Staff Software Engineer (Data Engineering)

Nov 15, 2023

Herndon, VA , Remote

Staff Software Engineer (Data Engineering)

About Us:

BlackSky is a geospatial intelligence solutions provider that enables organizations to task, collect, and transform data from earth observation, global sensor networks, mobile devices, and social media to deliver on-demand insights about places, events, and assets that are critical to their operations. BlackSky provides satellite collection, data, and cloud based -processing and analytic solutions to organizations that are capitalizing on the exponential growth of a wide range of sensor and collection platforms for delivering the next generation of GEOINT and location intelligence solutions. BlackSky has extensive expertise and capabilities in commercial remote sensing, multi-source analytics, cloud computing, open-source software development, Amazon Web Services, and big data geospatial analytics. BlackSky provides solutions to commercial and government organizations with relevant programs with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), US. Army, and U.S. Air Force Research Labs.

BlackSky is looking for a talented and creative Staff Software Engineer to support the development, operation, and capability evolution of Spectra AI, BlackSky’s cutting-edge AI/ML Platform. As part of the machine learning team, you are instrumental in supporting the automated monitoring mission at BlackSky.  You will help ensure that Spectra AI produces consistent, reliable, and relevant analytics to BlackSky’s growing user base.

This position is a critical element of the BlackSky AI/ML Engineering team and is expected to work collaboratively with internal satellite development teams to ensure success. The ideal candidate has geospatial software engineering, computer vision model deployment, operations, and testing experience; familiarity with satellite imagery or similar datasets; and success working in an agile development environment. Additionally, the ideal candidate has demonstrated the ability to manage their own efforts over a broad scope of work as an independent contributor. Finally, the candidate should be an independent thinker with the demonstrated ability and willingness to lean in to learn new tools, technologies, and approaches to solve new problems. While we would prefer this position to be local to our Herndon, VA office, we are open to candidates in certain remote states. This role reports to the Manager, Machine Learning Operations.


  • Takes project and system level requirements and defines architectures and solutions related to our Computer Vision Training, Inference, and Annotation Pipelines. Proposes solutions to the team including conducting research and trade-off decisions.
  • Decomposes software solutions and design into discrete tasks following an agile software development life cycle including tasking junior engineers.
  • Implements high-quality and production-ready software designs following team coding standards and software best practices.
  • Takes part in the entire project lifecycle from requirements development to deployment.
  • Works with project stakeholders and management team to iterate on and improve product functionality and strategy.
  • Builds geospatial tools and scripts to provide valuable insights to the team and improve overall productivity.
  • Helps to manage and curate all the various types of data required to train high quality computer vision models.
  • Focuses on driving down overall latency in our real time processes, from identifying problem areas to implementing improvements.
  • Other job-related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications:

  • Minimum of 10 years of hands-on experience as a software engineer with at least three years focused on geospatial imagery.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree or higher in one of the following fields: computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics, or another computational field.
  • Demonstrated experience designing and building scalable production software solutions and architectures, especially for machine learning or image processing.
  • Strong Python3 proficiency and experience writing production software for data ETL, micro-services, business intelligence, and cloud deployment.
  • Experience with distributed compute environments such as Kubernetes and Dask.
  • Hands on experience working with large imagery datasets including image normalization, image augmentation, raster/vector visualization, etc.
  • Strong ability to communicate concepts and analytical results with customers, management, and the technical team, highlighting actionable insights.
  • Must be eligible for a US security clearance, which requires US citizenship.
  • You may have some exposure to machine learning. While not a requirement, it would be helpful if you have studied machine learning, statistics, computer vision and would enjoy working with Computer Vision subject matter experts.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Over 12 years of hands-on experience as a software engineer.
  • Knowledge and experience with MLOps and DataOps as a practice.
  • Experience working with geospatial and image software stacks (GDAL, Rasterio, GeoPandas, Shapely, Xarray, Zarr, etc.).
  • Experience with remote sensing datasets and image preprocessing and manipulation methods for sensors such as Sentinel, LandSat, WorldView.
  • Experience with Infrastructure solutions including (scaling and deploying models in the cloud using AWS solutions such as Kubernetes, ClearML, Argo, Airflow, Dask, EC2, S3, Batch).

Life at BlackSky for full-time benefits eligible employees includes:

  • Medical, dental, vision, disability, group term life and AD&D, voluntary life and AD&D insurance

  • BlackSky pays 100% of employee-only premiums for medical, dental and vision and contributes $100/month for out-of-pocket expenses!

  • 15 days of PTO, 11 Company holidays, four Floating Holidays (pro-rated based on hire date), one day of paid volunteerism leave per year, parental leave and more

  • 401(k) pre-tax and Roth deferral options with employer match

  • Flexible Spending Accounts

  • Employee Assistance and Travel Assistance Programs

  • Employer matching donations

  • Professional development

  • Mac or PC? Your choice!

  • Awesome swag

The anticipated salary range for candidates in Seattle, WA is $150,000-175,000 per year. The final compensation package offered to a successful candidate will be dependent on specific background and education. BlackSky is a multi-state employer, and this pay scale may not reflect salary ranges in other states or locations outside of Seattle, WA.

BlackSky is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer All Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.

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.

EEO/AAP/ Pay Transparency Statements:

Join 27696+ Machine Learning Engineers, receiving daily job alerts.