Northern Ireland's biggest jobs announcement in 2013: 650 new IT positions created
The region's credentials as a tech-hub bolstered with yet another jobs boost for the sector
Up to 650 new jobs are to be created in a further boost to Northern Ireland's burgeoning tech industry.
US-owned Allstate is expanding its three operations in Belfast, Londonderry and Strabane with hundreds of new IT positions.
It's the second largest single tranche of jobs since devolution in 2007.
Almost 200 of the software development, testing, infrastructure services and analytics posts have already been filled.
The remaining staff will be taken on board over the next three years.
The firm's Belfast operation was first set up in 1998, and is one of several big-name US tech giants to open up operations in Northern Ireland.
Allstate has received £4.5million of support towards the expansion from Invest NI.
It's thought the new jobs could add £20 million annually in additional salaries.
In the last few years, Belfast has become a home away from home for many international technology firms.
That includes the Chicago Mercantile Exchange - which opened its office last year.
The firm announced it was creating up to 200 posts.
In 2010, NYSE Euronext's 'centre of excellence' at Adelaide Exchange opened - set to create around 400 jobs over the next few years with technology, operational and corporate positions.
After bringing 1000 jobs to Northern Ireland in 2004 – US financial services operators Citigroup also revealed further expansion with an additional 500 positions over the next five years.
Welcoming the latest technology jobs announcement today, Allstate's Bro McFerran said the company's local arm "remains an integral part of Allstate Insurance, and today’s announcement is testament to the talented people we have here and the significant contribution that people in Northern Ireland have made to Allstate’s operations".
"Allstate Northern Ireland has had a strong presence here since 1998, and working closely with Invest NI, we have grown to employ over 1,900 people across our three sites," he said.
"Many of those people are non-IT graduates who have received advanced training and now have new skills and regarding careers with Allstate."
The First and deputy First Ministers visited the firm's offices in Belfast to welcome the huge employment boost for Northern Ireland.