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Platform Engineer

Software Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Saildrone

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are busy building the world's largest high-resolution ocean datasets, working with governments and private companies around the globe. We believe that better inputs in planetary models in turn yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change will have a tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Horizons Ventures, Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

About The Role

Data is Everything. The Saildrone fleet of ocean-going drones tirelessly roams the world's oceans piecing together the world's largest high-resolution ocean data set at a rate, precision and price point that was previously impossible. With NOAA approved data precision and demonstrated reliability, we are now growing our fleet of autonomous vehicles from tens to hundreds and need a platform architecture that can meet the demand. You will lead the way in building the platform powering our external API, which empowers both our mobile experience and web applications. This is an effort spanning architecture, design, development, reliability, and scale, and is critical in our mission to deliver planetary insights that affect humanity.


  • Manage Saildrone data pipelines, ingesting both data collected by our drones as well as 3rd party data sources
  • Join a team developing a robust application platform that processes incoming data and extracts insights for our customers
  • Design and implement Saildrone APIs, collaborating with both the front-end engineers and the robotics team, to drive fast, efficient processes
  • Help lead the design, implementation and deployment of new features, working closely with our science team
  • Protect Saildrone raw data integrity at all cost
  • Work with the front-end team to create & support innovative data visualization techniques
  • Leverage Open Source components and contribute back to the community
  • Own the quality assurance of platform components, automated-testing infrastructure & performance monitoring, working closely with our Infrastructure team
  • Participate in conferences and events, researching new technologies and techniques that establish world-leading, best practices for our planetary data
  • Work to expand the team, including sourcing and interviewing candidates, and on-boarding new employees


  • A passion for Saildrone's mission
  • 5+ years of generalist experience developing back-end applications primarily using Python and secondarily Node.js and/or asynchronous Python (asyncio preferred).
  • Understanding of data structures, algorithms, distributed computing, data storage
  • In­-depth knowledge of API design and best practices, caching, resiliency, RESTful APIs and server-side frameworks (Django, Django Rest Framework, Hapi)
  • Writing effective automated tests
  • Experience with relational and non-­relational databases: Postgres, PostGIS, Redis, ORMs
  • Familiarity with tools and techniques in distributed systems and handling large volumes of streaming data and queues
  • BS, MS or Ph.D. in Computer Science or equivalent work experience & analytical skills
  • Experience with continuous integration and continuous deployment

Nice to Have Experience (in order)

  • Distributed task and workflow experience are a huge plus: Celery, Argo, or Airflow
  • Experience with time-series data
  • Developing services that run on Kubernetes with Docker and containers
  • Geospatial data, analysis, and processing: GDAL, Shapefiles, Shapely, Fiona
  • Low-level network programming: sockets, TCP, UDP


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents
  • Healthy lunch program provided onsite
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!
  • Fun team activities including our famous monthly social taxiway BBQ
  • Waterfront office, a former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity/maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting new opportunity to drive your function at a fast-growing post series-B startup at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of an A+ multi-disciplinary team scaling a high-performance business while delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Our waterfront office offers beautiful views over San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Your commute could be a short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mixing software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'.

You can read what the press says about us:

Bloomberg - This armada of drones could conquer the oceans
Inc - The most exciting drones aren't in the air, they are in the oceans
The New York Times - No sailors needed: robot sailboats scour the oceans for data
NOAA -  Adaptable and driven by renewable energy, saildrones voyage into remote waters
The Economist - Sailing the wired seas

Or watch the Saildrone mission being presented the TED stage

Saildrone is an equal opportunity workplace dedicated to pursuing and hiring a diverse workforce.

Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered the property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.