A new software training programme has been developed by government departments and top IT companies to steer graduates towards hi-tech jobs.
The software testing and quality assurance course will run for 14 weeks and include a company placement.
Research by Invest NI found demand for the skills across a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, telecoms and financial services.
The Software Testers Academy training programme, designed by prospective employers in partnership with Stormont departments, was launched by Employment and Learning (DEL) Minister Stephen Farry and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.
A pilot project costing approximately £65,000 will be delivered by the South Eastern Regional College.
The scheme is open to HND or degree graduates from any discipline who can look forward to the prospect of an industry recognised qualification and potential employment.
The architects of the programme hope that the close co-operation between government and industry in designing and conducting the programme will lead to "most if not all" of the 20 successful applicants to the pilot securing a job.
Minister Foster said: "Matching the skillsets of our graduates with industry needs is vital to ensuring that Northern Ireland remains an attractive location for inward investment and a fertile ground for indigenous company growth. By building core software test competencies and transferable IT skills for participants, the Software Testers Academy will further strengthen the skills base, supporting the growth of a vital niche function within our important and growing ICT sector."
Mr Farry said the training programme was a response to industry needs and had been "turned around in just a few months"
Businesses involved in developing the academy included representatives from Citi, Liberty IT, Allstate, SQS and Openwave.