Device Software Engineer (IoT / Sensors)
Oakland, CA
Mid-level · Full time
Posted 10 months ago

About Yard Stick PBC

Yard Stick is an early-stage startup focused on gigaton-scale soil carbon sequestration by reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement by 90%. To do this, we are building a novel spectroscopic soil probe which uses published machine learning techniques to quickly and accurately measure carbon in soils (yes it’s literally groundbreaking). We work closely with a team of amazing soil scientists to ensure scientific rigor at every step. For more background, check out this profile in TechCrunch.

About the Role

In this role, you will lead Yard Stick’s on-device software development. You are responsible for making sure our little handheld carbon-measuring devices operate reliably and intuitively, ensuring they collect high-quality data, and delivering that data to our data science team. You will work closely with our mechanical and electrical engineers, data scientists, and field teams who are using (and occasionally breaking) the device. You should be excited about having climate impact, working on small, creative teams, and getting hands-on with dirty hardware. 

The Yard Stick soil probes are handheld devices packed with over a dozen sensors and a spectrometer, used to capture soil data in unprecedented resolution. The devices run primarily Python code on an embedded raspberry pi. The devices need to detect very small changes in soil properties, so sensor data fidelity and accuracy are paramount, as well as ensuring consistency across devices.

Yard Stick already has a few prototype devices deployed with our field team this fall, with a few dozen planned for deployment next year.  This role brings the opportunity to grow a project from prototype to a smoothly operating and maintainable machine. You will immediately be responsible for supporting and expanding the capabilities of in-field devices, monitoring and improving sensor data quality and calibrations, and working with the hardware team to design the next generation of devices.You will eventually need to manage data and software across a large number of deployed devices.

Yard Stick is a remote-first company with cofounders in Oakland, Chicago, and Boston, but prefer our hardware team (including this job) to be based in the SF Bay area. Our hardware team is currently centered in Oakland, CA and we may open a hardware-focused lab here in the future.


  • Owning device software development and sensor data delivery
  • Deploying and managing software on a fleet of deployed devices
  • Delivering high-quality, calibrated sensor data to data science team
  • Creating and maintaining software for working with the soil probes.
  • Play a key role in development of a novel carbon measurement technology
  • Writing low-level drivers to integrate new sensors
  • Collecting user feedback to improve device usability and user joy
  • Working with data science team to ensure data quality
  • Working with mechanical and electrical engineers to develop next-generation devices


  • 3+ years relevant experience
  • Competency with Python 
  • Experience building and maintaining Linux-based hardware
  • Familiarity with sensor data collection and calibration
  • Value generosity, honesty, accountability, diversity, and curiosity!
  • Passion for having climate impact
  • Enthusiasm to learn, teach, and collaborate

Bonus Qualifications

  • Data engineering or machine learning experience
  • Experience targeting a Raspberry Pi
  • Experience developing for remote systems
  • Experience with spectroscopic data
  • Familiarity working at the software/hardware interface (I2C-connected devices, power management, reading schematics)

More About Yard Stick PBC

Yard Stick is an early-stage soil carbon measurement startup on a mission to stop climate change with agriculture. Scientists and farmers alike know that climate-friendly agricultural practices have the potential to remove atmospheric CO2 at gigaton/year scale. When these practices are adopted, more carbon is stored in soils, improving soil health and fighting climate change. But significant measurement challenges have held soil carbon efforts back - until now.

By reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement by 90%+, Yard Stick will dramatically expand the opportunities for evidence-based regenerative practices to simultaneously improve ecosystem health, increase farmer income, and combat climate change.

Current soil carbon measurement technologies are slow, expensive, and cumbersome, relying on conventional soil cores and labs to quantify carbon stocks. In contrast, Yard Stick is fast and cheap - without sacrificing accuracy. Alongside our scientific collaborators, we were awarded a $3.6M grant from the DOE ARPA-E Smartfarm program in fall 2020 and are backed by top climate VCs.

You will be joining a small team, united by our passion to fight climate change and pursue justice. We are driven by a set of core values which you should ask us about. We foster a playful and collaborative culture with happy and healthy work-life balance. We work hard to build a culture where everyone feels confident sharing their ideas, problem-solving happens openly and collaboratively, and mistake-making is welcomed. Yard Stick is a place where personal growth is highly valued… and in fact required if we’re going to accomplish our ambitious goals.

Compensation and Other Details

  • Market bay-area salary. 
  • Generous equity. We offer to extend post-termination exercise periods when you leave so you don’t get screwed out of your options.
  • Unlimited PTO and sick leave and paid caregiver leave. 6 weeks primary caregiver (fka “maternity leave”), 2 weeks secondary caregiver (fka “paternity leave”). Caregiver leave extends to adoption and other non-childbirth contexts. 
  • Health insurance reimbursement. You buy your own insurance and we reimburse 80% of your premiums.

How To Apply

Please email Kevin Meissner at with the subject “Software Engineer” and include a recent resume.

In that same email, briefly answer the following Qs, and we’ll follow up ASAP:

  • Why you’re interested in the role
  • A few sentences about your relevant experience and interests
  • How you heard about this role, if it’s not obvious
Yard Stick PBC
Soil Carbon Revealed
Size:  1-10 employees
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