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Software Designer

In a nutshell:

IDEO Palo Alto is in search of a Software Designer who will leverage an understanding of software to design and deliver innovative solutions that address core user needs.

Why is this role important for IDEO’s work?

Software Designers make the biggest impact through grounded technical “hard” skills in precise execution of craft, as well as through “soft skills” of technical thinking applied generatively to the design process. Their skillset is critical to our work/business because they are instrumental in guiding teams to deliver and position great design for impact.

We count on Software Designers to inspire teams of the possibilities enabled by software, computing, and programmatic thinking, providing unorthodox ways to push design. They first-hand enact our mission of humanizing technology: starting from first principles to ask the right questions, of people, technology, and systems.

Once here you will:

  • Go out in the field to build empathy for people’s needs first-hand through things like watching a surgical procedure, exploring the house of a hoarder, or flying a flight simulator
  • Debrief and discuss user feedback with cross-disciplinary teams in order to synthesize research into meaningful design iterations
  • Work with a diverse set of stakeholders (coworkers, clients, technical/domain experts and mentors) to communicate complex concepts and complete projects
  • Share techniques and approaches with other designers—from the software design discipline to interaction design, business design, industrial design, game design, and beyond
  • Innovate new approaches to bridge technology-to-people and people-to-technology, per the needs of projects: from how and when to develop software, to how to ask the right questions, to live prototyping in the field, to a fully working proof of concept.

What does IDEO offer you?

IDEO is a place unlike any other. It’s a place where you can solve complex challenges for our clients or the organization, alongside thoughtful individuals who lead with curiosity, empathy, and optimism. Sure we work hard, but we also craft moments that allow our community to pause, create, and connect. We encourage our community to bring their whole selves to work, respect the need for work-life balance, and allow for autonomy in the design process and your career.

As a Software Designer in Palo Alto, we provide the opportunity for you to:

  • Participate in the full design process, from talking with users to identifying potential opportunities, to delivering a great software product.
  • Solve problems in a broad set of domains, ranging from health, consumer technology, and mobility.
  • Explore and develop concepts with emerging technologies, such as new user interaction technologies, computer vision, or machine learning.

Some previous projects to check out:

  • Redesigning Voting With LA County - As part of a multidisciplinary team, Software Designers designed and developed an integrated hardware and software experience to deliver a more fair access and intuitive voting experience for the citizens of LA county.
  • Designing the Future Kitchen - Software Designers participated in the envisioning of what the future kitchen of 2025 would look like, which included the development of a computer vision driven prototype of the kitchen table of the future, which was presented in an installation at the Milan World Expo.

Relevant experience and mindset:

The Basics

  • MS in Computer Science or similar field; or equivalent work experience
  • 3-5+ years delivering products to market that demonstrate strong product sense and a high level of empathy for the end user
  • A depth in software with engineering experience on production applications and a clear understanding of what it takes to bring a product to market
  • Ability to learn new tools and languages quickly and do self-guided work
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills

What gets us excited

We are particularly interested in candidates that have demonstrated skills in one or more of the following focus areas:

  • Physical/Digital. You’re a Creative Technologist who works with software and hardware to create connected installations, experiences, and augmented objects. Your skills may include electrical engineering, micro-controllers, sensors, creative coding, or robotics.
  • Emergent Interactions. You’re a pioneering Software-meets-Interaction Designer who works with emergent edge technology to explore new interactions at the frontier of what’s possible. You’ve dabbled, but have focus in a specialization ranging from computer vision, to chatbots, to augmented/mixed reality, to blockchain.
  • Computational Design. You’re a Generative Technologist. A pattern recognizer. A problem classifier. You works with algorithms or simulations to crack challenges that humans alone can’t compute. Your toolkit of tactics may include procedural design, machine learning, or neural networks.
  • Digital Product. You’re a rare user-centered Engineer/Designer/Unicorn. You bring strong front-end skills with full stack potential to craft product, aligning user needs and client objectives. You understand web or device-native development, along with the iterative agile dev process, and how to position products for scale and impact. You have a secret crush on business design.
  • Digital Immersion. You’re an Illusion Technologist, crafting intangibles like “feeling,” via code. You guide people across the uncanny valley by working with software to create immersive experiences, games, or interactive narratives. You can reach deep into the inner nature of physics and computer graphics, and apply that to 2D/3D or VR, with tools like Unity.
  • Strategic Systems. You’re a Systems Whisperer, known for nonlinear problem solving and reliably predicting the future. You work with software to construct interdependent, multi-faceted systems, demonstrating nuanced understanding of information flow, inputs & outputs, choice, behavior, and feedback.

Application requirements and instructions:

Please share 2 projects that best represent your capabilities and interests, and that demonstrate deep technical expertise in at least one platform, language, or domain. Please include links to your Github repos, blog and/or website.

We will begin screening applications from mid-January 2018. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be in touch immediately.

Equal Opportunity Employer

IDEO is an equal opportunity employer; applicants are considered for all roles without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, citizenship status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, veteran or military status, unfavorable military discharge, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law.