Advert. No. 2019_0008
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, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky" and whose operations will be fully integrated into the Paranal Observatory.



For its Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, ESO is opening a Local Staff Member position as

Software Engineer


Vacancy closed on 15/03/2019

Deadline 15/03/2019

Main Duties and Responsibilities

His/her main duties will be:

  • Maintenance and support of software written in C/C++, TCL/Tk, Python and different Web technologies.
  • Troubleshooting and following up on operational problems.
  • To be the software specialist in a multidisciplinary team performing commissioning/testing of new systems developed by external parties, and to act on the role of designer/developer for new internal applications.
  • Participate in general group activities and perform other tasks as assigned.
  • To maintain reliable configuration management of the software systems and applications.
  • To extend and maintain the Observatory software development and test environment based on Linux and a large set of mainly open source tools.
  • To define, implement and execute test cases, automated whenever reasonable and document results.
  • To develop functional tests, integration tests, system tests, stress tests, performance test and regression tests.

Reports to

The successful candidate will be part of the Software Group under supervision of the Software Group Leader within the Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department of the Paranal Observatory.


The candidate must have experience with:

  • C/C++ development.
  • Linux environment.
  • Setting-up, preparing and maintaining SW development and test environments.
  • Experience in test automation.

It would be a plus if the candidate has experience in:

  • Jenkins, JIRA, SVN/Git, Docker.
  • Python and Web technologies (Javascript/HTML/CSS) development
  • Databases (SQL and/or NoSQL).
  • Real-time control systems development and testing.
  • VxWorks/VMEBus.
  • PLC development (Beckhoff/Siemens).
  • TCL/Tk development.

Key Competences:

  • Builds and manages collaborative working relationships with customers.
  • Provides clear, concise and timely oral and written communications, identifying the key issues, examining options and proposing a way ahead.
  • Balances conflicting demands and responds quickly to changes in priorities in-line with agreed overall objectives.
  • Monitors progress of own work and delivers to agreed deadlines and standards.
  • Is flexible and adapts quickly to new ways of working or new responsibilities.
  • The ability to work in a team of engineers and astronomers, maintaining and improving complex equipment and systems.


The candidate should have a university degree in Software or Electronics Engineering, Computer Sciences or equivalent.

Language Skills:

ESO is a multination organization and the official common language is English. The candidate should be able to communicate fluently in English, both for regular interactions and for technical discussions.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and comprehensive medical and educational benefits, as well as financial help in relocating the candidate's family. The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of indefinite extension, subject to evaluation. The title or grade may be subject to change according to qualification and the number of years of experience.

Duty Station:

For the first six months: Paranal Observatory, in the II Region, 150km South of Antofagasta. Working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site. Place of residence shall be either Santiago or Antofagasta. Transportation arrangements from and to Santiago are provided by ESO. After the initial six months, it is possible (but not obligatory) to implement a mixed shift schema, where each month includes one 8x6 shift and two weeks of regular Monday to Friday work in ESO office in Vitacura, Santiago.

Career Path:



If you are interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit for further details. Applicants are invited to apply online at Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV.

Closing date for applications is 15 March 2019.

No nationality is excluded, however non-Chilean applicants must have the pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of the application. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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