Advert. No. 2018_0051
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), and the ESO Headquarters are located in Garching, near Munich, Germany.

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 (ELT), which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.


Due to the need for additional resources associated with the ELT programme, for its Control Software and Engineering Department (CSE), within the Directorate of Engineering (DoE) at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising positions of

Real Time Software Engineers

(four positions)


Vacancy closed on 13/01/2019

Deadline 13/01/2019

We are looking for real time software engineers to join the team which will implement the real time computing (RTC) toolkit for the ELT and its instruments. The CSE department comprises a team of around 40 engineers organised in four groups and is responsible for the definition, design and implementation of complex control systems for ESO's telescopes and instruments. The main effort in CSE is spent for the ELT programme but CSE is also supporting the other ESO programmes using a matrix organisation.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Design, implement and test components of the Real Time Computing (RTC) Framework for the ELT;
  • Support instrument consortia which are using the framework;
  • Support the ESO in house development of the Telescope Real Time Executor (TREX);
  • Maintain the RTC Framework components after delivery.

Report to:

The group head of the Control Engineering group within CSE department.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • Minimum of three years of professional work experience in software development covering the full life cycle: design, implementation and test;
  • Experience in multithreaded and/or distributed applications;
  • Experience with real time operating systems and embedded systems:
    • Linux (RT) and Linux network stack, optimization and tuning (essential for 2 pos., desirable for 2 pos.)

  • Proficient in C/C++ (essential for 3 pos., desirable for 1 pos.);
  • Experience with at least two (2 pos.) or one (2 pos.) of the following:
    • Communication middleware: DDS, ZeroMQ.
    • Distributed communication systems : e.g. TANGO, EPICS.
    • Design and test of deterministic networking (including OS and network tuning)
    • User space IP stacks (PFRing, DPDK)
    • CPU-based, data-intensive computing algorithms using large data sets, HPC framework

  • Knowledge of standard software development processes, preferred agile or iterative;
  • Knowledge of software engineering principles and tools for configuration management, bug reporting etc.;
  • Experience in working in a team;
  • Curiosity and eagerness to learn.

Desirable competences and experience, which are not mandatory, but considered an asset:

  • Experience in Python, Qt, Java;
  • NUMA configuration and CPU, IRQ affinity and isolation techniques;
  • Knowledge of control system theory and/or digital signal processing;
  • Experience in project management (desirable for 1 position);
  • Experience in working in international/multicultural teams.


University degree in computer science or equivalent

Language Skills:

Excellent command of the English language is essential; a working knowledge of German or Spanish would be an advantage.

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, in particular for the ELT Programme, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For further information, please view ESO's conditions of employment.

Duty Station:

Garching near Munich, Germany with regular duty trips to all ESO sites in Chile.

Career Path: V


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

Applicants are invited to apply online via the ESO Recruitment Portal. Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV.

Deadline for applications is 13 January 2019.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

No nationality is in principle excluded, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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