What does it take to get a job at SpaceX?
SpaceX’s prime objective is to build a self sustaining colony on Mars.
Achieving a mission of this level of impact requires the company to hire the brightest minds in the world. If you have what it takes and believe in the mission, you should try to work there. What SpaceX is trying to do is not easy – the team needs all the help they can get.
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As of 2021, SpaceX wants to hire engineers, supervisors, and technicians for its Starship project.
The company’s career website mentions that it is looking for world-class talent ready to tackle challenging projects that will ultimately enable life on other planets.
The company of course mentions that they are an equal opportunity employer offering competitive salaries, comprehensive health benefits and equity packages.
“We hire great engineers as fast as we can find them” – Elon Musk.
They are also looking for hardware, software and firmware engineers. Firmware engineers are needed specifically for the Starlink project, which will be one of SpaceX’s first revenue streams to help fund missions to Mars.
Firmware is software (often written in C) that is stored on hardware device to make it run properly.
SpaceX Hiring Strategy:
“There’s no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school” – Elon Musk
No Degree Required
You don’t need a college degree to work for SpaceX. CEO Elon Musk has both tweeted about this as well as mentioned it in multiple interviews.
When the founder of SpaceX was starting the company, he had no experience building rockets. Elon came from a background in the software industry. He reportedly cold-called rocket scientists to learn about building and launching rockets, and even apparently tried to buy a ballistic missile from Russia to use as a first test.
Elon mentioned that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, all did not graduate from college. However, if you had the opportunity to hire any of them, it would be a great idea.
Americans and Internationals:
SpaceX is legally prevented from hiring people from outside the US. According to the US Government, working on Rocket Technology in the United States requires employees to be a US Citizen or green-card holder.
How Does Elon Describe Hiring at SpaceX?
In an online video, when asked about what skills he wants people to have, CEO Elon says he is looking for evidence of exceptional ability.
He asks candidates share the story of their career. He specifically wants to know about challenging problems the candidate has dealt with and how they make decisions. Elon stated that he wants to know if the person was truly responsible for the accomplishment or if someone else was – he can ask for details and the one that was will have those details.
The SpaceX hiring team looks for at track record of exceptional achievement. In order to actually get to Mars, the company needs to hire people that have “some evidence of exceptional ability that includes innovation”. Since the company is creating new technology, they expect their employees to have a deep drive to do so too.
TechCrunch has called SpaceX “one of the world’s most demanding engineering companies.” As you can imagine, the hiring process at SpaceX is unsurprisingly grueling.
By hiring only the greatest minds, SpaceX’s strict approach to hiring let’s the company focus on that which truly matters: solving big problems.
Next steps for job seekers
I follow the company on LinkedIn and they publish new jobs all the time. The company is in fact rapidly hiring, albeit incredibly selective, and will be for many years (going to Mars is no small task).
Wanna give the SpaceX application process a shot? They have job openings on their website, or hit the company up on Twitter and maybe you’ll get lucky.