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Humanist Archives: Feb. 16, 2019, 6:18 a.m. Humanist 32.465 - research software careers

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 465.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-02-15 11:04:55+00:00
        From: Benjamin Vis 
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 32.460: research software careers

Dear James,

Thanks for your well-considered reply. Thanks for pointing me to the Research
Software Engineer pages. Likewise, I was not previously aware. When I talked
about 'research technicians' being usual terminology, naturally this came from a
completely situated perspective. In those UK institutions I've gotten to know
better, that's a usual job title, alongside postdoctoral researchers. Often
software use, operation, data generation and sometimes some development seem to
be captured in such roles. However, thinking about career paths, I'm not
entirely sure where it leads. E.g. in my institution I don't think this is
particularly well thought through, as I don't think there's anywhere clear to
grow to (my opinion).

With regards to the roles I've put together, I think that the first role could
lead to either more software oriented roles or indeed a research career. It may
need a 'double-barrelled' job title for that reason, expressing both sides, or
indeed perhaps better to join the coir of the "Research Software Engineers",
which captures the gamut well. I suppose for the second role, what sets it apart
from the 'engineering' role is that I expect it to consist more of the use and
implementation of existing software frames rather than fully developing them,
while the remainder of the post would be design/presentation of data and data
preservation oriented. Putting that role together, I still consider all the
pointers in your documentation very useful, even if I may need to pick and
choose elements.

Overall, I'm very glad that these type of roles are being formalised to gain
greater recognition and hopefully make for clearer career-paths in the process.



|| 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. 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,

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