Belfast Telegraph

Global software firm dips into Northern Ireland talent pool

By Lisa Smyth

A global software company that counts Google, Amazon and Microsoft among its clients is recruiting 10 additional software engineers to work at its Belfast office.

WANdisco, a world leader in active data replication, is hoping to fill the vacancies in the coming months as it responds to the growing demand on its technological capabilities.

The additional posts means the company will expand its workforce at its Belfast office - located at the Gasworks in the south of the city - by 50% this year.

David Richards, co-founder and chief executive of WANdisco, said the company is growing at such a rate that it hopes to recruit more software engineers in Belfast in coming years, although the final figure has yet to be finalised according to future business needs.

"The problem with a company like ours is we are growing so quickly that it is difficult to predict how many more engineers we will need to recruit, or the timescale," he said.

"I would imagine it will be significantly more than the 10 we are recruiting at the moment.

"We want to fill those 10 posts pretty much immediately, in the next three to six months, and looking beyond that, in the medium-term, looking at the next two to three years, we would want to extend that a lot further.

"With a company like ours, it is very much like dog years, in that everything works seven times as quickly."

Mr Richards said the Belfast-based software engineers have been crucial in the development of the firm's Fusion technology.

Fusion, WANdisco's leading product, enables real time data replication between any data source with no downtime and no disruption and is integrated in solutions from leading software providers, including IBM, Amazon Web Services, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Google, Cisco and Microsoft.

As data is received, Fusion enables the replication of this data in real-time across multiple sites including, but not limited to, cloud storage, data centres, and on-premise servers.

Fusion provides continuous and consistent access to changing data anytime and anywhere, as well as eliminating the need for scheduled back-ups and associated down time with automated disaster recovery.

WANdisco has an original equipment manufacturer agreement with IBM, in which it resells WANdisco Fusion software under a white-labelled product called IBM Big Replicate.

Mr Richards added: "It is generally our perception that it is easier for us to find the skill set we require in Belfast compared to other geographic locations.

"Certainly, what is interesting about Belfast is that it is producing graduates who meet our requirements better than in other more traditional outsourcing places such as India.

"Queen's University in particular has some interesting degrees that are very close to what we do."

It is not the first time Mr Richards - who is originally from Sheffield but is now based in Silicon Valley at the tech firm's headquarters - has lauded the abilities of graduates turned out by universities in Northern Ireland.

He previously said he had decided to open an office in Belfast because the "education is phenomenal".

"Northern Ireland is able to create ready-made graduates able to step into jobs. You don't see that on the mainland UK, apart from Cambridge graduates," he said.

"Belfast seems to have solved the talent pool problem.

"In the rest of the UK we need to train people, rather than the universities (doing it).

"It's different here. The education system and the economy are more closely aligned than the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland should be the model."

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