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Principal Systems Engineer

Systems Engineering · Perth, Western Australia

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. 

First Mode is seeking a Principal Systems Engineer to work with us on in a full-time capacity. You must have strong capabilities for working these types of problems within a constrained, fast-paced environment. Applicants from all industries are welcome, with particular emphasis in complex, multi-disciplinary system developments.  

Position Responsibilities

  • Support the growth of the technical team through selection, teaching, and mentorship
  • Provide technical leadership to the systems engineering team
  • Represent systems engineering (as a discipline) as a key stakeholder from product/system formulation through design, build, and test
  • Lead and provide guidance in system design reviews, hardware design reviews, and code reviews
  • Support the development of internal technical principles and quality standards, and track compliance with safety regulations, processes, and/or state-of-practice
  • Develop concepts and perform feasibility analysis given an incomplete problem definition
  • Gather and articulate needs & limitations from customers, colleagues, vendors, and physics itself
  • Balance pain among multidisciplinary teams to optimize the whole rather than the part
  • Bring together disparate groups (subsystems, vendors, or clients) to agree on common interfaces
  • Develop and execute integration & test plans focused on requirements verification within programmatic constraints

Basic Qualifications

  • 10+ years of experience in systems engineering
  • 4+ years of experience as an engineering lead
  • Experience architecting complex systems involving hardware

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in systems engineering
  • Experience leading a technical team through all phases of life-cycle development of hardware for a safety-critical system or product
  • Passion for teaching and mentoring others
  • Obsessive focus on clear definition of the need before selecting a solution
  • Solid simulation, analysis, and data interpretation skills
  • Experience in revision control in various forms (git, wiki, or others)
  • Experience in Python, MATLAB, LabVIEW, SolidWorks CAD, and wiki documentation
  • Ability to write and speak clearly about a technical subject matter
  • Flexibility and responsiveness in a fast-paced, dynamic, small team environment


  • First Mode Australia is located in Perth, WA; local or willingness to relocate is preferred


  • Applicants must be eligible for employment within Australia

Benefits & Perks

  • Competitive compensation and bonus structure
  • Paid-for private health insurance (hospital & benefits)
  • 12 week paid parental leave for all parents both secondary and primary carers
  • A culture that encourages professional growth with learning and development reimbursements
  • Open and collaborative workspaces with free office snacks and lunches 


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.