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Principal Software Architect

Software Engineering · Seattle, Washington

First Mode is a creative engineering company solving the toughest problems on and off the planet, with the goal of having an outsized impact on the world around us. We build the barely possible.  

From our state-of-the-art manufacturing and production facilities in Seattle and Perth, we design and deliver resilient, reliable solutions for the most demanding and constrained frontiers in existence. In the last year our engineers built a 2MW hydrogen fuel cell and battery powerplant to retrofit a three-story, 300-metric-ton-capacity diesel haul truck; designed the power source and refueling system for the world’s first endurance race vehicle to be powered by liquid hydrogen; and delivered spaceflight hardware headed 370 million kilometers from Earth to asteroid 16 Psyche. 

While each project is unique, we typically meld together robotics, automation, systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and advanced fabrication to create a new future across many industries. If you have exceptional talent and a vision for the future, we want to talk. 

The ideal candidate has a passion for breaking down complex problems and architecting solutions which can then be implemented by a team. A self-starting attitude and desire to learn everything about the system under design from all disciplines and team members is desired.

Position Responsibilities

  • Define and develop system architectures, then lead teams to build and deliver
  • Develop software requirements for projects and products
  • Support the development of internal technical principles and quality standards
  • Support the growth of the technical team through teaching and mentorship
  • Contribute to projects through hands-on involvement in software development, test, and integration
  • Work effectively in a fast-paced, dynamic team environment 
  • Travel within the United States and internationally to represent First Mode to its customers, vendors, and partners

Basic Qualifications

  • Experience leading a technical team through all phases of project lifecycle
  • Experience with high-reliability software development, deployment, and operation to standards such as ISO 26262, IEC 61508, IEC 62304 or a relevant industry standard for high-reliability software development
  • Experience with architecting complex software systems involving hardware (sensors, actuators, etc.)

Preferred Qualifications

  • Have experienced one or more complete product lifecycles
  • Possess a diverse experience base, with comprehension of low and high-level software
  • Experience in development within a multi-disciplinary team; the ability to “reach across the aisle” to other engineering disciplines to arrive at a functional total system
  • Experience in real-time embedded systems, mission-critical software, and distributed software systems
  • Experience instrumenting software systems with relevant telemetry, then managing and analyzing the resultant (large) data sets
  • Passion for teaching and mentoring others
  • Strong coding and debugging skills in C/C++ and Python, and the hard-won real world lessons to prove it


  • This position will be located at First Mode’s headquarters in Seattle, WA and will be required to work in office >60% of working hours


  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here. 

Benefits & Perks

  • Competitive compensation and bonus structure
  • 100% employer-paid health insurance (medical, dental, vision)
  • Flexible PTO with 12 week supplementary paid parental leave
  • 401(k) retirement account with a discretionary employer match
  • Commuter benefits (parking and public transportation)
  • A culture that encourages professional growth with learning and development reimbursements
  • Open and collaborative workspaces with free office snacks and lunches
  • Hybrid work model


First Mode is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with First Mode is governed on the basis of merit, competence, and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.