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Systems Operations Engineer

Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, preserve, and protect our world. Saildrone provides real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and uses proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Saildrone’s fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate 24/7/365, without the need for a crewed support vehicle. We work with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing drones into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane to obtain new scientific storm data, mapping the ocean floor, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, counting biomass to establish fishing quotas, or detecting and stopping illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, we have been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022” and earned the 2022 Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, presented by the Blue Marine Foundation. Saildrone’s hurricane mission was included as one of the New York Times "Top 21 Things that happened (for the first time) in 2021", and Popular Science's "100 Greatest Innovations of 2021".

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC, St. Petersburg, FL, and Fall River, MA, and operate our missions worldwide. We are backed by top-tier investors in the frontier-tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

The Role

Saildrone's autonomous surface vehicles operate for unprecedented periods of time in the most unforgiving environments on the planet. From inside of hurricanes to the frigid waters of the Arctic, the stresses they endure are unimaginable. Thus, the technical execution of preparing the vehicles for their mission and monitoring their performance once deployed are critical tasks. As a Systems Operations Engineer, you will be on the front lines of performing those critical tasks to ensure technical success, fix problems, and gather the information needed to facilitate iterative improvement.

Through every stage of vehicle operations, you will collaborate with a variety of teams in engineering, operations, and production. You will be the vanguard of deployed vehicle reliability. You will use your systems and network expertise combined with software engineering to provide proactive monitoring and incident response for world-wide vehicle operations. You will translate messy, real-world system performance into actionable product and process improvements.

What You'll Do

  • Develop a detailed understanding of complex sensors and embedded systems
  • Provide internal customer service to supported production and operations teams to quickly resolve any technical issues they experience
  • Build trust with cross-functional teams and lead root cause analysis to identify areas for improvement
  • Propose and implement solutions for issues, processes, and system architecture
  • Remotely troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix software, hardware, and networking issues on autonomous surface vehicles operating in the world's oceans and seas
  • Participate in on-call rotations for high impact, high priority issue resolution

What We're Looking For

A high-performing person in this role will be motivated and skilled in the following areas:

  • Loves to solve novel and exciting problems
  • Inspired by helping your peers succeed
  • Dislike solving the same problems, over and over…so you automate or eliminate them
  • Seek to make everyone's job easier by improving workflows
  • Able to quickly understand and navigate sophisticated networked and embedded systems
  • Are comfortable digging through metrics, logs, and whatever else is available to triage and fix an incident
  • Strive to be better, smarter, and faster tomorrow than you are today
  • Like to collaborate with others to solve problems, share knowledge, and provide feedback
  • Can self-assess the needs of a system or team, and make a case to prioritize that work
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced technical environment; willing to work extended hours when necessary

Required Skills

  • At least two years of professional experience supporting software applications and/or embedded systems
  • Linux OS administration (bash, debugging)
  • Obtaining data from monitoring systems (Prometheus, Kibana, Grafana, Elasticsearch, LogicMonitor, Datadog, Cloudwatch, GCP Operations)
  • Configuring and using alert correlation platforms (BigPanda, Moogsoft, ScienceLogic, Tivoli/Netcool, Splunk)
  • Network and message protocols (TCP/IP, HTTP, CAN bus, triaging, packet loss, routing)

Preferred Skills

Systems Operations Engineers at Saildrone are expected to develop a comprehensive understanding of the technologies used across the enterprise. Here's a non-exhaustive list of subject areas where prior knowledge and basic experience would lend itself to high performance.

  • Prior experience in a DevOps, SRE, or Operations Engineer role.
  • Service Operations Framework/Workflows (Incident/Problem/Event/Change Management, DMAIC, Root Cause Analysis)
  • Service-Level Objectives (SLI, SLA, Error Budget)
  • Scripting (Python, JavaScript, Go, C#, Groovy, Shell, PowerShell)
  • Sensor fusion and device integration (C++)
  • Automation Platforms (StackStorm, Rundeck, SALT)
  • Cloud Services and Architecture (AWS, GCP, OpenStack)
  • Logging (SysLog, ELK Stack, Linux Journal, grep)
  • Source Control (GitHub Enterprise, Perforce, SVN)
  • Continuous Integration (Git, CircleCI)
  • Containerization (Docker, Kubernetes, Service Mesh)


Location: This position is in Alameda, CA. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States can be considered.  Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film 'The Matrix'.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.

  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents

  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs

  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan


Catch up on the latest news about us:

An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS (May 6, 2022)

Meet the sailing robots trying to solve climate change – The Hill (Mar. 18, 2022)

They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now these Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN (Dec. 9, 2021)

Saildrone Catches a $100M C Breeze to Build More Robo-boats – TechCrunch (Oct. 18, 2021)

With A Sight, Sound And Radar Picture, Saildrone Could Build An AI Database Of Everything In The Ocean – Forbes (Aug. 16, 2021)

Changing Arctic Environment Could Also Change Technologies Needed to Protect It, Experts Say – SeaPower Magazine (Aug. 2, 2021)

Autonomous Research Vehicle Completes Ocean Crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii – Hydro International (July 13, 2021)

Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist


We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.


In accordance with Saildrone’s mandatory employee COVID-19 vaccination policy, please be advised that all employees are required to be vaccinated and boosted to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our customers and visitors and the community at large.


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