[FRC Blog] Come Work for FIRST Robotics Competition

Posted on the FRC Blog, 5/6/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-come-work-for-first-robotics-competition

Come Work for FIRST Robotics Competition

2022 MAY 06 | Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition

Actually, working for FIRST is much more pleasant than this, but just as exciting!

Are you looking for a job in which you can help change the world, or know someone who is? We’ve got openings for just such jobs!

FIRST Robotics Competition currently has openings for two Mechanical Engineers and a Mechanical Engineering Senior Manager. The Senior Manager position is responsible for all Mechanical Engineering activities in FIRST Robotics Competition along with managing the shop activities. All three of these positions will have a significant impact on the future of the program, with support for game design being a core responsibility.

Also, my position, Senior Director*, will be posted publicly soon. We’ll let you know when it’s up!

Please share these posts far and wide, and if you are interested in any of these jobs and think you may be qualified, apply, apply, apply!

Frank

*There is no non-Senior Director. This was a title-only change FIRST made some time ago for reasons.

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Frank was initially promoted to Director, but almost immediately his hair started to turn gray, prompting FIRST Senior Leadership to add the “Senior” modifier to his title. Henceforward, the FRC Program will only have Senior Directors. Lesson learned.

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The “White House effect” spares no prisoners

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Don’t know if it is just me, but when I go to this link from the blog post, Careers | FIRST, 2 of the links to job openings fail with the site can’t be reached, and 1 links to a page that says the position is not currently open.

The Senior Manager, Software Development link appears to lead to a “hiring for this position has been put on hold at this time” page, but I’m able to get to the following pages for the Mechanical Engineering positions:

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What’s going on at FIRST that there is all of sudden multiple openings? Are these new positions or are people leaving/retiring?

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There’s a lot of openings everywhere. Pandemic realigned a lot of peoples priorities.

I know one of my former employers has had their usually low attrition double this year. And even at my current place I see a lot of people moving either into other product areas or leaving for other roles.

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I expect it’s also that staff who were considering leaving waited until the end of the season to put in notice. If I had to guess it’s less that all of a sudden a bunch of people are putting in notice and more that we’re seeing 6+ months of people who were thinking about leaving deciding this is the right time.

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It’s also not all of a sudden. We don’t get a blog post every time there’s a job opening at HQ. These jobs come and go on their site all the time, because they have a ton of employees. I’m guessing we got a blog post because they think that many alumni and mentors are potential good fits for these positions, so it merited some extra advertising.

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Interesting that Senior Director is going to be publicly posted. I kind of figured FIRST would handle it like they did their recent President/CEO searches, but I guess this isn’t really an “executive” position for FIRST as a whole even if it feels like one as a participant. I think this is a good thing in this case though, it’ll allow more community members and/or people with past experience running robotics competitions to have a shot at the job who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.

So to whichever one of us gets the job, godspeed and make your last CD post a good one!

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gosh i do hope it’s someone who’s been involved in FRC, ideally an alumni

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There’s a few points here:

  • There are sometimes rules requiring job listings to be made publicly available (this prevents things like hiring internal candidates or those with connections without providing equal opportunity)

  • A nationwide search/headhunter situation can happen in tandem with a public posting to diversify the applicant pool

  • Lots of times, organizations end up interviewing a bunch of people to learn that their best candidate was internal all along

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@AllenGregoryIV, it’s your time to shine

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I tried to apply to work for FIRST once. An employee at the Midwest regional told me I would be more valuable to FIRST as a volunteer than an employee. If you work for FIRST you don’t get to volunteer much.

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Is this true?

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I mean, I suppose it’s relative, but FIRST has a lot of employees that many participants don’t even know exist. Each geographic area has a field operations staff member, there are finance/fundraising/marketing folks, safety/liability/legal/HR, engineers of all kinds, people that handle logistics, etc.

Per FIRST’s tax forms, they had 233 employees in 2019 and 239 employees in 2018. I’d say that’s a lot.

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I’m not sure if there is a salary range listed, I didn’t see one, but I interviewed for a Software Engineering Position a couple years ago at FIRST and the salary was not competitive at all compared to other jobs in the area and in general. I had another offer in a lower cost of living area with a higher salary with no negotiation.

Not saying this position is like that, but be careful!

Non profits tend to pay less well.

From the non profit I used to be at I’ve gone up 40% in base salary in 4 years. Total comp is nearly 3x (there’s compounding factors there. Target comp is closer to 2x)

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I also just wanted to say salary isn’t everything as well. Obviously there are other factors too :slight_smile:

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1000x this.

I strongly considered returning back to that non profit because I care about their mission. Unfortunately some policy decisions they made post pandemic meant that was a non starter for me.

But it is a consideration for a lot of folks. Benefits and comp are a huge concern.

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