Collected thoughts on finding jobs in climate change as a software engineer. Edits and suggestions welcome!


Some personal experiences

Thoughts from @Cate Levey (chemist/materials scientist, Impossible Foods)


Re Food

Food is definitely an area with lots of exciting things happening these past few years!

I highly highly recommend subscribing to the newsletter Food+Tech Connect. That's the best way I've found to stay up to date on new companies (who might be hiring) and ideas.

An area that's a possible intersection of software/data and food is food waste. I don't have good recommendations in that area but you should def go through the Food+Tech Connect articles on their website and look -- there are plenty of companies working on it. That's a HUGE climate low hanging fruit.

In general, food companies are pretty old school, and we don't use/need much advanced software. This xkcd comes to mind.

Even at the food tech companies like Impossible, we are doing experiments and making empirical observations -- not that much software. There are some companies that claim to use AI to formulate (see: NOT Co from South America, Climax from Berkeley). However, the people I work with who are knowledgeable about the area are pretty skeptical and we're fairly sure it's more marketing rather than useful tools. We have a lot of extremely smart PhD's with programming skills at Impossible and have consistently found doing experiments is more useful than programming. Science, especially the very creative science going on at most of these food tech companies, is an area that you just can't outsource or automate.

That said, the tools for data that most people use are pretty bad for even basic scientific data. For example, Excel and google sheets both will delete your significant! figures, and google data studio doesn't even let you do error bars!(!! wtf. Same with Tableau). So there is room for improvement in some of the basic tools - esp if you work at one of those companies, make it easier for us scientists! The barrier to learning new software is pretty high, though; most food companies and even food tech companies are very traditional. Some good tools exist, but they aren't very widespread due to the learning curve. If you could make changes to Excel or Google Sheets that'd be amazing.