Members of the US-RSE Association led the panel “Research Software Engineer (RSE) Careers - State of the Profession, Opportunities, and Challenges in Academia” at the Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing conference (PEARC21) on July 20, 2021. The panel included Ian Cosden, Sandra Gesing, Christina Maimone, Kenton McHenry, and Alan Sussman, and it was moderated by Daniel S. Katz.

The panelists were joined by 75 attendees who kept the panelists busy with great questions about securing funding for RSE careers, measuring the professional progress of an RSE, the differences and similarities between RSEs and Cyberinfrastructure Facilitators, the skills and benefits that RSEs bring to research projects compared to graduate students or postdoctoral fellows, and challenges in hiring RSEs.

The panelists agreed that they have seen significant progress over the past five years in recognition of the work that RSEs do, the need for RSE roles, and support for expanding RSE roles in academia. However, challenges still exist for RSEs and RSE careers, including funding stability, gaining academic recognition and credit for their work, hiring and retaining RSE talent, and convincing institutions to invest in RSEs and RSE services.

We want to welcome the new US-RSE members who joined following the panel. PEARC21 attendees can view the recording of the panel on the conference website.