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Webinar: Creating a developer pipeline by teaching gateway technologies

February 8, 2017

Creating a developer pipeline by teaching gateway technologies
Presented by Marlon Pierce and Suresh Marru, Indiana University 

Abstract: Do you have trouble recruiting and retaining good gateway developers? Common challenges include the allure of the cutting-edge commercial sector, academic pay scales, and the specialized knowledge necessary for development. The Indiana University Science Gateways Research Center is attempting to turn this challenge into an opportunity by teaching Web-based cyberinfrastructure systems using concepts and technologies that will benefit students in their non-academic careers. Such distributed systems require knowledge of both classic and cutting-edge topics, such as microservices and “DevOps” practices. Meanwhile, the instructors can identify and connect with promising students while keeping themselves aware of important trends and technologies. This webinar will provide an overview of the material and concepts that we cover in the class, describe the student project assignments and class organization, and present outcomes and student feedback that we have gotten over the last two semesters. We will also discuss possibilities of making the course material and instruction available to other interested universities. Course information and material is available from

View the slides (Slideshare)

Watch the YouTube recording

Answers to questions asked during the webinar

Q: Are services mostly on the gateway side or mostly at the clusters?
A: Services are mostly middleware.

Q: Were all/most students CS students? Were they undergraduate or graduate students?
A: Yes, all of them ended up being CS students. We had Data Science students enrolled but we probably scared them away with programming-heavy projects. So far, it has been restricted to graduate students.

Q: Were distributed data services part of the class?
A: Distributed data services are part of the advanced class we are teaching in Spring. We are trying to make this is a rhythm; in Fall, the foundation gateway architecture class, and in Spring, we recruit selected students from the Fall class to do advanced topics like you mention.

Q: Were there exams? Or was it all homework/project-based?
A: Everything is project and class participation based. Here's an example of our grading in Fall:

Q: Do you ever invite "real" scientists to discuss their use of gateways?
A: Yes, we do guest lectures when we have to travel. We also tried to bring in guest lectures from industry, which also worked out well.