New data shows Northern Ireland’s tech industry is booming

  • New data shows Northern Ireland is now home to one of the UK’s fastest-growing digital sectors with one in seven jobs now in the digital sector. 

    Northern Ireland’s digital sector is now growing faster than most of the UK with 15% of all available job opportunities in the tech industry, ahead of the UK average of 13%, according to data analysed by smarter job search engine Adzuna for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation. 

    The tech sector is flourishing and improving the economy as a whole in Northern Ireland, with a 12.4% increase in available jobs in Northern Ireland month on month in 2021, to 7,707 in June.

    Belfast is the centre of Northern Ireland’s tech scene with digital tech roles now making up 27% of all available jobs in the city, an increase of 10% from 2018. The city was named a tech hub to watch by Tech Nation earlier this year thanks to its high proportion of early-stage companies. 

    Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Northern Ireland’s tech scene is thriving and I'm delighted to see that one in seven job opportunities in the country is now in the cutting-edge digital sector.”

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    UK tech startups and scaleups are raising more money than ever before and this is the same for Belfast’s fledging digital companies. Already in 2021, Belfast startups have raised £18.8 million in venture capital funding, ahead of 2020’s levels of £17.6 million.

    Belfast is developing a reputation as a hub for software, life sciences and cybersecurity companies. This year Cumulus Neuroscience, a platform focused on improving neuroscience clinical trials, raised £6m in early VC funding. 

    Another Belfast-based startup Kariostech, an elite sports management platform, raised £1.5m in seed funding. This wave is expected to continue thanks to the high proliferation of seed startups in the city which will scale into fast-growth companies over the next few years. 

    As well as local startups, Belfast is home to large US tech companies such as IBM and Microsoft which are all vying for talent. The median digital tech salary is £32,657, compared to £24,030 across all industries. Belfast is ranked 14 in the UK for costs of living versus salary for tech jobs.

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    Software developers are consistently one of the most in-demand roles from companies across the industry. A junior developer can command a salary of around £27,500, which increases to £55,000 for a more senior position. The main skills employees look for in software developers include mathematical aptitude, problem-solving skills, programming languages, accuracy and attention to detail. 

    There is an increasing demand for senior-level employees across all areas of tech. For instance, 89% of available roles for IT System Architects are all for senior positions. As this work is so critical to organisations, the median advertised salary for a system architect starts at £37,500 for a junior position and rises to £70,000 for a senior role. 

    Dr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation, said: “Earlier this year, we named Belfast as a tech hub to watch thanks to the high number of seed companies and it's clear that this exciting sector is having an impact in the city and beyond with more tech opportunities than ever in Northern Ireland. The challenge over the next few years will be ensuring there are enough tech workers to take on these jobs and help the industry scale.” 

    The UK government is investing heavily in ensuring people across the country have the skills they need to succeed in the digital sector as part of a £2.5 billion National Skills Fund. This includes £43 million to expand Skills Bootcamps. The Bootcamps are providing training to people in areas such as coding, data science and digital marketing to help them advance in their current role or switch to a new profession. 

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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