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RT-S/SCI-OOO/00165 Software Engineer

Please Note: The application deadline for this job has now passed.

Job Introduction

Serco Nederland BV,/ Serco Services GmbH, part of the Serco group, A FTSE250, Multi-national Service Provider with over 50,000 employees worldwide.

Serco’s space heritage over the last 40 years has placed us in the Space News Top 50 Space Industry Manufacturing and Services Companies - We work alongside EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency, where we are the largest on-site service provider with ca. 300 staff.

We currently have an exciting opportunity for a Software Engineer based at ESAC.

The position is offered as a fixed-term contract for the support period of 01/04/2019 to 30/06/2020.


Role Responsibility

Gaia Data Release 3 - as per current planning to appear in two stages in mid-2020 (EDR3) and 2nd half of 2021 (DR3) - will be substantially larger in data volume and much richer in content compared to previous public releases. DPAC’s CU8 will for the first time contribute, for a large number of stars, astrophysical parameters (effective temperatures, surface gravities, stellar radii etc) that have been computed from various data processing products of other CUs (e.g. photometry from CU5, variability information from CU7).

The validation of such data represents a formidable technical challenge in terms of hardware and database resources as well as needing specific expertise in data mining, data modelling, data querying and related topics – all with an astrophysical and Gaia-specific emphasis.

The main objective of the requested service is to build and operate a data validation support platform which will allow CU8 scientists to carry out all needed validation activities in preparation for DR3. Once this key objective has been met the service is expected to shift towards supporting on-going efforts within the Gaia SOC to provide state-of-the-art data mining capabilities for DR3 end-users.Software  engineer  support  is  required  for  software  engineering tasks  in  the  development/maintenance or enhancement the SOC (Science Operation Center) systems.

The main tasks include:

Build and operate a data validation support platform for CU8:

  • Formulating requirements for the envisaged validation platform in close interaction with CU8 and SOC personnel
  • Defining the hardware and software environment needed to fulfil the requirements of the CU8 validation system
  • Supporting the process of purchasing the needed resources for the platform
  • Supporting the deployment of the validation platform
  • Aiding CU8 in defining data models and data mapping rules
  • Supporting CU8 scientists in all activities related to their usage of the provided platform
  • Pro-actively advising CU8 scientists in optimizing validation strategies

Contribute to provision of state-of-the-art data mining capabilities for DR3 end-users:

  • Find synergies within the data mining needs internal to CU8 and CU9 validation groups
  • Develop, in close cooperation and under the authority of the CU9 data mining lead, the CU8 and CU9 internal services into a unified framework with front-end portal to provide data mining services ultimately to the end-users

Additionally, the ideal candidate should focus his/her activities on the following:

  • Maintenance of existing code modules such as MDB, AGIS, IDT and GaiaTools java Library as requested
  • Database administration for Cache/MySQL, portioning of storage and analysis of disk space usage
  • Aid in the creation of the first astrometric solution (L+22m)
  • Populating the operational AGIS processing DB with IDT and all needed auxiliary
  • Starting the AGIS run
  • Monitoring the execution of the run from a technical and scientific viewpoint
  • In case of problems, diagnose their cause and implement rectifying actions

The Ideal Candidate

The successful candidate should bring a Master’s Degree in Engineering or PhD from a recognised institution of secondary studies (University,ecol supérieure,etc or equivalent, and minimum 4 years of the relevant experience.

Additionally, the Key Person requires:

  • Experience working in an international environment
  • Excellent communication skills - notably in interfacing with different stakeholders with diverse backgrounds (for example Scientists)
  • Knowledge and software engineering experience in, Python and Java. Knowledge of HTML5, CSS and Javascript, for development of the data mining front-end, is an asset
  • Knowledge of and practical experience with managing relational database management systems serving TB-scale datasets, specifically knowledge of PostgreSQL
  • Knowledge of and, ideally experience with, state-of-the-art data mining concepts and related technologies, including practical experience with Apache Spark
  • Knowledge of Jupyter Notebook, Jupyter Lab and Jupyter Hub frameworks, their APIs and kernels
  • Experience in working with large astronomical data sets



Any offer of employment is contingent upon you providing documents to verify your identity and employment eligibility, as required by law.

Applicants are reminded that they will be requested to produce such documentation during the recruitment process.

Please contact a member of the recruitment team if you require further details of acceptable types of documentation required for verification of identity and work authorization. 

For positions located within the Darmstadt Support Office please note that only applicants with no family affiliation within the Company will be considered.

Data Protection:

When creating a profile on the Serco Career Centre you agreed to the Data Protection policy, a copy is available upon request.

You may submit a written request revoking your consent to this agreement at any time.

Package Description

Highly competitive salary 

Corporate Benefits Package 

Relocation Assistance (if applicable)

Further information available from the Serco Europe Recruitment Team

About the Company

Serco is one of the world’s largest providers of public services, employing over 50,000 people in over 20 countries.

We work closely with the European Government Institutions & Space Agencies providing crucial Services with over 300 staff members.

The services we provide are often of critical importance to the communities and nations we serve, Providing public services is one of the most satisfying and rewarding careers you can have, you have an ability to make a real positive difference to people’s lives and to your community and country.

As a business which delivers “front-line” public services, employing tens of thousands of people, we are constantly developing and promoting people; our need for skilled professionals is insatiable and few companies can offer as many opportunities for individuals to grow their careers

What connects the ever growing Serco workforce is a passion for delivering great service – To keep ahead we have to constantly evolve and enhance the way we deliver our services and everyone in Serco has a role to play here.

Serco provide the right environment to encourage ideas and a comprehensive Best Practice support network that enables them to put their ideas into action.

If you share our values then join with over 50,000 colleagues globally who are equally as passionate about delivering great service as you

A career with Serco offers the chance to work with both inspirational people and innovative contracts, in a dynamic and exciting environment.

We have a mandate to execute brilliantly and our people lead and inspire based on our core values, Trust, Care, Pride and Innovation.

Take pride in what you do.

Serco European Agencies

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