Senior Software Engineer (Cape Town) at National Research Foundation

Cape Town
Posted 2 weeks ago

Contract Senior EE position Market Related salary

SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEER (CAPE TOWN) The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the National Facility for Optical and Infrared Astronomy of the National Research Foundation (NRF). Its headquarters are in Cape Town, while its telescopes are at Sutherland in the Northern Cape. We require a Senior Software Engineer (SSE) to be part of exciting new projects and to support the operations and maintenance of the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). Our multi-disciplinary team, consisting of mechanical, electrical, optical, and software engineers and technicians, work well together to brainstorm solutions – providing you with opportunities to grow your knowledge in various fields. Examples of current projects include designing new instruments as well as redesigning existing control systems. We work with international science and technology partners which may require you to travel abroad. You may also be required to publish papers and attend the international SPIE conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation and or other relevant conferences on projects or research that you have contributed to.

Key Responsibilities:
The SSE supports the SALT Technical Operations team to operate, maintain, fault-find, repair, and upgrade the high-technology instruments of the telescope, as well as its plant equipment and related systems.

Duties include:
* Develop and update software development processes and procedures
* Project management, including development of project plans, schedule and budget estimates
* Strategic planning for optimising the SALT control system’s performance and mitigating obsolescence
* Develop specifications for new software systems in consultation with astronomy and operations staff
* Routine software maintenance and upgrades of the telescope instruments, plant and equipment software
* Fault finding and bug fixes
* Prepare SALT instruments, plant and equipment in time for night-time operations in concert with engineers and technicians
* Develop new software per specification and compliant with standards and procedures
* Acceptance testing of software as part of system commissioning
* Software configuration control
* Perform standby duties

Minimum Requirements:
* B.Eng or B.Sc Degree in Electronics, Computer Science or a related field
* 5 years’ post-qualification practical experience in the full software development life cycle for instrumentation or industrial electronic applications
* Experience in software project management and strategic planning
* Experience with distributed control system software
* Experienced in structured software development as part of a team
* Good mathematical skills and experience in mathematical modelling
* Knowledge of networked systems and experience in both Windows and Linux operating systems
* Applicants will need to be strongly motivated individuals with initiative and problem solving skills
* Must be able to work effectively within a team and on his/her own with minimal supervision
* Must have good skills in oral and written English

Desirable Requirements:
* Experience with LabVIEW, compact-RIO, RTOS and embedded programming
* Understanding of industrial communication protocols
* Experience with software control system design for robotic, mechatronic or imaging devices
* Experience in an astronomy operations environment
* Development of software for astronomical telescopes or instruments
* A keen interest in astronomy

The filling of this position will be in line with the NRF’s Employment Equity Policy and Plan.
The salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

For further information, please contact the Human Resources Division (Email Address).

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies: Ability

  • conceptualise and implement strategic engineering initiatives which are required to sustain the business
  • design/construct and draw on mathematical modelling and computer skills
  • diagnose electrical/electronic problem
  • establish a electrical/electronic project plan and its interface with other project areas
  • interface with other engineering disciplines to meet business and/or project management objectives
  • supervise and set up work control systems to ensure performance, quality, safety and cost standards are met
  • participate and thrive in a collaborative environment
  • strong oral and written communication skills
  • technical computing
  • apply theoritical , problem-solving and lateral thinking in the design of new Software systems


  • system engineering environment


  • creative, lateral thinking and problem-solving approaches


About The Employer National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development though funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural science, engineering, social science and humanities. The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is the National Facility for Optical and Infrared Astronomy of the National Research Foundation (NRF). Its headquarters are in Cape Town, while its telescopes are at Sutherland in the Northern Cape. SAAO employs about 130 people, many of them scientists and engineers, and is contracted to operate SALT (the Southern African Large Telescope) on behalf of the international SALT Foundation. SAAO is the premier optical/infrared research facility on the African continent, with global research and outreach collaborations, contributing to human capital development for South Africa. Type of employment: Contract
SARAO reserves the right to amend and/or withdraw adverts at any time without notification.

Job Features

Job CategoryJobs

Apply Online