Tech jobs boost shows faith in Northern Ireland's workforce
A US tech firm with online retail giant Amazon among its clients is creating 90 well-paid jobs in Belfast - and says they could be the first of many.
Alert Logic is a cloud-based security firm from Texas, which has had a small team in Belfast for the last few months.
But boss Gray Hall was in the city to announce the company is almost trebling the existing workforce here - with average salaries of £44,000.
It's already hired around 30 staff, with the remaining jobs being added over the next two years.
"We are a cyber-security company, we protect businesses which have mission critical applications and data, running in all kinds of data centre environments, particularly those who are moving to public cloud environments," he said.
"We have more than 3,600 customers, and they range from some of the largest companies in the world, to start-ups, and everything in between."
Mr Hall said the skills base in Northern Ireland was "very strong" in the key areas needed to work for the tech business.
Alert Logic also has UK offices in London and Cardiff.
Invest NI has offered the firm £572,000 of support for the new jobs, due to be in place by the end of 2017.
And Mr Hall said further jobs and expansion could be due down the line.
"This is very much a starting point," he said.
Mr Hall said there still remains enough space at its current location at Weavers Court in south Belfast, but it's thought further expansion could mean moving elsewhere.
Launching the new jobs, Finance Minister Mervyn Storey said the latest high-salary posts are another indication that Northern Ireland is "fast becoming a global cyber-security hub".
"These are top-end jobs, and when you see the average salary of around £44,000, that gives an indication of what specifically this company is looking for," he said.
"Northern Ireland is well placed to capitalise on the major growth in the cyber-security sector. We have recently successfully attracted a number of leading cyber-security investors including Proofpoint, Whitehat Security and Rapid7.
"I think this is an indication there are a number of organisations or companies who see Northern Ireland as a good place to come for a variety of reasons.
"Obviously our skilled workforce (was a reason). When you speak to the chief executive, who is with us from Houston, obviously that was a key component of the decision.
"They looked at other regions in the UK, but decided that Belfast and Northern Ireland was the place to be."
Some of Alert Logic's other customers include Rosetta Stone - the language learning software firm - and US listed finance firm Penns Woods Bancorp.