In 2018, the RSE-AUNZ Association participated in an international survey [1] organized by the Software Sustainability Institute in the UK, with questions tailored for AU and NZ contexts [2].

“The purpose of this survey is to collect information about people who develop the software that is used in research. We call these people Research Software Engineers (RSEs) [3], but they exist under many job titles (from postdoctoral researcher to applications consultant, to bioinformatician).”

There were 99 participants from Australia. The follow slides show some of the important data gathered from their responses: Slides: Australian results of the 2018

Some highlights include:

  • 64% were educated in the Physical, Information & Computing, or Biological Sciences.
  • 64% had a Doctoral Degree.
  • 51% had over 10 years software development experience, but most had learned their RSE skill on the job.
  • Python, R, and SQL were the top 3 programming languages.
  • Project/Management, Software Testing, and Software Design were the top 3 skills they wanted to learn or improve.
  • Finally, whilst only 12% were members of an RSE association, 57% would like to attend a conference about ‘software development in academia’.


  1. Phillippe et. al. (2019), ‘softwaresaved/international-survey: Public release for 2018 results’,
  2. by Nooriyah Poonawala Lohani (NeSI), Manodeep Sinha (Swinburne University of Technology), and Nicholas May (RMIT University).
  3. Simon Hettrick, Not so brief history of research software engineers, Software Sustainability Institute, August 2017.