A closer look at the NZ responses to the International Research Software Engineer (RSE) survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 International Research Software Engineer (RSE) Survey. We are thrilled to report that the response was great and the survey was run across 32 countries!

To put things in perspective, the RSE Survey was started in the UK in 2016 by the Software Sustainability Institute. The following year, survey participation expanded to include the USA, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. Distribution expanded again in 2018, with New Zealand and Australia among the new countries participating.

The 2018 survey aimed to capture the demographic of those who identify with the RSE community and to help us understand who the RSEs are in NZ, what motivates them to be an RSE, and what they would like to see improved for growing community.

Within our region, 37 respondents were from New Zealand and 99 respondents were from Australia. Looking at our NZ respondents a bit more closely:

  • 91% were males, ranging in age from 25-54 years old
  • A majority of respondents work in the computer science and biological science domains
  • A majority of respondents said they wanted to spend more time than they currently do on developing software and research, and less time on management tasks and teaching
  • When asked to rate (from highest to lowest) what motivates them to be an RSE, the respondents selected (in this order):
    • a desire to work in a research environment
    • the freedom to choose their own working environment
    • a desire to advance research
    • salary and career advancement

Many more interesting findings and further information of the survey can be found here:

This survey has been immensely useful in understanding who the international RSE community represents and its contribution to research. Insights from the results will also be used to set goals for ways to further develop and support the NZ RSE community.

To become a member of RSE-AUNZ or to learn more about this community, please visit https://rse-aunz.github.io or contact Nooriyah Lohani (nooriyah.lohani@nesi.org.nz).

Members of the NZ and Australian RSE communities at an eResearch Australasia pre-conference workshop.