived in Brazil before and I never did that well there. Anyhow, I think they ought to charge everyone the same or base the rate on you income if it will be a variable.

must remain anonymous
Thursday, April 22, 2004

Thanks, Tayssir, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.  I learned a few years ago that conferences are little more than a money-making scam, and I suspected that was the case here, but wasn't sure.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, April 22, 2004

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