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Data Engineer


  • Organization: ESO - European Southern Observatory
  • Location: Garching
  • Grade: Mid level - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Statistics
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
  • Closing Date: Closed

The Back-end Operations Department (BOD) is responsible for the management of science data from ESO's optical/near-infrared La Silla Paranal Observatory. This includes the scientific and operational development of the ESO Science Archive, the generation of science data products for distribution through it, the collection, verification and archiving of archival data products from the community, and the scientific oversight to the reduction of ESO data. In particular, the ESO Science Archive has grown to be a powerful resource for the worldwide astronomical community, contributing to about 40% of ESO's science output. This growth was fuelled by and increasingly complex and extended data content, whose expansion needs to continue into the next era, marked by the advent of the ELT.

The successful candidate will work on maintaining and developing the dataflow infrastructure associated with the ESO Science Archive to promote and facilitate innovative usages of its content and to meet the challenges set by the combined operations of the VLT and ELT, and other ESO facilities.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Create and maintain ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) data pipelines from various sources into data storage systems.
  • Optimize ETL data pipelines and systems for speed, scalability, and cost efficiency. This includes tuning queries and data storage solutions.
  • Set up monitoring and alerting systems to detect and address issues in data pipelines and systems, ensuring high availability and reliability.
  • Implement data governance policies.
  • Document data engineering processes, data lineage, and data dictionaries to make data assets understandable and accessible to the wider team.
  • Collaborate with other stakeholders to understand their data requirements and provide support for their projects.

Reports to:

The Head of the Science Archive Group.

Key Competences and Experience:

Essential Competences and Experience:

  • A minimum working experience of three years is required post degree.
  • Experience with relational databases, including database design and performance optimization.
  • Understanding of NoSQL databases.
  • Advanced Python programming skills.
  • Data modeling skills to design efficient and scalable databases and data schemas.
  • Ability to build and manage data pipelines for batch and stream processing.
  • Understanding of data quality and data governance best practices.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to diagnose and resolve data engineering issues.
  • Experience in documenting data engineering processes, data lineage and system architecture
  • Strong cooperative skills to interface with other departments/teams.

Desirable Competences and Experience

  • Knowledge of astronomical data standards and tools.


University degree in Computer Science or other relevant field. Technical training with 6 years practical relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of a degree.

Language skills:

The position requires an excellent command of written and spoken English.

Remuneration and Contract:

We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, comprehensive pension scheme and medical, educational and other social benefits, as well as financial help in relocating your family and support to place your child/children in daycare.

ESO's salary structure is based upon a range of career paths which reflect the nature and level of our jobs. Each career path is made up of two or three grades which are used to further reflect experience.

Please follow this attached link for more details

ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance ( between their professional and private life. ESO is also committed to offering family-friendly support (, creating a work environment and policies which allow staff to balance their professional and private responsibilities through flexible working arrangements and financial support for families.

The contract is for a fixed term duration of three years and is subject to successful completion of the probation period. There may be a possibility of extension(s) subject to individual performance and organisational requirements, and as defined in the applicable policies and staff rules and regulations. For any further information, please visit ESO's conditions of employment ( 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 this position.

Duty Station:

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

Career Path:

V, which covers three grades.


If you are interested in working in areas of frontline science and technology and in a stimulating international environment, please visit to apply for this vacancy.

Applicants are invited to apply online at Applications must be completed in English and should include a motivation letter and CV. Within your CV, please provide the names and contact details of three persons familiar with your work and willing to provide a recommendation letter upon request. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.

Deadline for applications is 22 March 2024.

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.


No nationality is in principle excluded from employment at ESO, however, recruitment preference will be given to nationals of our Member States, host states and strategic partners: 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, ethnicity or religion.

This vacancy is now closed.
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