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Principal Backend Engineer



Software Engineering
Auckland, New Zealand
Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2024
The future of food production hinges on an important question: How do we feed the world’s growing population without compromising our natural resources? Farmers feed our population and hold the keys to vital climate solutions. At Halter, we’re on a mission to enable farmers to run the most productive and sustainable farms. Farmers are using Halter to break free from the time-intensive constraints of conventional farming. They’re growing more grass, increasing production and improving the health and wellbeing of their cattle.
We bridge deep tech into farming. Halter enables farmers to remotely shift, virtually fence and proactively monitor their cows’ health and behaviour. Can you imagine watching 500 dairy cows turn in unison and walk calmly towards the milking shed? Or beef cattle, behind virtual fences, happily grazing with their calves? No quad bikes, no dogs, no fences. Just a mob of cows walking at their own pace. People say it looks like magic. Our customers are revolutionizing farming with Halter. It's changing lives and transforming an industry.
People join Halter because they want to do meaningful work. By joining us you’ll be solving challenging problems within a talented team and a culture built for high performance. Our team out-think, out-work and out-care. We’re committed to delivering real change in the world - this isn’t easy, and in truth, we love that it’s hard. We’re backed to deliver on a mission that matters by Tier 1 investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC, Blackbird, Promus Ventures, Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck and Icehouse ventures.
To find out more, visit our careers website, LinkedIn & Instagram.
About the role
Physical fencing has been a barrier to rotational grazing on both dairy and beef farms. It’s been expensive, labour-intensive, and restrictive. Come play your part in building a product that unlocks and improves on our remote shifting and virtual fencing functionalities of our collar, and therefore a more sustainable future for dairy & beef farming in New Zealand and beyond.
We are looking for a Principal Backend Engineer who is hungry to make an impact on the world; people from all backgrounds who can continue to make our team greater than the sum of its parts. This role at Halter is a special one: alongside our Director of Animal you’ll be responsible for the technical direction and continual improvement of our guidance systems (virtual fencing and remote shifting of cows) which is crucial for the wellbeing of our farmer’s cows. You will become a domain expert in both backend engineering within the Halterverse, an expert at farming practices and animal behaviour, and a coach to our highly capable backend engineers.
We're looking for candidates who are comfortable working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. You will be comfortable with working with teams to solve hard, high-stakes problems. You will exercise a high level of responsibility for both the product we deliver, and the team that delivers it. You will become highly invested in Halter's mission. You will become invested in the growth of our engineering practices. You will become invested in the growth of our technical staff.

What your day could look like

  • Architect highly reliable systems, solving complex problems. Hands-on back-end development delivering tested and reliable software through to production
  • Devise novel algorithms to address the needs of your domain
  • Work with Product, Customer Success and Farm R&D to formulate technical strategies for solving business problems with real-world impact
  • Work with backend engineering colleagues to help to navigate them through problems, and grow their ability to do so
  • Work with the engineering practices to implement minimal processes suitable for the Halter environment, with multiplicative impact
  • Stay up-to-date with your area of expertise and ensure the team is aware of new technological advances and better ways of working
  • Ensure our production systems deliver reliable and uninterrupted service. Resolve issues with a high level or responsiveness, and action measures to ensure they don’t reoccur
  • And finally, this is a start-up, so you’ll also be rolling your sleeves up and helping with whatever is required to succeed in our mission, knowing that the whole organisation is with you doing the same.

What we’re looking for

  • Someone product-oriented who cares about the experience they deliver
  • An exceptional level of technical capability, having substantial experience operating at a system-wide level
  • You are highly proficient in contemporary backend engineering. You have recent hands-on experience architecting and implementing backend services. You keep track of recent developments and trends in the space. You know what good looks like, and you can both lead by example and coach others to appreciate quality output
  • You’re a force multiplier, with the ability to exert influence to help navigate the technical team, grow technical team capabilities and ultimately increase our capacity to solve hard problems
  • As well as a highly-skilled technical expert, you’re a coach and mentor for other engineers, teaching them to navigate problems, refine their processes and lead by example
  • You are extremely autonomous, with the ability to take high-level direction and distil them into an execution plan with the team
  • You’re a pragmatist, capable of balancing designs and execution with near-term goals with longer-term implications
  • Importantly, we're looking for someone who is super passionate about what they do and will never stop learning.

Why our team loves working at Halter ❤️

  • Dedicate yourself to solving real-world problems alongside an epic team in a culture designed around growth.
  • A genuine and shared connection to our mission to make a difference in the world.
  • The pride of joining an iconic New Zealand technology company. The excitement, risk, and reward of a high-growth technology scale-up on the global stage.
  • Our ideas are truly valued, we are able to move fast, and our impact is real.
  • State-of-the-art, dog-friendly office that’s been thoughtfully designed right in the heart of Auckland city. Did we mention dogs and cows?
  • Healthy body, healthy mind. We’re partnered with Southern Cross Health Insurance to support your well-being.
  • We offer 6 months of fully paid parental leave for primary caregivers, 4 weeks of fully paid secondary caregiver leave and many other parental benefits that support you and your family.
  • Our personal growth is important. Halter offers an annual $1000 self-development budget to be used for anything that fuels personal growth.
  • Our time to recharge is valued, we’re offered wellness leave and unlimited paid annual leave.
  • We offer an inclusive and attractive remuneration package made up of salary, benefits and an employee stock ownership plan.
  • Delicious snacks and drinks are available for your daily flow.
Halter is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace — a place where we can each be ourselves and do the best work of our lives. Research shows that while men apply to jobs when they meet an average of 60% of the requirements, women and under-represented groups of candidates tend to only apply when they meet every requirement. If you think you have what it takes but don’t necessarily tick every requirement on this job description, please still get in touch and apply to Halter. We’d love to chat to see if you’ll be an epic fit!
Our Office First Approach
We do have flexible working hours and you can work from home when you need to but we encourage our team to be in the office as much as you can.
We have an office-first approach because we would like to keep the opportunity for teams to have spontaneous interactions which in turn has allowed our team at Halter to foster strong relationships. Stronger relationships make it easier to disagree, give feedback, do meaningful work and as a result, be higher performing as a team.
This is applicable mainly for our office-based roles rather than on-the-road roles in the Customer Success or Business Development teams.
Join our team
If this opportunity sounds like you, please apply below by sending through your cover letter explaining why you’re excited about this role and working at Halter, along with your CV, and we’ll be in touch!
Please also feel free to check out the careers and culture page for more information on working at Halter and don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn & Instagram.