23. Academic developer culture - Alex Dutton, University of Oxford

Description: What kind of culture do we want? How can management support it? How has it changed over time?

What’s it like at the moment?

Perennial issue of career paths Getting to events like this, and events like this existing, is hard. We are an aging community, and that’s worrying. JISC no longer fund the projects that “inducted” young developers into the sector. Pay? Tech (young developers want to use the latest and greatest, not the “non-current” tech we have a lot of) Developers enjoy doing technical work Push towards short-term funding/posts means that organisation needs people that can hit the ground running, which doesn’t fit entry-level “develop people” roles

What could we do for the betterment of the sector and the country if we were suitably empowered? Need to demonstrate our value and our expertise

There are problems that need solving across HE (e.g. student systems, conference management, identity management, reporting, integration) that we could do better, and could work together as a developer community on. People on the ground have problems that aren’t recognised in the centre, but developers and people looking after services can spot and solve these problems if enabled to do so. Examples include HR, groups, org structure, local workarounds, finance UCISA survey institutional use of e.g. HR, SR systems. Could be useful for finding opportunities for inter-institutional collaboration. What would make things better? Informal standardisation across HEIs agreed between developers Repurpose advocacy from estates for IT, to support Continual Service Improvement before things fall apart completely. Product ownership; owner needs to represent their users, not just their own interests Blogging. A blog aggregator across the sector, under dev.ac.uk (planet.dev.ac.uk?). Ask people to blog about what they’re doing Talk, ask questions, and support each other. Slack? UCISA to encourage senior management to allow sharing of information and code? Common OSS policy across the sector


We will raise awareness of what we can offer Have faith in us, collaborate with us, and respect us as a profession Involve us in service design, and we will make it better We are knowledgeable and we understand things We need to be enabled to talk to each other. Events for developers are vital We can innovate if you let us. Innovation is not separate from usual tasks Business As Usual needs to include Continual Service Improvement