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Humanist Archives: Feb. 15, 2019, 6:45 a.m. Humanist 32.460 - research software careers

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 460.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-02-14 09:59:15+00:00
        From: James Smithies 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.434: research software careers

Dear Ben,

Apologies for the slow reply. Thanks for noting those mistakes in the UI/UX
roles. I've produced an updated version of the document.

The roles are specific to King's Digital Lab, and won't work for everyone. We
published them so people can pick what works for them and ignore the rest. We've
hosted a post-doc in the lab, and created a separate role description for them,
and I've always thought there probably needs to be a more generic 'scientific
programmer' role for use outside Arts & Humanities.

You might be interested in https://rse.ac.uk/what-is-an-rse/. King's Digital Lab
is unusual in that our Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is supported by the
full range of software engineering roles. Most 'RSE' roles are more generic and
will encompass front and back end development, and often close engagement with
the production and maintenance of research outputs. Many RSEs work alone, or in
small teams. I'm not sure what you mean by 'usual terminology' being 'Research
Technician', given that's likely to differ from institution to institution, but
both the roles you describe seem well suited to the Research Software Engineer
designation, assuming they will be working on research projects and integral to
the design, development, and maintenance of research outputs. A lot depends on
what we, as a community, understand an 'RSE' to be and an 'RSE career' to
consist of, doesn't it. Not all lawyers practice a single kind of law, some are
generalists, some are specialists etc. RSEs work with research teams to design,
build, and maintain research software. Specific role definitions can (and should
be expected to) vary widely.

My advice is to think about the career path of the people you want to hire.
Where will they be able to move to after working with you? If you see them
following an academic track, then take the Research Associate / Post-doc route.
If you see them building research software for a living, use the RSE

Best wishes,

> From: Benjamin Vis 
> Sent: 08 February 2019 11:24
> To: Smithies, James
> Subject: RE: [Humanist] 32.434: research software careers

Dear James,

Thank you for this, in my view, very helpful and informative documentation. I've
just planned two roles as part of a research project application that could
benefit from this. However, from very quick reading, it feels to me that these
specific role divisions are really quite specific to working almost exclusively
on or in digital/software environments. I suppose what I'd like is a research
associate type role (grade 7) that has many of the qualities of a software
engineer as part of a well-rounded package as a postdoc researcher within a
particular field. The challenge in both writing this role and (should the
proposal be successful) recruiting for the role is to ensure it hits the right
notes for people on both ends of the spectrum. E.g. writing under a Software
Engineer role title, I would think it would alienate the more digitally skilled
postdoc scholars perhaps, while recruiting a Research Associate may not
necessarily attract the rightly inclined Software Engineer, especially not if
currently not working in a research environment. How do you see this?

Also, I was wondering about a specific job I envisaged for someone to work on
the graphic design and implementation as a web-GIS platform of the key results
of the project, while also working on the archiving, storage, and future
accessibility of the data (e.g. data conversions for repositories etc.), and
(co-)designing and preparing specifically graphical output. To me it would seem
this type of role might arguably sit between a systems manager and a UI
designer. I proposed this as a Research Technician type role (grade 6), sticking
to the usual role title terminology. What would be your opinion on a role like

Finally, I think I spotted a small error in my quick reading in the
qualification level differences between a UI/UX Designer and Senior UI/UX
designer. It currently seems that the qualifications expected from a senior role
are lower than a junior/mid role.

 Thanks for making the effort of sharing this knowledge. I admittedly know very
little about all the professional standards referred to in the document, but
probably should know a bit more if I am to become a PI on a project like this!



|| Dr Benjamin N. Vis | Research Fellow | School of European Culture & Languages
| University of Kent | Cornwallis Central (CWC) | Room CC108 | Canterbury CT2
7NF | UK | +44 (0)1227 82 6543 | https://kent.academia.edu/BenjaminVis ||

-----Original Message-----

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 434.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-02-07 16:26:55+00:00
        From: James Smithies 
        Subject: Research Software careers at King's Digital Lab

Dear Willard,

The Humanist community might be interested in King's Digital Lab's 'Research
Software' (RS) career document, which includes detailed role descriptions for
Analyst, UI/UX Designer, Engineer, Systems Manager, and Project Manager. For
those who haven't come across us, KDL is a digital humanities and digital social
science laboratory, hosted in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, King's College

An overview of the document is available on our blog
(https://www.kdl.kcl.ac.uk/blog/rse-career-development/), and the document
itself is available on Zenodo (http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2559235). Our
approach isn't perfect, but we hope that sharing the document will help increase
alignment across the community and encourage new approaches to 'RS' careers.

Best wishes,

Dr. James Smithies
Director, King's Digital Lab
Deputy-Director, King's College eResearch Virginia Woolf Building Room 2.50 |
King's College London DDI +44 (0) 207 848 7552 | MOB +44 7543 632076
james.smithies@kcl.ac.uk | kdl.kcl.ac.uk  | jamessmithies.org | @jamessmithies

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