A new technology hub for business services firm Deloitte in Belfast, which has resulted in 177 new jobs in the city, is the only one of its kind in the UK and a huge vote of confidence in the Northern Ireland workforce, the firm has said.
The new posts include a mixture of graduate and experienced positions, will have an average salary of £34,000 per annum and will be filled over the next three years.
Insiders said that new premises may be sought for the extra workers. Deloitte, one of the top four global consultancy companies in the world, already employs around 200 people at a building in Bedford Street.
The Technology Studio was started as a pilot in Belfast in 2011 and is now being developed into a fully fledged centre.
Recruitment is already under way for the new positions.
Invest NI has offered £1.2m in support towards a new technology studio in the city.
Danny McConnell, technology partner at Deloitte Belfast, said that the jobs would involve software engineering, development and testing and data and number analytics for UK, European and international clients.
He added that Belfast won out over other UK locations because workers here are fast becoming recognised for their skills in data analytics.
"These will not be accounting jobs, these will be creative, digital jobs where staff will be working on developing, engineering, building, testing and marketing applications, websites and software for our clients," he said.
"This will be the only centre of its type in the UK and is a huge vote of confidence in the Northern Ireland workforce from a globally renowned company. Northern Ireland's universities are also highly regarded and this investment is proof of the importance of the science, technology, engineering and maths courses offered here."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added that as demand for jobs in the STEM sectors grows, our universities need to continue producing highly-qualified graduates in these subjects.
"When we look at how difficult the climate is and how traditionally strong sectors like hospitality and construction are suffering, this investment shows how important it is that we strengthen our position as a source for jobs like these," she said.
"The services sector is growing. We are known for our strength in the financial technology sector and these are different technology jobs concerning analytics, development and testing.
"As well as competition from the rest of the UK we are also facing competition from places like India and we need to keep ahead of the pack and keep competitive to keep attracting jobs like these."
Deloitte in numbers
People already working for Deloitte in Belfast
Average annual salary of the new Deloitte posts
Backing from Invest NI towards a new studio
Number of new jobs at Domestic Sheepskins