Advert. no. 2023_0014
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 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. 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.


Within its Maintenance, Support and Engineering Department (MSE) at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, within the Directorate of Operations, ESO is advertising a Local Staff member position of

Software Engineer


Vacancy closed on 02/06/2023

Deadline 02/06/2023

The successful applicant will be an engineer in the Software Group within the MSE Department at the Paranal site of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. The MSE Department, with a workforce of 85 engineers and technicians, provides maintenance and technical support to the four 8m VLT telescopes, to the VLT Interferometer with its auxiliary telescopes, the VST and VISTA survey telescopes, and to all instruments available for scientific observations. The Software Group comprises 15 engineers and is responsible for software maintenance of the telescopes, instruments, and VLT interferometer.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will have the following main duties:

  • 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 a test environment based on Linux and a large set of mainly open-source tools.
  • To define, implement and execute test cases, automate whenever reasonable and document results.

Reports to:

The Group Leader of the Paranal Software Group.


The candidate has ideally three years of professional experience in:

  • C/C++ and python 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 also has experience in:

  • DevOps development and testing
  • Jenkins, JIRA, SVN/Git, Docker.
  • Python and Web technologies (Javascript/HTML/CSS) development.
  • Databases (SQL and/or NoSQL).
  • Real-time and/or distributed control systems development and testing.

Key Competences:

The candidate has ideally several of the following competences (technical and soft):

  • 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


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 command of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary and educational benefits, as well as financial help in relocating the candidate's family, where applicable. ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance.

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.

For further information, please visit

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:



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. Please note that the interviews will be conducted in English.


No nationality is in principle excluded from employment at ESO, however, non-Chilean applicants to this role must reside in Chile and/or have a pertinent working permit, according to Chilean regulations, at the time of their application.

ESO is committed to equal opportunities. The post is equally open to suitably qualified candidates irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religion.

Closing date for applications is 2 June 2023.

Interviews are expected to start soon after this date.

ESO Values:

An important element in any successful employment relationship is harmony in values between an organisation and its people.

The ESO values are:

ESO strives for excellence through innovation.

ESO provides outstanding services to its communities.

ESO fosters diversity & inclusion.

ESO believes in the key role of sustainability for its future.

Achieving the above are recognized as only possible on the basis of personal values and attitudes that we expect from our employees: respect, integrity, accountability, commitment, collaboration, and clear & open communication. Applicants to any ESO role are asked to reflect on their affinity with these values and advised they may be asked about them if called for interview.


ESO has established diversity as an important value of the Organisation, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment and is actively seeking to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Please visit for further details.

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