Belfast Telegraph

US communications firm gives IT workers a shot in the arm

By Symon Ross

A US healthcare communications company is seeking top engineering talent for its research and development operation in Belfast.

NaviNet, which arrived in Northern Ireland in January, said it was stepping up recruitment for its new European Software Engineering centre in Belfast after successfully hiring several key senior executives.

NaviNet chose Belfast as the location for its European headquarters over other IT hubs such as India because of the quality and adaptability of the region’s IT workforce.

The announcement of the £4.4m investment coincided with the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Northern Ireland late last year.

Damien Dougan, head of NaviNet Engineering Europe since January, said that recruitment would continue apace.

“NaviNet is well on track with our original plan which envisages having 25 people onboard this year, and 60 plus employees by 2012. This plan depends on first being able to hire senior people to lead teams and hit the ground running — so having already successfully hired senior staff for both the Development and Quality Assurance teams is highly encouraging.

“We still have a number of senior and intermediate vacancies and after filling them will start formalising graduate recruitment programmes.”

NaviNet has America’s largest real-time healthcare communications network, linking more than 800,000 providers, patients and health insurers.

Its base in the Northern Ireland Science Park is the company’s first expansion outside the US and is expected to deliver over £2m in salaries into the Northern Ireland economy.

The company anticipates being able to hire “energetic” and enthusiastic recruits.

“There has always been a good supply of software engineers in Belfast and the universities here have very good reputations internationally,” said Mr Dougan, who has worked in the local IT sector for 15 years. He said the company aims to create a “hugely collaborative environment” at its Belfast base, which will focus on research and development work. The operation will use Lean Software Development principles, giving individual teams responsibility for all stages of the product development process.

“It is all about empowering people as your most valuable commodity and creating the right environment for them to deliver,” said Mr Dougan.

“Compared to other systems I have encountered over the years, Lean really is different and brings not only results, but immense job satisfaction,” he added.

Belfast Telegraph