Topic Descriptions

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People & Project Management

Issue Tracking

Issue Tracking involves managing and maintaining lists of bugs, requested features, tasks, missing documentation, HelpDesk cases, etc.

User Education

User Education is any effort, formal or informal, which will guide and instruct existing and potential users in the recognition and formulation of their needs. Topics under user education include Documentation and Training.

Project/Change Management

Project Management is the discipline of leading a team’s tasks to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria on time. Change management is the process, tools, and techniques to manage changes to a project, to minimize the impact of changes and achieve required business outcomes.

Requirements Gathering

Requirements Gathering is the practice of collecting the requirements of a system or process from stakeholders. This could include topics like survey tools, polls, interviews or other processes for gathering information.

Licensing and Purchasing

Licensing and Purchasing covers the acquisition and usage of software for departments and individuals working at UW-Madison (Adobe Creative Cloud, Endnote, Microsoft O365, FlowJo etc.).

Workplace Interactions

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. Topics could include: cultural competence, unconscious bias, allyship.

Public Relations

Public Relations is about influencing, engaging, and building relationships with key stakeholders to frame and shape public perception of an organization.

Collaboration and Interpersonal Skills

Collaboration is the action of working with someone to get things done. Topics within collaboration can include Remote Collaboration, Campus Community Partnerships, and Interpersonal Networking. Interpersonal skills include the ability to communicate across disciplines, work in diverse teams, and serve as collaborative leaders and mentors.

Personal and Professional Development

Personal development refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development. Professional development refers to activities that help us grow in our career. Topics under personal development can include Imposter Syndrome, Emotional Intelligence, and Self-Management. Topics under professional development include seeking training opportunities, certifications, and conference attendance.

Remote Work


Zoom, WebEx, Teams, Slack — the list of competing solutions is long.  They can be video or text based, ephemeral or recorded, but somehow communication needs to happen.

Office Setups

What technical issues need to be considered and navigated when setting up a home system (like bandwidth, security, audio and visual equipment)? Should departments cover some of the costs of home setups?


How is security enforced when everyone works outside the confines of campus firewalls / protections?


Necessary vs optional meetings and how to prevent Zoom fatigue.  How to plan a pure virtual meeting or event.  Considerations for conferences: time zones, scheduling breaks.

Mental Health

Tips for maintaining mental health amid isolation or balancing work obligations and home obligations (like child care or sharing office space with a housemate).


How do you onboard a person you’ve never met in person?  Topics include procedural implications like meeting HR or how to get a laptop, and more social considerations like promoting workplace culture.

Leading or Managing Remote / Hybrid Teams

What stays the same, and what is different about leading and managing people remotely?

Transition back to In-Person

At the time of writing, this is a potential glimpse at the future.  Ideas are welcome.

Software Design & Development


Accessibility enables individuals with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with, and contribute to the web.


Usability is the practice of building a website or program that is easy to use and provides the best possible user experience. Topics under usability can include Responsive Design, User Interface Design, and User Experience Assessment.

Graphic/Visual Design

Applications of graphic and visual design in the creation of digital interfaces on campus.

Front End Development

Front End Development is the practice of producing HTML, CSS and JavaScript for a website or Web Application so that a user can see and interact with them directly.

Application Programming Interface (APIs)

Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface that software uses to access data, server software, or other applications to build mobile and web applications.

Development Methodologies

Development Methodologies covers the process, tools, and techniques of software design and development from product conception through end of life. Topics include processes for selecting languages, tools, and frameworks; build vs. buy, local vs. cloud; software testing, including unit testing and integration testing, version control, and code quality metrics.


Architecture is a high level structure of a software system or codebase, the discipline of creating such structures, and the documentation of these structures.

Secure Coding Practices

Writing code with security concerns in mind; canonicalization, input validation, secure coding standards (e.g. OWASP), preventing well-known classes of attacks including cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and memory overflows.


Continuous Integration & Deployment

Continuous integration refers to the practice of frequent commits to a code repository, with automated testing set up to catch errors, fix style issues, or hint at problems.  This is designed to provide fast feedback and assist in code reviews.  Continuous deployment involves creating automated code delivery pipelines from test environments through production.

Containers & Orchestration

Containers are lightweight, stand-alone, executable packages of software that includes everything needed to run the software. Container orchestration is the configuration, scheduling and deployment of containerized software to create working systems. Topics include platforms like Docker and Kubernetes.

Cloud Hosting & Services

VMs and Storage

Like your on-prem infrastructure, but in the cloud. These are the raw building blocks for virtual data centers, and can be ordered on hourly rates.


Dozens of services are available through cloud vendors: AI and Machine Learning, Monitoring and Analytics, Databases, Identity Management — you name it and they probably offer it.

System Administration

Backup, Redundancy, and Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery is a documented process or set of procedures to protect and recover IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Topics include Continuity of Operations (COOP) and data loss prevention.

Configuration, Infrastructure, and Dependency Management

Configuration and Dependency Management is an architectural planning tool that maps dependencies between disparate IT systems and provides guidance on creating a recovery plan should any systems fail.

Data Storage, Transfer, and File Sharing

Data Storage, Transfer, and File Sharing covers data storage technology and sharing services, including on-premises (Shared File Services, Research Drive) options like Ceph or Lustre, and cloud options like Box, G-Suite (Google Drive) or Globus.

Database Administration

Database Administration is the configuration and management of database services for applications. Topics include SQL vs NoSQL databases, performance optimization, schema and index design, and databases for specialized data sets (e.g. geographic, genomic, etc.)


Virtualization refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system. Software executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlying hardware resources.



A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.

Security information and event management (SIEM)

Security information and event management (SIEM), software products and services combine security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM). They provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware.

Endpoint Security & Management

Detection, patching, and recovery practices for managing workstations on campus. (BigFix, WorkSpace One, Cisco AMP) for example.

Identity & Access Management

Identity & Access Management (IAM) is the task of controlling information about users, their roles, and user permissions on systems. Topics include authorization and multi-factor authentication (e.g. Duo)

Vulnerability Management

Practices for implementing components to prepare, detect, analyze and contain threats and vulnerabilities.

Risk Analysis/Management

Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events.

Data Analytics & Visualization

Data Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Data Visualization is the graphic representation of data. It involves producing visualizations that communicate relationships among the represented data to viewers and stakeholders.

Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology includes hardware and software used in the facilitation of teaching and learning across multiple modalities (online, blended, hybrid, face-to-face), including computer labs/classrooms for course work or other instructional purposes. This topic encompasses learning technologies, such as Canvas, various assessment tools, Piazza, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, etc.