I'm about to defend my PhD in Computer Science in a couple of months, and I'm struggling with deciding on a future career path. Over the course of the 8 years I spent in an academic environment, I familiarized myself with advances and challenges of formal software development. I also learned a lot about myself. It might sound a bit depressing but right now I don't think that it's my vocation to be a scientist. I feel that there are lots of talented people who will do the research with a lot more passion and way better than me and that a mediocre researcher is of no use for society.
However I think I would love to work with scientists as a software engineer. I came to this point because I like developing software, I have high respect for science and would happily support the research with tools, and implement the research results in software. Being in a research environment I might become more inspired with science someday and will switch to research.
This being said my question is: are software engineers with a research background & PhD in demand in the academic world? Do they allocate funding for such people in universities/research labs? What should I expect from a career of a research software engineer? Would it be considered strange if I applied to a PostDoc position saying that I want to concentrate primarily on software?
I would appreciate any comment or advice. Thank you.