A Day in the Life of a Bear Flag Robotics Engineer
April 20, 2022
Welcome to the Bear Flag Day in the Life blog series, in which we showcase our talented team members – and look behind the scenes at what it’s like to work at Bear Flag HQ. This week, we sat down with Aishvarya Korde, a Software Engineer here at Bear Flag. Here, we talk about her software engineering journey, Bear Flag’s real-world impact on farmers, and her deep interest in robotics.
Hi, Aishvarya! You’ve been a software engineer here for a number of years. When did you realize you wanted to pursue this exciting career?
I was interested in software engineering because of all of the different applications it has in various different fields. I found that there is a huge variety of different roles within Software Engineering that you could pursue, and that is mainly what got me interested in software engineering. I have gotten to do a bunch of different things, and one of the most interesting so far has been working with robots.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your educational background?
I graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a General Engineering degree – I got to study a bunch of different aspects of engineering, including software, mechanical, and electrical, and having a taste of all of the different topics is what got me interested in robotics – which is a combination of many different engineering disciplines.
As your first time working for an AgTech company, could you tell us more about your past experiences? How did you decide to be part of Bear Flag?
Before Bear Flag, I worked at a robotics company that built robotic manipulators of various different sizes and applications. It was a really interesting job experience and I learned a lot, but after the pandemic, I decided it was time for a change. I learned about Bear Flag through a few of my college-mates and heard great things about the team and work culture.
“I have always been interested in AgTech and with the opportunity to work with a smaller team on an interesting robotics project, Bear Flag seemed like a great fit!”
Tell us about your daily routine during work. What is a normal day like for a software engineer at Bear Flag?
We have a hybrid work schedule so I usually go into the office 2-3 times a week. On days I am working from home, I usually have less meetings and mostly focus on heads-down coding to get ready for testing with the team on the tractors. The days I go into the office, I like to spend some time chatting with coworkers – which is always great not only for social reasons, but also super productive for planning projects or brainstorming ideas for new or existing work. I also usually test whatever chunk of software I have been developing, on the tractors – which is definitely a very exciting part of the job.
What has your experience been with Bear Flag’s company culture?
The company culture has been great – everyone is incredibly smart and welcoming, and being a smaller team means that we get to work closely with a bunch of different people and get to know different parts of the tech stack pretty well.
“The company culture is very supportive of curiosity and new ideas and everyone on the team is very receptive to new approaches to solving problems.”
On the flip side, the team is very receptive to concerns as well, which I think is a super important aspect of building a strong team.
What programming languages have you used in the past? What are your top two programming languages?
I’ve used Python, Matlab, C++, and ROS for the most part, and have been most comfortable with ROS, C++ and Python lately, all of which are used at Bear Flag.
Following any software engineering trends lately?
It’s always fun to see what’s going on in the computer vision/machine learning communities, and of course crypto – although I’m not super informed about all that’s going on in crypto.
What are your long-term goals and objectives, both personally as a software engineer, and for Bear Flag?
“I think one of the most exciting things about working at Bear Flag is seeing our tech having an immediate real-world impact on the lives of farmers. The thought of changing what agriculture looks like in the near future is super motivating and I would love to continue seeing Bear Flag at the forefront of this effort.”
Personally, I want to continue working on tech that improves lives and brings technological solutions to fields that haven’t historically relied on deep tech – like farming.
What parts of Bear Flag’s mission do you most connect with?
Bear Flag’s main mission is to stay customer-focused, in our case it’s farmer-focused.
“I think Bear Flag does an amazing job of putting the farmers’ needs first and designing engineering solutions on their input and feedback.”
It’s easy to get lost in the technical world and lose sight of what exactly the end-user wants, but Bear Flag has been great at breaking down the wall and maintaining a tight relationship with our farmers, which has made our product that much better.
What’s the most unique part about working for Bear Flag?
I don’t come from an agricultural background and so being able to casually drive tractors as a part of my job has been by far the most unique experience so far at Bear Flag!
What advice do you have for aspiring software engineers and those interested in a career in agriculture technology?
I think the most important part about pursuing any career is to be interested and excited by whatever you’re doing.
“I’ve found that trying new and different things is the best way to learn what your interests are. That, and finding a team of people you want to work with is incredibly important.”
There are many companies working on super cool projects in AgTech so finding a few of those companies and chatting with current employees is a great way to learn whether or not it’s a good career fit for you.