Ian Cosden's Personal Blog on RSEs and Other Things

5 Challenges Currently Facing the RSE Career Path

At SC19 I had the privilege of serving on a panel about fostering career paths in HPC. In the days prior, I spent some time preparing for the panel by identifying what I felt were the current gaps and problems facing the career path for RSEs. Because of the response (very positive) I took the ideas from my panel introduction and turned it into this post.

To be honest, I was not expecting the sheer volume of questions and discussion surrounding RSEs and RSE careers during the panel session. I had assumed that the both the term “Research Software Engineer” and the role were too new in the community to generate much interest. I was glad to be wrong. It was encouraging to see how much the landscape had changed, especially in the year since SC18, and given the current momentum and interest, it seems the perfect time to earnestly increase our efforts.

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What is a Research Software Engineer?

What is a Research Software Engineer?

What is an RSE?

This question has plagued me for months, maybe years. It’s been the subject of surprisingly opinionated discussions and intense debate within the community. I’ve come to the conclusion that, like it or not, definitions are important, perhaps critically important, because they create an identity. You can’t answer the questions “am I an RSE?” or “how do I become an RSE?” without defining the term RSE.

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PEARC19 Recap

PEARC19 Recap

I just returned from PEARC19 in beautiful Chicago (the image above is from my hotel window). I’ve never been to Chicago in the winter, so my impressions are only based on literally perfect summer weather - but what an awesome city.

I made the trip to PEARC19 with a primary focus: advertise and promote the US-RSE. I brought 2,000 US-RSE stickers (note to self, don’t bring that many on an airplane again). After that, my goal was the same as any other conference: I went to talk to and learn from as many other people as possible.

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I started a blog!

I started a blog!

I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to start a blog!

Were people beating my door down for my opinion on everything?

No.

Were people clamoring for a peak inside my life and mind?

Not a chance.

Am I having narcissistic tendencies with the need to share every thought I’ve ever had.

Gosh I hope not, but we’re probably getting closer!

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