A large reading load is something that can be expected from any graduate program - but in the Masters of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at UAB, we make sure that the required reading you're completing in your coursework contains lessons that are applicable as you move from an engineer to a manager.

 
Image of a hand swiping down on a tablet.  Tablet is displaying an academic article.

In IEM, between the books, articles, and other materials you can expect to read an average of 30 minutes per day. However, as you will learn throughout our IEM curriculum, we suggest that reading become a part of your everyday routine in order to grow and mature as a leader. While you are moving your way up the management ladder, reading material on leadership and team building can also help you get noticed as a leader.

Whether you are running your own company or managing a small team, you should be striving to develop knowledge to improve yourself, your company, and your employees or coworkers. Reading provides a new knowledge base outside of your own that will not only expand your mind, but also provide opportunities to spark discussions, debates, and new ideas, as well as even back up decisions.

What to Add to Your Stack

While our IEM curriculum has required reading for most courses, these are some titles that you may want to add to your "to be read" stack that may be beneficial for both your IEM studies and professional growth:

On Developing Work Habits

  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (by Cal Newport)
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (by Stephen R. Covey)
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (by Carol S. Dweck)
  • The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (by Gary Keller)

On Marketing and Branding

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (by Robert B. Cialdini)
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On (by Jonah Berger)

On Entrepreneurship and Innovation

  • EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (by Dave Ramsey)
  • Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (by Seth Godin)
  • Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (by Peter H. Diamandis)
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (by Kevin Kelly)

How to Get Through the Stack

While books hold invaluable knowledge many people end up collecting them rather than actually gleaning the lessons inside them. If you're having a difficult time knocking books off your to-read list these tips will help whether you're reading for fun or figuring out how to manage a graduate school reading schedule:

Reading Resourcefully

While some people read best while sitting in a single, designated spot, there's no reason to not get creative with your reading time. If the idea of even having a reading time is overwhelming - make time. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts while driving or walking to work. Read a newspaper article during your morning coffee. Find short articles online during your lunch break. Pair up with a friend to take turns reading and sharing ideas. Start a bookclub with coworkers or friends.  Building a reading habit may seem daunting - but it doesn't have to be boring. Thinking outside of the box with your resources and time can improve your multi-tasking skills, and might just improve your relationships and work environment too.

Reading Efficiently 

A speed reading technique will help you read quickly while also comprehending the main points, arguments, and lessons the author is presenting. Here are three easy tips that will help you master moving through your reading list:
  • Review Reading Material.

    Look over the table of contents, introduction, and last chapter before selecting the chapters that are most interesting. This will help you better anticipate the information you are encountering, and look into terms and topics you're unfamiliar with - rather than forcing your brain to process information in the moment.

     
  • Skim Strategically. 

    Use your finger, a pencil, or notecard to focus on the line of text and read every three words to fill in details from your initial review of the book. It's more important to understand the author's main ideas and arguments and articulate why it matters, rather than knowing the book word for word.

     
  • Practice. Practice. Practice. 

    Breaking habits and getting comfortable with new techniques may seem awkward. Even with excellent reading habits, the practice of powering through books rather than reading leisurely takes adjustment. Time yourself reading the newspaper or articles. With practice you'll be speed-reading in no time.

Read Your Way Into a Leadership Position

Our goal at IEM is to show you the best resources to help you develop your own best leadership qualities, many of which are found in texts that will be read, analyzed, and discussed in class. As with everything in IEM, what you are learning one day should be applicable when you go to work the next day. If you're interested in learning more about how our classes are structured or more relevant reading materials, fill out the form on this page to schedule a time to talk or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About IEM

The Master of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a specialized concentration designed primarily for engineers and people in technical positions. The concentration presents business systems and soft skills in a curriculum that is based on actual engineering industry needs and is offered completely online.