Senior Staff Engineer - Systems Architect

Job Location: 
San Diego, CA
Base + Bonus + RSUs


Job Description: 

The Systems Architect will be responsible for providing leadership to cross functional teams to develop industry-leading DNA sequencing instruments in an exciting, fast-paced environment. The position involves understanding high level customer needs, deriving the specifications that support these needs, and driving diverse engineering teams to accomplish those requirements against schedule, cost, and resource constraints. The foundation of all activities for this role is a wide, solid grasp of multiple areas of engineering physics, but especially optical, precision mechanical, and thermal systems. The candidate will leverage this knowledge to develop first order system models to guide architecture decisions and leverage strong organizational skills to communicate across hardware, consumable, firmware, software, and chemistry teams. The candidate will have a good mix of extensive education and practical experience bringing products from concept to commercial launch.

Job Activities:

• Understand customer needs and translate these into system and sub-system requirements. Own traceability matrix, tracking that design meets specification
• Lead the architecture definition by working across sub-system design teams to align overlapping design requirements /constraints and drive teams in developing concepts, evaluating risks, and efficiently concluding on a design path
• Develop first order system models that guide design decisions. These can include system tolerance budgets, performance models, COGS models, etc. Provide mentorship to sub-system engineers in the development of lumped parameter models that guide lower level design decisions
• Own the seams between teams, especially including the definition and documentation of inputs/outputs between hardware sub-system design and other teams such as software, firmware and electrical engineering teams
• Lead teams through complex root-cause analysis in which there are many possible root causes that involve various areas of physics
• Manage teams and projects including planning, scheduling, budgeting, and reporting. Teams will include both internal engineering teams and external design & manufacturing partners
• Drive the product from concept to launch, coordinating design teams with NPI & manufacturing teams, as well as driving complete documentation efforts


Required Skills & Experience:

• M.S. or Ph.D. in Engineering or Physics with at least 5-7 years of experience in instrumentation design
• Strong analytical background, with record of using first order models to drive decisions
• Demonstrated experience with characterization and testing of complex precision assemblies, including design of experiments and root cause analysis
• Proven performance in product development in an industrial setting, bringing a product from concept to commercial launch
• Experience managing external vendors for delivery of a complex assembly, guiding technical decisions and managing to schedule and budget
• Demonstrated track record of rapidly climbing steep learning curves. Enthusiasm for tackling tough problems on an aggressive schedule
• Strong communication and presentation skills (ability to distill complex technical information into product decisions and business recommendations)

Preferred Skills & Experience:

• Ph.D. in Mechanical or Optical Engineering with at least 5 years of experience in instrumentation design.
• Experience with a wide range of manufacturing technologies including high precision techniques, low cost/high volume techniques, and micro-fabrication techniques
• Fluency in the methods and vocabulary of nucleic acid analytical techniques
• Specific experience with product development for laboratory instrumentation for biological analysis

Illumina is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

About Our Organization: 

About Illumina
Illumina ( is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and function. We provide innovative sequencing and array-based solutions for genotyping, copy number variation analysis, methylation studies, gene expression profiling, and low-multiplex analysis of DNA, RNA, and protein. We also provide tools and services that are fueling advances in consumer genomics and diagnostics. Our technology and products accelerate genetic analysis research and its application, paving the way for molecular medicine and ultimately transforming healthcare.