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Software Engineering Manager

Kairos Aerospace

Kairos Aerospace

Software Engineering
Remote · Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2023
About Kairos Aerospace
At Kairos Aerospace, we combine innovative aerospace systems with advanced data science. Unlike traditional aerospace companies, we sell information, not hardware - we operate our sensors cost-effectively at continental scale to produce novel data streams about pressing global problems.
First on our list: spotting hard-to-monitor emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change. Since starting continuous survey operations in 2018, Kairos has removed methane emissions equal to over 9.2 million tonnes of CO2e through our work. To put that in perspective, that’s equivalent to over 2 million cars being removed from the roads for a year or shutting down about seventeen 350 MW coal-fired power plants.
We call that a good start.
As a team, we love science and engineering, we love getting our hands dirty with hardware and software, and we love seeing our work make a difference in the real world.
We’ve created a diverse, collaborative, supportive, and fun environment based on integrity and treating people right. So no matter your gender, gender identity, race, age, beliefs, sexual orientation, or disabilities, we welcome you and would like to work with you. :-)
It’s never boring, it’s always challenging, and we’re usually laughing.
Software Engineering at Kairos
Everything that Kairos does is driven by software, from recording sensor data while flying at 3000', to ephemeral high-scale cloud-native data processing, to computer-aided GIS analysis, to using machine-learning to extract structured information from geopixels.
The software engineering team is involved in every step of our process, building the automation that allows Kairos to not only image things that humans have never seen before but to do it reliably, repeatably, inexpensively, and quickly. (Yes, you can have all four).
We work primarily in Python, with a smattering of Bash, SQL, Terraform, and Typescript when it makes sense.
We work on single-board-computers, field laptops, in virtualized cloud environments, in containers, inside of web browsers, and even inside lab automation frameworks.
We practice compositional engineering, tying together disparate pieces of technology to create novel artifacts that solve real-world problems.
We practice continuous integration and deployment, automated testing, and have a lovely monorepo.
In short, it's a playground for the skilled generalist.
Software Engineering Manager
Our Software Engineering team is comprised of fifteen people. In addition to our VP of Software Engineering and Product Manager, we have twelve software engineers. At the moment, about half of the engineers report to our VP, so we are seeking an experienced Software Engineering manager who can help build, support, and lead our teams as we go through rapid scaling.
We are looking for managers who are able to shift between people leadership and hands-on technical work. We seek professionals who understand the importance of psychological safety. We want our leaders to act as coaches, balancing structure with flexibility so that developers are given clear direction and the resources they need to achieve their goals alongside lots of autonomy.
At Kairos, we solve problems by integrating one or more pieces of new technology, which means that our engineers are tackling novel problems. That’s why we hire people who desire to solve real-world issues over working on technical quandaries in isolation - none of our work fits in neat boxes. Instead, we have a team that is focused on the impact our work can have on the future of life on the planet and prioritizes real-world progress over problem-focus purity.
Salary Range
Nationwide range
$149,600 - $253,000 base USD/year + bonus + equity + 401k w/match
In order to avoid bias and create an equitable salary structure, at Kairos, we are intentional about our pay strategy. We base compensation on current position (role and skill level) as well as location. Since many of our roles are remote, we create a national range for our open positions that is built to cover both low and high cost of living locations. If you live in a low cost of living area, the location-specific range will fall towards the lower end of the nation-wide range. If you live in a high cost of living area, the location-specific range will be on the higher end of the nation-wide range.


  • Use organizational goals to align strategy, process, and decision making such that leadership goals and priorities are set and communicated to the team
  • Work with other leaders in the engineering org to develop, drive, and fine-tune the technical roadmap so that it is nimble enough to accommodate potential upcoming requirements
  • Hold weekly meetings with direct reports to clearly set expectations, review performance and code, provide feedback, and mentor team members on advanced technical issues
  • Ensure team adherence to best practices
  • Act as a coach, guiding engineers toward skill development, career growth, and resources. Empower engineers to do their best work
  • Help engineering team architect and implement well-vetted complex systems at scale
  • Use your expert knowledge in scalability, reliability, system architecture, and engineering best practices to guide engineers as they help design optimal systems
  • Help define our technical architecture and promote solid and coherent architectural strategies to the team


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent hands-on experience
  • 3+ years of experience in software engineering management
  • 5+ years of experience in software engineering (with some Python background)
  • Startup experience
  • The ability to learn quickly in a self-guided manner
  • An intimate understanding of web development along with experience in one of these domains: GIS analysis and processing, scientific data visualization, and software engineering
  • Experience working on customer facing applications and systems. Enjoys collaborating with internal and external customers and working to identify the best solutions to their needs.
  • Experience with the product and project management flows specific to defining new customer facing systems
  • A belief in modern development practices - we do things like code reviews, unit testing, minimal-viable products, and fast development iteration. We eschew the zealous practice of any development-process religion, but we do pick and choose techniques that help us write better software
Life at Kairos
A few important facts about working at Kairos Aerospace:
- We provide health, dental, and vision insurance, including subsidized coverage for dependents. Our 401K plan does matching based on the amount of methane we removed from the atmosphere in a given year.
- We think death-march hours are a bad way to run a company. We expect something approximating a 40-hour workweek, but mostly we just care that your work gets done. No, really. (Full disclosure: we occasionally put in some extra hours during crunch periods, but that is the exception, not the norm).
- We do not track vacation time, nor do we have set hours to be in the office. Instead, we encourage taking real vacations, mental health days, leaving early to pick up the kids, working from home, time-shifting commutes, staying home when you're sick, ducking out to the gym - we believe work time should be flexible.
In this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have transitioned to 100% remote work aside from hardware and flight operations and plan to continue having remote positions in perpetuity.
(We love it when kids make a cameo in a video call.)