Computer Hardware Engineer

Geneva, Switzerland
02 Oct 2018
End of advertisement period
29 Oct 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description


Are you interested in Computer Hardware? Does taking technical responsibility for the commissioning and support of thousands of servers and storage systems/devices for Linux and Windows challenge you? Join the team responsible for the 15’000 servers and 280 petabytes of disk storage currently deployed in the CERN IT Computing Facility. Take part!

You will oversee the installation, testing and support of a large number of servers and disk storage enclosures for the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid Tier-0 centre at CERN as well as for the many services run by other groups in CERN IT. Deep analysis of hardware-related problems with suppliers and manufacturers as well as the benchmarking of new hardware products will be part of your activities.

  • The IT Computing Facilities (CF) group which is responsible for management and operation of the Computer Centre and associated Computing Facilities. This includes the procurement of servers and storage with related validation activities, as well as planning the needs of procurement and retirements. The group also provides and supports tools for the automated operation of large scale computing facilities as well as an up-to-date hardware inventory for equipment installed. More information on the Computing Facilities group is at:
  • The Facility Planning and Procurement (FPP) section deals with the procurement of equipment for the Computer Centre and associated Computing Facilities, including the related validation activities, as well as planning the needs of procurement and retirements. It also maintains an up-to-date hardware inventory for equipment installed in the centralized computing facility.
  • More information on the Department is at:


As a Computer Hardware Engineer in the Facility Planning and Procurement (FPP) section, you will be given responsibility for installation, testing and hardware support of servers and storage system equipment in the CERN data centres. The function may also include providing hardware support to experiments and other departments using similar equipment.

In particular, you will:

  • Analyse user and service needs and recommend appropriate hardware;
  • Commission hardware and support peripherals by recording, analysing and verifying test data. Ensuring that they meet specifications and requirements, as well as current and forecast needs in a cost effective manner;
  • Monitor the correct functioning of equipment, following up on hardware incidents and investigate hardware technology problems, enhancing the management and monitoring and analysing performance issues;
  • Contribute to and support the section's software developments for automation of burn-in/acceptance as well as the new automation framework for preparing hardware production allocations;
  • Problem management of hardware related incidents and follow up with contractor and manufacturers as appropriate;

Perform a regular market watch and meet with engineers from major IT manufacturer to follow market developments and new trends in the area of IT servers and storage technologies and evaluate their relevance to CERN


Master's degree or equivalent relevant experience in the field of Master degree or equivalent in engineering, computer science or closely related field or a related field.


The experience required for this post is:

  1. Extensive experience with Linux and shell scripting;
  2. Demonstrated experience with Python programming language;
  3. Demonstrated experience with Windows;
  4. Demonstrated experience with server hardware (BIOS/UEFI, x86 processor architecture and virtualization, memory, GPU computing), interconnect (Ethernet, Infiniband) and types of storage drives (S-ATA, SAS, NVMe);
  5. Demonstrated experience with IPMI, SMART and SNMP.

Technical competencies:

  • User relationship management: establish and maintain regular contacts with end-users in LHC experiments and other collaborations;
  1. Problem management – Perform analysis of hardware related incidents and repair logs to detect, diagnose, classify and prioritize recurring problems;
  2. Emerging technology monitoring - Track computer hardware and software technologies, in particular from Intel, and try to match with potential usage at CERN;
  3. Technical Advice and Guidance - Assist users and service experts with optimal choice and use of hardware
  4. Systems installation/decommissioning - Takes responsibility for installation projects, providing effective team leadership, including information flow to and from the IT service experts during project work.

Behavioural competencies:

  • Managing Self: working well autonomously; taking on activities and tasks without prompting Remaining objective, focussed and productive in a stressful environment; focusing on solutions rather than problems
  • Communicating Effectively: providing others with timely information Leveraging support networks across the Organization
  • Working in Teams: working well in groups and readily fitting into a team; participating fully and taking an active role in team activities Gaining trust and collaboration from others
  • Solving Problems: identifying, defining and assessing problems, taking action to address them Adopting a pragmatic approach; understanding the value of adopting generic rather than gold -plated' technical solutions
  • Demonstrating Flexibility: being willing to work on different projects simultaneously Readily accepting new tasks or work/projects

Language skills:

Spoken and written English or French: ability to understand and speak the other language in professional contexts. Ability to draw-up technical specifications and/or scientific reports and to make oral presentations in at least one of the two languages.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States. (

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 29.10.2018

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

These functions require:

  • A valid driving licence is required.
  • Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.
  • Stand-by duty, when required by the needs of the Organization.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: IT-CF-FPP-2018-100-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Computing Engineer

Please make sure you have all the documents needed to hand as you start your application, as once it is submitted, you will not be able to upload any documents or edit your application further