RSE Competencies

In November 2023, as a result of the deRSE23 and un-deRSE23 conferences and follow-up discussions, the paper Foundational Competencies and Responsibilities of a Research Software Engineer by Florian Goth et al. defined a set of competencies (skills) that research software engineers typically have. These competencies are summarized here, together with resources related to each competence.

The respective preprint is currently in extensive review from the RSE community.

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Software engineering skills

RSEs are Research Software Engineers and, as such, posess software engineering skills that allow them to create and maintain complex and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) research software.

Creating documented code building blocks (DOCBB)

Building distributable libraries (LIBS)

Adapting to the software life-cycle (SWLC)

Use repositories (SWREPOS)

Software behaviour awareness and analysis (MOD)

Research skills

RSEs are working with Research Software and are capable of conducting research themselves. They are curious and have deep understanding of the research cycle and publication practices for ideas, software, and data.

Curiosity (NEW)

Understanding the research cycle (RC)

Software re-use (SRU)

Software publication (SP)

Using domain repositories/directories (DOMREP)

Communication skills

RSEs are interacting extensively with others and, as such, they posess strong communication skills. They are typically embedded in a research group or work within a team of RSEs supporting particular research projects.

Working in a team (TEAM)

Teaching (TEACH)

Project management (PM)

Interaction with users and other stakeholders (USERS)