Calico, Cisco

Who we are

Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan and health span, and to devise therapeutic interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place.

Position Description

Calico is seeking a scientific software developer to build scalable data processing pipelines for high-throughput and/or high-content data for genomics, biochemistry, or imaging (microscopy & MRI). As a member of the Computing team, you will work closely with a talented cross-functional team of data scientists, software engineers, automation engineers, and bench scientists.

Position Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain software pipelines for the processing, visualization, and analysis of molecular or imaging data
  • Integrate pipelines with algorithms developed in-house, and with public & private/licensed software modules
  • Understand the details of laboratory experimental workflows, data representations, as well as analysis algorithms; stay abreast of current state of the art in laboratory informatics
  • Translate scientific needs into scalable, readable, maintainable code in collaboration with our software architect, data engineer(s), data wranglers, data scientists, project manager, UX designer, and lab lead
  • Regularly communicate work in written and verbal presentations


  • Degree in a quantitative discipline such as computer science, mathematics, computational biology, or bioinformatics
  • 2+ years’ experience working as a software developer in a scientific organization (national lab, biotech, pharma)
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Fluency coding in a Unix/Linux environment in Python, C/C++, or Java
  • Substantial programming experience, i.e. having written or maintained codebase using software best practices (e.g. unit tests, self-documenting code), distributed version control (e.g. git, mercurial), issue tracking system (e.g. Jira), and CI/CD tools (Travis, Jenkins)
  • Experience with at least two of the following: workflow/pipeline frameworks (Luigi, Airflow, etc), cloud computing & storage, software containerization, or Electronic Lab Notebooks

Nice to haves

  • Experience with at least one of: microbial or mammalian biology, translational research, clinical drug development, LIMS
  • Knowledge of statistics

2/14/2020 Calico Phone Screen

  • Early research, 22 labs at calico, heavy on the research scientists
  • Principle investigators, each studying something related to aging
  • Also have 9 core labs, support the 22 pi labs
    • the computing lab is one of them
    • sequencing lab, imaging lab, photonics lab, computing core lab.
  • A variety of data is coming through
  • Need a specialized person who can help the researchers out
  • How to visualize data

Next step

  • Phone screen
  • Technical phone screen
  • Live Coding session, take home assignment
  • Eventually onsite interview

2/14/2020 Cisco Phone Screen

Asked a bunch of weird knowledge based questions on Python. Honestly seems kind of wack

service providers routers are not consumer based, edge routers all the internet runs through the datacenter core networking

C-developer web developer python guy datacenter guy

next steps: strengths and interests

stumped by namespace question, threads and lcoks question

2/13/2020 WePay Coding Challenge

  • Fifteen puzzle, how to determine if unsolvable, that case stumped me.
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