Belfast Telegraph

Hadron Collider firm is to create 100 jobs in Belfast

Oregon IT giant puts faith in Northern Ireland workforce

By Margaret Canning

A software company in Oregon which operates the IT infrastructure for the Large Hadron Collider is creating 100 new jobs in Belfast.

The software engineer roles with Puppet Labs will pay around £37,000 per year – well above the average private sector wage in the province.

Puppet Labs makes software to help automate the management of machines, and its backers include Google Ventures – the venture capital investment arm of Google.

Its products are used by 22,000 organisations around the world, including Cisco, Twitter, PayPal and the London Stock Exchange.

The company, based in Portland, was also engaged two years ago by Geneva-based CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. CERN has been managing its own computer infrastructure.

But the demands of the Large Hadron Collider, a massive machine to discover fundamental particles, made its computer needs more complicated.

Since last year Puppet Labs has been managing a new computer centre for CERN.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "Against competition from several other sites, Northern Ireland has again proved to be the location of choice for a global trading company with ambitious growth plans.

"Puppet Labs is an innovative company who are committed to product research and development.

"Its arrival in Northern Ireland is a further boost to our already strong ICT sector, which is playing a significant role in growing the local economy."

She said Invest NI had offered £1m in support towards the new jobs, adding: "I understand recruitment is already under way and the 100 jobs should be in place within the next three years.

"The majority of the jobs are software engineering and quality assurance positions. The remainder are in areas including customer support and sales development."

She said that once filled, the jobs would deliver salaries of more than £3.7m to the economy.

Chief executive Luke Kanies, who founded the company in 2005, said his business had been growing rapidly, as IT automation was critical for any company relying on technology.

"This new centre will expand our engineering capacity to support growth, particularly in the European and Middle Eastern markets.

"Northern Ireland has strong software engineering talent and offers quality and cost advantages to support growth.

" We are also looking forward to working closely with Invest NI to continue to develop the software industry in Northern Ireland."

Puppet Labs' Northern Ireland operation will work with engineering teams in the US to develop the company's core product, Puppet Enterprise. Puppet Labs employs around 320 people around the world.

The company recently won 'best communication' at the Oregonian Top 100 Workplaces, and is currently holding its annual conference PuppetConf in San Francisco.

Puppet Labs is the latest in a string of job announcements by Invest NI in recent months. This month has also brought news of 35 jobs at Webtech in Fermanagh and 20 posts at contractor GR White & Co in the same county.

And in August, over 250 jobs were announced at new inward investor, law firm Baker & McKenzie. There were also 348 new positions announced at homegrown pharma giant, Almac, 140 call centre posts at energy firm SSE and 94 jobs at US IT firm Proofpoint.

Belfast Telegraph