ICT sector

Northern Ireland has proven technology experience, capacity and capability.

It has a vibrant cluster of 1,200+ companies including 100 global technology leaders which have established business operations in Northern Ireland such as Fujitsu, SAP, Broadsoft, Xilinx, Rapid7 and Whitehat Security; as well as local companies exporting internationally such as First Derivatives, Kainos and Novosco.

Northern Ireland offers a highly skilled experienced and adaptable workforce; a cost competitive location and a partnership approach with government to provide advice and financial incentives for locating within the Region.


Areas of expertise

The Northern Ireland ICT sector is composed of a number of important clusters:

  • Financial services tech
  • IT services
  • Telecom, mobile & data networks
  • Data analytics
  • Healthcare IT
  • Advanced networks & sensors

And the rapidly growing areas of:

  • Cyber security
  • Legal services technology
  • Precision medicine
  • Big Data/Internet of Things


Northern Ireland offers an abundance of high quality talent. Northern Ireland is consistently the top performing region of the UK in national exams at age 16 & 18. 77% of high school grads (post A-level) go on to further and higher education compared to the UK average of 71%.

Government, industry and academia have implemented a number of collaborative initiatives in training and education, such as cyber and data analytics academies, to ensure the workforce continues to meet the needs of the global ICT industry. Find out information about the Assured Skills programme

The most passionate, devoted, educated and skilled people I have ever worked with.

- Paul Vienneau, Cayan

Cost competitiveness

Competitive salary costs, low employee attrition rates, lower operating costs including low property costs.

Labour and property costs for a 200 person software development centre in Belfast are 36% less than Dublin, 44% less than London and 58% less than New York. Source: Financial Times, fDi Benchmark 2017

Attractive tax regime

Northern Ireland's current rate of corporation tax is 20% and this will reduce to 12.5%, making it the joint lowest in Western Europe. Companies can also access the UK’s R&D tax credit and patent box schemes. The combination of attractive incentives mean that for every £1 invested in R&D could cost a business as little as £0.49. Find out more information about our support packages


Excellent infrastructure

Northern Ireland offer first-class property options, sophisticated telecoms and accessibility to Europe and the rest of the world. Find out further information about our advanced infrastructure


Government support

Northern Ireland has a low risk, pro-business environment with a local government committed to growing the ICT sector. Invest NI will develop a bespoke package of practical and financial support, this can include:

  • Attractive financial incentives to support job creation, training & R&D.
  • Practical on the ground support from Invest NI to facilitate location assessment and the development and implementation of investment plans.
  • Active promotion of collaboration between industry, government and academia.


Northern Ireland has a global reputation as a hotspot for mobile fintech investment and is home to one of the fastest-growing technology clusters cyber security.

Belfast is now the #1 international investment location for US cyber security development projects* with investors such as Proofpoint, Rapid7, WhiteHat, Black Duck and Anomali. Read more information on how Northern Ireland has emerged as a world-leading cyber security hub (PDF) (*fDI Markets, from the Financial Times 2017)


Northern Ireland is home to two world renowned universities, Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

Queen’s University Belfast
In the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide, Queen’s has a combined school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) with seven research clusters across the two disciplines.

Queen’s has a combined school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) with seven research clusters across the two disciplines.

Queen’s University Belfast is a member of The Russell Group and is in the top 1 per cent of universities world-wide. Queen’s has a combined school of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) with seven research clusters across the two disciplines. The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

The Center for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast is Certified by GCHQ as “Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research” (ACE-CSR) and was awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize 2015 for “strengthening global cyber security”. It brings together research specialists in data encryption, network security systems, wireless enabled security systems and intelligence surveillance technology.

Students can embark on an MSc in Applied Cyber Security and a PHD in Cyber Security at CSIT.

Read more

Ulster University
One of the world’s top 150 new universities it has the largest ICT course provision in Ireland and one of the largest in the UK.


The Computer Science Research Institute (CSRI) at the Ulster University comprises over 50 academic staff, c. 30 contract research staff and 90 PhD students across three schools in the Faculty of Computing and Engineering, the School of Computing and Information Engineering, the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems and the School of Computing and Mathematics.

The Intelligent Systems Research Centre (IRSC), established Ulster University it represents a significant commitment to leading-edge research infrastructure. The Centre provides a state-of-the-art research environment, including laboratories for bio-inspired and neuro-engineering, brain-computer interfacing, computational neuroscience, cognitive robotics, and instrumentation, along with facilities for research in ambient intelligence and wireless sensor networks.

Read more

Who's here


BRS Golf is a division of GolfNow, Golf Channel and NBC Sports. BRS Golf has produced the world's first cloud-based tee sheet which allows the management of bookings from anywhere on any device, with 1500 customers worldwide. It has over 50 employed in its Belfast offices and continues to grow rapidly.


Etain is the home of smarter software for intelligent businesses and a leading Microsoft Partner in the UK and Ireland. Experts in digital transformation, the provision of bespoke software applications and cloud based solutions for both public and private sectors, with extensive experience in legal, financial, health and services industries. Etain provides custom development services, managed services and resource augmentation, as well as expertise in big data, internet of things and security.


Equiniti ICS has its headquarters and registered office in Belfast and is an IT services Division of the Equiniti Group. It is experienced in delivering secure IT solutions and business services with over 300 employees. Equiniti ICS helps organizations to develop into high-performance businesses by transforming their processes and operations, improving customer service, driving organizational efficiencies and reducing costs. The company has offices in Belfast, London and Reading.


First Derivatives (FD) is recognised as one of the fastest growing capital markets service providers and employs over 1,700 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Newry, Northern Ireland from where it has established its research and development center, its Capital Markets Competency centre and its near-shore support facilities. The company now has operational bases in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia to service its global client base.


Kainos is a leading provider of award-winning digital services and platforms to public and private organisations around the globe, helping them to work smarter, better and faster. Kainos is headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has offices in the UK, Ireland, Poland and the US and provides services to its customers across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Kainos has recently announced a multi-million pound R&D investment in Northern Ireland to develop new software which will transform the way healthcare is delivered through the use of mobile technology.


Puppet Labs, a US software company, is creating 100 jobs in Belfast with the establishment of an engineering center. The company works in the field of development operations, which involves creating software that allows IT system administrators to automate tasks. Its software is used by firms like eBay, Bank of America and Cisco to configure and manage their IT infrastructure. The firm employs 320 people worldwide, mainly at its headquarters in Portland, Oregon.


California-based Proofpoint is a next-generation cybersecurity company protecting people, data, and brands from advanced threats and compliance risks. Built on the cloud and the world's most advanced intelligence platform, its solutions help clients effectively detect and block targeted attacks and respond quickly to suspected compromises. It has set up its Belfast R&D and Operations center, for Proofpoint Essentials, in Belfast, recruiting 90 staff. This will support the company’s customer base in EMEA.


SQS is a quality management and software testing company headquartered in Germany. The company has set up Development Operation centres within the Northern Ireland Science Parks in Belfast and Derry, employing 80 people in Northern Ireland. SQS centres offer a range of high value services such as Agile Development, DevOps, Test Automation, Security, Performance Engineering and Quality Assurance services and ensure that the company remains a global leader in the provision of quality software services.

Find out more about preparing for Brexit in the ICT sector.

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Legal Innovation flyer (PDF)
Sep 26, 2019
Risk and Compliance flyer (PDF)
Sep 09, 2019
FinTech flyer (PDF)
Sep 09, 2019
Cyber Security flyer (PDF)
Jun 26, 2019
Blockchain (PDF)
Dec 04, 2017