Data Scientist

Yard Stick PBC

Yard Stick PBC

Data Science
Oakland, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, March 30, 2024
About the Role
Yard Stick is looking for a Data Scientist to help us fight climate change with soil. This role will coordinate with our hardware team to improve data collection from our novel spectral soil probe for building machine learning models, will partner with our soil science team to collect and analyze soil and geospatial data sets, and will collaborate with our business development team to accurately and effectively communicate soil carbon results to our customers.
On a typical day, our field team is out collecting data on farms. Raw data from spectrometers and other sensors get uploaded (once internet is available) and ingested by our data pipeline. Your job is to take this real-world messy data, process and normalize it, deal with partial collections and find inconsistencies. You’ll collaborate across the company to combine that data with lab analyses and other data sources to build statistical and machine learning models that estimate carbon stocks. Your work drives the incentives for climate-friendly agriculture.
Yard Stick is a remote-first company and the technology team is distributed around the U.S. This role will report directly to Yard Stick’s VP of Software, and will work under the technical leadership of the Head of Data Science. This is a dream job for someone who loves working with data, is curious about soil science, and wants to join a growing startup with literal planetary-scale impact.
We’d like to hire this person to start ASAP.
About Yard Stick PBC
Yard Stick is a remote-first climate tech startup with cofounders based in Boston, MA and Oakland, CA. We are on a mission to reverse climate change with agriculture. Scientists and farmers alike know that climate-friendly agricultural practices have the potential to remove atmospheric CO2 at gigaton/year scale. When these practices are adopted, more carbon is stored in soils, improving soil health and fighting climate change. But significant measurement challenges have held soil carbon efforts back - until now.
By reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement by 70-90%, Yard Stick will dramatically expand the opportunities for evidence-based regenerative practices to simultaneously improve ecosystem health, increase farmer income, and combat climate change.
Current soil carbon measurement technologies are slow, expensive, and cumbersome, relying on conventional soil cores and labs to quantify carbon stocks. In contrast, Yard Stick is fast and cheap - without sacrificing accuracy. As a testament to our technology’s potential, alongside our scientific collaborators, we were awarded $18M across six USDA Climate-Smart Commodities projects, and we have additional grant financing from ARPA-E, NSF, CDFA, and other discerning grant-makers. We’ve also raised another nearly $18M from top climate VCs, including Toyota Climate Venture Fund, Lowercarbon Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (Bill Gates’ climate fund), Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Extania, Pillar VC, MCJ Collective… the list goes on!
For more background, check out some coverage of Yard Stick in TechCrunch, Fast Company, and AgFunder.
We offer competitive salary and equity (benchmarked to 75th percentile of high-growth US tech compensation), health/dental/vision insurance, a 401k, and home-office reimbursements. We have many team members with young families and have a strong track record of creative, flexible approaches to hours and communication expectations which let folks feel great about their commitments both to Yard Stick and their lives outside of work.
We’re also a PBC, or public benefit corporation, which is an alternative corporate structure which protects our ability to prioritize climate impact over profits if the two are in conflict. You can read more about PBCs in this article which also features Yard Stick.


  • Develop processes to transform, visualize, and analyze information from soil spectroscopy, lab results, plus geospatial and soil data sources
  • Understand and apply various statistical and machine learning models of soil properties
  • Partner with our soil science group to collect and evaluate data about soil samples, soil organic carbon, and geospatial data
  • Coordinate with our hardware team to improve data collection with our novel spectral soil probe
  • Collaborate with the greater Tech team to experiment with novel ways of extracting actionable data from large soil data sets
  • Critically engage with the scientific literature to identify state-of-the-art approaches worth pursuing
  • Analyze and describe your results and findings to tell a story with data to non-technical audiences
  • Work with the software team to build, operate, automate, and scale these processes as Yard Stick grows


  • 2+ years of relevant data science work experience
  • Ability to take a dataset and a question, and independently and/or collaboratively devise thoughtful, defensible approaches to answering that question
  • Experience with data wrangling and analysis in SQL, Python, pandas, scipy, sklearn, etc.
  • Experience assessing data quality, designing experiments to understand mechanisms underlying data behaviors, and devising solutions for data improvement
  • Background in statistics and modeling techniques (Linear Regression, Partial Least Squares, Random Forest, Neural Networks (nice to have), etc.)
  • Ability to analyze and draw conclusions from modeling results
  • Work experience interfacing with a software team that is producing professional, production quality software
  • Passion for climate impact!
  • Enthusiasm to learn, teach, and collaborate

Bonus Qualifications

  • Background in applied math/statistics with experience in natural science domains OR background in natural science with modeling/computational experience
  • Experience with soil science, carbon modeling, and/or soil mapping
  • Experience with spectroscopy or other signal processing techniques
  • Experience with geospatial data, mapping, pathing, and public sources of such data
  • Familiarity with Jupyter and/or DeepNote
  • Work experience producing professional, production quality software
  • Work experience collaborating with a hardware team on a hardware product
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Yard Stick’s impact goals go well beyond climate science. Why? Our company operates primarily in the US agricultural sector, which is predicated on centuries of mass land theft and disenfranchisement of Native and Black people. This harm continues today. If we’re going to work in this sector, we need to leave it better than we found it.
Consistent with our core value of “Pursue Justice,” we speak up about these issues, and we support emerging solutions and relevant policy efforts such as H.R.40 and S.300. We also publicly highlight the risk of further racial discrimination in emerging agricultural legislation like the Growing Climate Solutions Act and in press coverage ensure that the discrimination in past and present US agriculture is part of the conversation right alongside more typical topics like who our customers are, or how our tech works.
Regarding hiring and culture, we work to create a work environment where everyone feels confident sharing their ideas, problem-solving happens openly and collaboratively, and mistake-making is welcomed. We’ve recently organized lunchtime all-team discussions on issues like labor equity in Florida produce, Pigford v. Glickman (the largest US civil rights settlement in history), and other contemporary moral concerns in agriculture. When hiring, we standardize our interview process and questions to reduce “likeability” bias, benchmark salaries against industry databases to reduce negotiation, and utilize tools like the Gender Decoder. Climate change is arguably the most complex challenge ever faced by humanity - we need all of humanity activated to fight back, and that motivates us to build a diverse team.