Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Research Fellow in Software Engineering

Deadline: 28.02.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

The Department of Informatics (IFI) is one of nine departments belonging to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. IFI is Norway’s largest university department for general education and research in Computer Science and related topics.

The Department has more than 1800 students on bachelor level, 600 master students, and over 240 PhDs and postdocs. The overall staff of the Department is close to 370 employees, about 280 of these in full time positions. The full time tenured academic staff is 75, mostly Full/Associate Professors.

Job description

Position as PhD Research Fellow in software engineering available at the Software Engineering (SE) Group at the Department of Informatics (IFI), University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo. Starting date is no later than October 1, 2023.

The fellowship period is three (3) years. A fourth year may be considered with a workload of 25 % besides the PhD candidate’s research. These additional responsibilities may consist of teaching, supervision duties, and/or research assistance. This is dependent upon the qualifications of the applicant and the current needs of the department.

More about the position

Jobs within software development have grown fast over many years and will continue to do so for many more. Unlike many other professions, software developers can have highly successful careers in the software industry despite little or no formal education as long as their skills in software development are sufficient. Tools that allow developers to automatically analyze their skills in depth would be beneficial.

Prior research at the SE Group over the last decade has established general principles for measuring industry-relevant skills irrespective of educational background. Moreover, a tool based on this work to measure Java programming skills is today used in high-stakes testing within recruiting and training.

A limitation of most commercial and research-based skill assessments is that they are optimized for an organization's need to make decisions about professionals and students (e.g., when hiring or grading) rather than providing individual developers with timely and relevant insights (e.g., feedback) about their skill progression to facilitate better learning. Such formative feedback, or more generally, analytics, has a wide range of applications for developers within education and industry.

Within the position, the candidate is expected to work with already collected data and probably collect new data from individual developers' performance on software development tasks. Data collaboration with one (or more) commercial and non-profit companies is possible.

Data can be analyzed from (at least) two directions, depending on the candidate's background and interests:

1. Training of skills (i.e., upskilling or reskilling using formative assessment)

2. Analysis of process data on the task level, i.e., what can one infer about the level of programming skill from the concrete steps a developer performs while solving a programming task.

Both directions can be approached either bottom-up (i.e., starting with the data, e.g., using machine learning) or top-down (i.e., using a substantive theoretical model from the literature). Thus, the candidate can either have a computer science background or an educational measurement/psychometrics background. A candidate with the former background is expected to acquire a basic understanding of the state-of-the-art within educational measurement/psychometrics. For the latter background, it is expected that the candidate successfully disseminates insights from the PhD work to the software engineering field.

The main supervisor will be associate professor Gunnar Rye Bergersen who has extensive research expertise on programming skills, see here.

The secondary supervisor will be professor Dag Sjøberg who has comprehensive research expertise in software engineering, see here.

An additional supervisor with specialist competence in the specific methods used during data analysis is possible.

The candidate will acquire expertise highly desired by academia and industry within the position while working in the cross-section of advanced analytics of data on human performance and industrial software development.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for this fellowship will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

Required qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in computer science (e.g., software engineering), data science, educational measurement, or psychological assessment
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • A strong quantitative and empirical methods-related educational background (e.g., within machine learning, Bayesian statistics, item response theory models, or structural equation modeling), ideally pertaining to analyses of activity or performance-related data of students and/or professionals

Desired qualifications:

  • Some working experience, e.g., as a software developer or data analyst
  • 3+ years of experience with either Python or R

Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 30 June, 2023 to complete the final exam.

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English

English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries and exemptions from the requirements

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

Personal skills

  • Good communication skills to effectively communicate with both developers and researchers from other fields
  • Good attitude towards reproducible data analysis and collaboration
  • Good attitude towards writing reports and articles

We offer

  • Salary NOK 501 200 – 544 400 per year depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Career development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Cover letter - statement of motivation and research interests
  • Short research proposal (3 pages max, excluding references), making it clear how the applicant interprets and plans to address the announced area of research
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma, transcripts of records and
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail, and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system (please follow the link “Apply for this job”). Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language. In case translated documents are submitted, a certified translation is required.

Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information

For further information please contact:

For questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Therese Ringvold, e-mail: [email protected].

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