Packet Forwarding Engines (PFE) and System Software Engineer - Returnship

  • Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • Employees can work remotely
  • Full-time

Company Description

The Path Forward Return to Work program at Arista Networks is a 16-week paid returnship for experienced professionals returning to the workforce after taking time off for caregiving. The program is open to individuals who have at least 5 years of professional experience and have been out of the paid workforce for at least two years to focus on caring for a child or other dependent. If you meet these criteria, we invite you to apply. 

At Arista, we are excited to be part of the Path Forward program because we appreciate the skills you can offer, the perspective you provide, and the contributions you will make. This program offers you a chance to revamp your skills, update your resume with new experience, and make connections with others transitioning back to the workforce. It also offers support through Path Forward, a nonprofit organization on a mission to empower people who’ve been focused on caregiving, to transition back into the paid workforce.

Arista Networks was founded to pioneer and deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center storage and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning platforms, ranging in Ethernet speeds from 10 to 100 gigabits per second, redefine scalability, agility and resilience. Arista has shipped more than 10 million cloud networking ports worldwide with CloudVision and EOS, an advanced network operating system. Committed to open standards, Arista is a founding member of the 25/50GbE consortium. Arista Networks products are available worldwide directly and through partners.

At the core of Arista's platform is the Extensible Operating System (EOS™), a ground-breaking network operating system with single-image consistency across hardware platforms, and modern core architecture enabling in-service upgrades and application extensibility.

Job Description

Arista Networks is looking for world-class software engineers to join our Packet Forwarding Engines (PFE) and System software development team.  As a core member of the PFE software and System software team, you will be part of a dynamic, high caliber team building packet forwarding engine and system software to manage the world's most complex networking chips used to build the industry's largest data center networks.  Your software will be a key component of Arista's Extensible Operating System (EOS), Arista's unique, Linux-based network operating system that runs on all of Arista's data center networking products.

The Packet Forwarding Engines and System software team is responsible for all aspects of the development and delivery of our forwarding engine software.  

This role demands a strong software engineering fundamentals, and good understanding of  the architecture of one or more chips used on Arista devices such as such as CPUs, memory controllers, packet forwarding engines, physical layer hardware components (like temperature sensors, fan controllers etc), board system management software, how the software that manages them is implemented, and the networks in which they are used.  Your role will not be limited to any single aspect of forwarding engine software devices  at Arista, but cover all aspects of bringing up new hardware, developing all features requiring hardware forwarding support (including low level hardware drivers), testing the software and hardware, and supporting our customers using the products you build. At Arista, you will own your projects from definition to deployment, and you will be responsible for the quality of everything you deliver.

The role is open to remote candidates. Employees at or near one of the listed office locations will have the option to (and will be encouraged to) go into the office as needed

Key Responsibilities of this role:

  • write functional specifications and design specifications for small-sized packet forwarding engine features and system software to manage hardware components.

  • With help from a technical lead, implement solutions to small-sized problems in our packet forwarding engine software and system software using the C, C++, and python programming languages.

  • Understand, utilize, test, and debug packet forwarding engine and hardware components vendor provided software libraries in your solutions.

  • With help from a technical lead, write test plan specifications for small-sized packet forwarding engine features and system software, and implement automated test programs to execute the cases described in the test plan.

  • Debug problems found by our automated test programs and fix the problems.

  • Work on a team implementing, testing, and debugging solutions to larger packet forwarding engine software problems and system software issues.

  • Work with the hardware team and hardware component vendors to bring up initial versions of new systems using packet forwarding engines and system software.

  • Work with the diagnostic software team to design and develop software for the validation of new packet forwarding engine ASICs and hardware components.

  • Work with the System Test Engineers to analyze problems found in their tests and provide fixes for those problems.

  • Review and contribute to the specifications and implementations written by other team members.


  • BS Computer Science/Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering + 5 years experience, or MS Computer Science/Electrical Engineering/Computer Engineering + 3 years experience, or equivalent work experience

  • Knowledge of C or C++

  • Knowledge of UNIX or Linux

  • Strong problem solving and software troubleshooting skills.

  • Ability to design a solution to a small-sized problem, and implement that solution without outside help. Able to work on a small team solving a medium-sized problem with limited oversight.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Understanding of hardware chip architectures of one or more: of CPUs, memories, forwarding engines, Physical Layer chips

If you find yourself checking several but not all these boxes and are interested, we strongly encourage you to apply. At Arista we are committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, and are invested in building teams with a wide variety of backgrounds, identities, and experiences.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.


Where legally permitted, Arista requires all candidates for U.S.-based positions to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have an approved accommodation under applicable law. Candidates anticipating seeking an exemption should contact Arista HR before their start date. Candidates accepting an offer must provide proof of vaccination status on their first day. All offers of employment are contingent upon complying with Arista's vaccination policy.

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