Advert. No. 2019_0042
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, and will host and operate the southern array of the Cherenkov Telescope Array, the world's largest and most sensitive high energy gamma-ray 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.

For its Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department, within the Directorate of the La Silla Paranal Observatory, ESO is advertising the position of:

Software Engineer


Vacancy closed on 27/09/2019

Deadline 27/09/2019

Software Engineer

The successful candidate will be responsible for the maintenance and support of the software applications on the distributed computing architecture that controls the telescopes and instruments, and the supporting systems. Additionally, she/he will be responsible for the maintenance and extension of the software testing environment of the control software.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • 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.

His/her main duties will be:

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.

Key Competences and Experience:

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

The candidate must have experience with: It would be a plus if the candidate has experience in:

  • 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 an international organization where the official language is English. It is required that the candidate has a good common of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family (if needed).

The initial contract is for a period of two years with the possibility of an 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:

Paranal Observatory located 120 km south of the city of Antofagasta, Chile. The working schedule will be 8 days on duty and 6 days off duty (8x6) with accommodation provided on site.

Career Path: IV


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and 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 (in English).

Deadline for applications is 27 September 2019.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

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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