Embedded Systems Engineer [JOb 205]

Seattle, WA, United States

First Mode draws on the exceptional talent and creativity of its multidisciplinary team to solve the toughest problems on and off the planet. We help companies, governments, and individuals from the earliest stages of problem definition to prototype creation and demonstration. A continual desire to discover and invent has led our team to drill into the unknown surface of Mars, electrify large industrial equipment, and apply remote sensing technologies to water conservation. 

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 industries. If you have exceptional talent and a vision for the future, we want to talk.

First Mode is seeking to add new members to its electrical engineering team focused on the development of embedded systems. Embedded computing systems are a ubiquitous part of our solutions and we develop custom hardware to meet challenging system constraints. This position by its nature is primarily hardware driven, but a good understanding of the software, thermal and other aspects of an embedded system are also required.

The ideal candidate exhibits a passion and dedication to the art of electrical engineering and embedded systems development. The ability to dive into a new platform and system and rapidly acclimate and learn its behaviors, errata and why those occur is required. Being able to breakdown an electrical problem to first principles and exhaustively investigate the problem is a must. A self-starting attitude and desire to learn everything about the system under design from all disciplines and team members is desired.

Position Responsibilities

Working in a small team of engineers, you will help build the hardware that drives our solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Your hardware will be the foundation our robotic systems and translate our system designs into reality.

  • Design and build embedded system hardware (schematic capture, PCB layout, test plans)

  • Work closely with firmware engineers in developing embedded systems

  • Represent electrical engineering (as a discipline) as a stakeholder from product / system formulation through design, build and test

  • Participate in system design reviews, hardware design reviews and code reviews

  • 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

Required Qualifications: 

  • Strong electrical engineering fundamentals in EE discplines of circuit theory and electronics

  • Proficient in component selection and integration for a complete embedded system (e.g. power electronics and conversion, analog circuits, sensors, memories)

  • Proficiency in schematic capture and PCB layout software (Altium Designer preferred)

  • Proficiency with common electrical engineering design and simulation software (e.g. LTSpice, PSPice)

  • Programming Languages: Proficiency with embedded C is required. Proficiency in a scripting language such as Python or Tcl, and system shell languages such as Bash is also required.

  • Proficiency with soldering iron, hot air gun and basic rework techniques

  • Proficient in embedded systems debugging techniques; usage of software/hardware debuggers, emulators and protocols (e.g., JTAG, SWD)

  • Proficient with common embedded systems communications protocols (SPI, I2C, CAN, RS-422/485) — applications and implementation

  • Experience with software configuration management tools/methods (e.g., Git, Subversion)

  • A knack for thinking about how the parts of a system work together

  • Ability to write and speak clearly about technical subject matter

  • Flexibility and responsiveness in a fast-paced, dynamic, small team environment

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience through a complete product lifecycle (requirements, design, build, test, manufacturing)

  • Experience working on prototype, low-volume hardware

  • Completed a design from schematic capture through PCB layout and manufacturing

  • Proficient in signal integrity analysis, and EMI/EMC best practices

  • Experience in using small tools (crimpers, strippers) in harness build and construction

  • Experience in designing for test and manufacturing (DFT/DFM)

  • Experience in a strenuous, fast-paced team design project (e.g., Formula SAE, Solar Challenge, ACM, IEEE Design Competitions)

  • Proficiency in Mandarin suitable for technical documentation and interchange


  • This position will be located at First Mode’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington


  • Applicants must be eligible for employment within the United States of America

Apply or ask a question: Please e-mail your resume (and cover letter if you’d like) to careers@firstmode.com with “Job 205” in the subject line.

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.