Belfast 'now best city after London to work in technology sector'
Nearly one in four jobs advertised in Northern Ireland last year was for a digital tech worker as demand for talent grows in the sector, according to a report.
Industry body TechNation said its research showed that Belfast was now one of the best cities in the UK to work in technology - and the best place to come to work as a software developer.
The digital tech sector in Belfast now employs 60,000 people, on salaries around 17% higher than the national average - around £29,000.
It's now one of five UK cities where more than 10% of people work in digital tech.
And job opportunities in the sector are growing, with 16,853 roles up for grabs last year.
Salaries for digital technology roles have also grown by 120% over the past four years.
During 2018 advertised tech vacancies accounted for 24% of all advertised jobs - and the number of vacancies had more than doubled since 2015.
Major employers in Northern Ireland's tech sector include homegrown firms such as Kainos and Novosco. Last year Cork software firm Teamwork also set up premises in the city.
Northern Ireland's lower cost of living also makes it a more desirable place to work in tech - separate research on Monday showed that rents here are on average 14% lower than in the UK as a whole, at £665 per month.
And the growth of the sector here means that Belfast now competes with London for talent.
"The UK's fast-growing clusters around the country, particularly Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast, are competing with London and the South East for people with high-level skills and are paying to get them," the report said.
TechNation carried out the research for the government's digital economy council using data from the Office for National Statistics, a jobs website and a cost of living database.
Secretary of State Karen Bradley said: "I welcome the fantastic findings from Tech Nation that Belfast is the best place to be a skilled tech worker outside London.
"It also has the highest growth in digital job advertisements in the UK.
"Tech vacancies in Belfast grew by 120% from 2015 to 2018. This shows that the industry is booming and companies are keen to tap into the tremendous talent in the region.
"These findings show that Northern Ireland is a great place to start and grow a tech business and invest in world-class talent."
Overall, across the UK there were 1.7 million digital tech job openings during 2018.