Systems Test Engineer

  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Apr 30, 2021

Job Description

The Mission

The electrical grid was built to carry electricity unidirectionally from central fossil fuel plants to end consumers. As we transition to a renewable future built from rooftop solar and community storage, the grid itself needs an overhaul. Span’s goal is to re-invent the grid from a clean slate to enable that transition, envisioning a grid made of distributed control systems and software as much as copper wires.

To accomplish this, we are upgrading the breaker panel — the humble box sitting at the center of every building’s electrical wiring — to monitor, control, and make decisions about energy. This converts buildings from passive consumers in a centralized fossil fuel grid to active participants in the emerging distributed energy market.

Span’s unique commitment to clean-slate “right architecture” and our zealotry for top-caliber customer experience position us as domain leaders in envisioning the distributed grid and have allowed us to achieve rapid growth and high visibility in the industry in the two years since we launched.

The Role

We aim to establish the Span panel as the center of home energy and the backbone of the renewable distributed grid. To accomplish this, we will have to integrate with everything — or at least with every solar inverter, every storage battery, and every high-power smart appliance we can get our hands on.

Designing and sustaining this broad and high-quality portfolio of technical integrations is the core mission of our Systems team. Our team drives systems architecture, does systems integration, root-causes problems, and builds internal infrastructure to keep our energy platform running smoothly and reliably.

As our lead systems test engineer, your responsibility will be to own the integration between the Span panel and our growing list of technology partners. You will become our in-house expert on all aspects of the devices with which we integrate (power electronics, firmware, communications) and how our panel coordinates with them. You’ll be involved through the entire integration process, from initial design to lab testing and finally to remote monitoring in the field.

  • Develop a deep understanding of the inverters, energy storage systems, EV chargers, and appliances we’re integrating with: read their manuals cover to cover, install and operate them in the lab

  • Lead lab testing for our integrations: figure out how to exhaustively test integrations, then do it; try to break things; characterize the integrated system (e.g. response time)

  • Serve as technical point of contact to engineering teams from other companies

  • Use fleet data to monitor device health in the field and solve problems

  • Reproduce and root-cause issues from the field; work with the team to develop and test fixes

Note: We’re a startup, so while this list is broad, it’s still just a start; you’ll end up wearing many hats during your time at Span.

About You

Required Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or related field

  • 5+ years' professional hands-on experience with energy storage, inverter, EVSE, or similar hardware products (testing, firmware/hardware development, or systems integration)

  • First-rate understanding of electromagnetism, power electronics, and electrical engineering fundamentals; comfort reading PCBA schematics

  • Comfort using and reasoning about all manner of communications protocols (REST, CAN, Modbus, etc)

  • Extensive experience using oscilloscopes and other electrical instrumentation (logic analyzer, power analyzer, etc)

  • Comfort working with embedded systems — reading source code, reasoning about state machines, etc.

  • Comfort with some kind of data analysis environment (Matlab, Python/Pandas, R, JMP, etc.)

  • Solid hands-on electrical skills (wiring, soldering, etc.)

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

  • Ability to understand and explain complex problems simply and effectively

  • A hacker’s instinct for making things work

Bonus Qualifications
  • Comfort working with SQL and data visualization tools

  • Experience working with field data and doing remote troubleshooting/diagnostics

  • Experience programming in Python, Javascript, other scripting languages

Life at Span

Span is a startup based in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. We are a small, diverse team of creative thinkers. We value open communication, teamwork, and a make-it-happen attitude - no job is too big or too small. We strive to make change by imagining what the future could be and building a product to complete that vision. We are looking to grow our team with talented people who are on the same mission to shape the future of energy.

Working at Span, you can expect:

  • Competitive compensation at a well-funded, venture-backed company

  • Comprehensive benefits including a choice of medical plans; dental, vision, life and disability insurance

  • A sunny, airy office located close to BART and Caltrain public transit

  • Regular team lunches, brown bag learning opportunities, board games nights, and other opportunities to connect with teammates - in-person and now virtually

  • Equity grants at a quickly-growing startup

  • Flexible hours and vacation time - we simultaneously work hard and make space for the important stuff

  • To be a part of a team and culture that is hard-working, has a good sense of humor, values collaboration, and is just a little bit nerdy 

Span embraces diversity and equal opportunity in a serious way. We are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. The more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.

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