2016 Technology Exchange

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Report on NSF-Funded Cyberpractitioner Workshop to the Community

Time 09/27/16 01:30PM-02:20PM

Room Brickell

Session Abstract

Facilitators, or cyberpractitioners, are essential members of many compute and data-intensive research groups. With disciplinary, technical, and "people" skills, they link the research scientist with the high-performance cyberinfrastructure they need - yet despite the value they bring to the research enterprise, their position in the academic hierarchy is often equivocal or unclear, and career paths are diverse and often truncated.

On July 13-14 2016, 35 cyberpractitioners, campus directors of research computing, and other community members met at a 2-day invitation-only workshop in Washington, DC for a focused and moderated discussion of the cyberpractitioner occupation. Topics included the nature of formal and informal preparation, modes of entry and exit, prevalent aspirations and frustrations, typical career paths, and suggestions for further professionalization of the occupation and recognition within the university hierarchy, including job descriptions. The discussions were illuminated by presentations of similar activities in the UK. Participants completed two pre-workshop surveys. The first gathered data on modes of entry into the occupation, and barriers to and enablers of entry. The second asked for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the cyberpractitioner occupation, and collected data on career paths and career exits.

The workshop was the first activity of a contemplated long-term action-oriented study of the cyberpractitioner occupation, with an eye toward bringing together and equipping this important community with the tools they need to further their profession.

At the session, we will present a brief summary of the workshop, then follow with a community-building discussion with the audience. After a brief introduction of the workshop, survey results to date, and topic in general by the project’s PIs, we will then turn it over to a small panel of workshop participants to answer pre-determined questions and audience questions on the current state and future of the cyberpractitioner profession.

Participants will be invited to complete the two surveys used in the workshop to enlarge the knowledge base, and suggestions will be sought for further investigations and activities for a longer-term effort to raise the recognition, stature, and position of cyberpractitioners in a research university setting.


Speaker Dustin Atkins Clemson University

Speaker Stephen Wolff Internet2

Speaker Jim Bottum Clemson University

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