Advert. No. 2018_0004
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive ground-based astronomical observatory. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries.

ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in northern Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor (home to ALMA and APEX). The ESO Headquarters are in Garching, near Munich, Germany.


For our Headquarters in Garching we are looking for a

Software Engineer

Telescope control software


Vacancy closed on 26/02/2018

Deadline 26/02/2018

to join our Observatory Control Software group (COCS) in the Control Software and Engineering department (CSE)

What we offer:

  • International environment: You will collaborate daily with software and other engineers and scientists from around the globe.
  • Extremely challenging project: You will be a member of the team to build the world's largest optical telescope - the ELT, and therefore will have to deal with challenges that arise in a project at the forefront of technology.
  • Team work: You will join the team that provides the software that will monitor and control the 798 mirror segments of the ELT's 39-meter main mirror, to make the segments act as a single well-defined surface. An agile process will be used. Also other areas of ELT control software development are done in teams.


  • Team spirit: Above all, you are a real team player, who understands that only strong collaboration inside the team and across its boundaries will allow us to achieve our goals. This includes clear and open communication.
  • Curiosity and eagerness to learn: You are keen to learn new things and understand our complex projects as well as the technology beyond the software area. You are constantly searching for ways to improve.


  • Experience with distributed complex control systems: minimum 2 years of professional experience in software development, covering analysis, design, implementation, testing, documentation, and maintenance. This should include implementing and performing simulations of hardware and software.
  • Experience with developing and testing software on real-time operating systems, preferably Linux RT (preempt), using different protocols such as Ethernet, or OPC UA, in a deterministic way.
  • Advanced knowledge of multicore programming, Linux internals, and ethernet networking, to plan and troubleshoot high-performance software.
  • Excellent command of C++ (or alternatively strong C++ but excellent C). Strong Python programming skills.
  • Experience with messaging systems providing async req/rep and pub/sub, such as ZMQ.
  • Experience with modern development processes and software engineering tools.
  • Experience in assembly, integration and verification (AIV): on long term it is likely that you would join the team that is finally assembling, integrating and verifying the ELT at Armazones/Chile. In this phase, you will travel frequently to Chile and/or stay there for longer periods to support AIV from the control software side.

Is there anything else which qualifies you for this job? Just let us know!


A university degree in computer science or equivalent.

Language Skills:

A very good command of the English language - oral, reading and writing - is essential.

Reports to:

Head of the Observatory Control Software group.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary (tax free), comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and the possibility to place your child/children in day care.

The contract is for a fixed term duration of three years, and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. There is a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For further information, please view ESO's conditions of employment.

Starting Date:

1 July 2018 or earlier

Duty Station:

ESO Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany. This position involves duty travel to the ESO sites in Chile.


Please apply online via our ESO Recruitment Portal. Your application must be in English and include a motivation letter and CV.

Closing date for applications is 26th February 2018.

We welcome all applications, however, preference will be given to nationals of ESO Member States irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

More Information:

At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.

If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit ESO homepage and for further details.

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