Advert. No. 2020_0023
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.


The Control Software and Engineering Department (CSE), within the Directorate of Engineering (DoE) at its Headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, ESO is advertising the position of a

Software Engineer


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Deadline 19/07/2020

The CSE department forms a team of 50 engineers organized in five groups and is responsible for the definition, design, and implementation of complex control systems for ESO's telescopes and instruments. The primary effort in CSE is spent on the ELT program but CSE is also supporting the other ESO programs using a matrix organization. We are looking for a software engineer to join the team in the CRTC group that implements the Real Time Computing Toolkit (RTC Tk) for the ELT and its tools. A smaller part of the work could also be devoted to working on other projects such as the RTC for VLT instruments.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Contribute to design, implementation and test of the ELT RTC Tk.
  • Interface and provide support to users of the ELT RTC Tk, e.g. instrument consortia
  • Support commissioning of RTC Tk instances on site in Chile

Reports to:

The head of the Real Time Control Software group (CRTC).

Key Competences and Experience:


  • Minimum of 3 years of experience in software development;
  • Experience developing software with C++ under Linux;
  • 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;
  • Ability to work in a matrix structure for different projects and with different teams, also in parallel;
  • Flexibility to adapt quickly to new ways of working or new responsibilities.


  • Experience in working in international/multicultural teams;
  • Experience with real-time distributed control systems;
  • Experience with multi-threaded applications;
  • Experience in development of software frameworks;
  • Experience in Linux and network performance tuning and optimization, e.g. CPU affinity, IRQ affinity, NUMA;
  • Knowledge about network concepts: Ethernet (GbE), UDP, IGMP etc.;
  • Experience with high performance computing (HPC) including usage of accelerators like GPUs;
  • Knowledge of control systems theory and/or digital signal processing software.


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 daycare.

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. Please note that the contract policy and in particular the regulations concerning fixed-term and indefinite contracts are currently under review which may lead to changes in the contractual conditions applicable to the position. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment.

Duty Station:

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

Career Path: V


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.

Deadline for applications is 19.07.2020.

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, the United Kingdom and Chile irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race or religion.

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