Imperva, a US cyber security company, has announced plans to create 220 new jobs as part of an expansion into Northern Ireland.
The California-based firm has said it will recruit the new staff in Belfast over the next three to five years.
With 54 offices worldwide, Imperva will initially work out of Arthur House in Arthur Street and has said it will seek experienced staff as well as recent graduates.
The new roles are expected to include product development, tech support and customer management, with average salaries of around £32,000.
Imperva has taken on Roger Flynn as its director of customer success to oversee the Belfast operation.
Imperva’s president and chief executive, Chris Hylen, said the new Belfast office will help his firm “fuel the next phase of our global growth and expansion”, adding that it is part of the firm’s goal “to become the world’s leading hybrid security company”.
He said: “Our new office in Northern Ireland allows us to tap into the tremendous talent in the region, scale our business and continue providing customers with innovative solutions and support services.
“We’re excited to be in Belfast and are looking forward to building a best-in-class team.”
Invest NI, the economic development agency, is offering the US firm £1.43m toward the expansion.
This latest recruitment drive is expected to bring the total number of NI cyber security jobs to over 1,500 for the first time, representing a 15-fold increase in the past 10 years.
Cyber security expert David Crozier, who is head of strategic partnerships at Queen’s University’s Centre for Secure Information (CSIT), believes the new positions will complement the existing jobs within the fast growing sector, helping to create a more “balanced ecosystem”.
“From our perspective this is positive news and signifies once again that Belfast is a key centre for these types of cyber security-related jobs,” he said.
“Our own numbers would suggest that the cyber security industry in Northern Ireland has grown from about 100 people 10 years ago. This new announcement will bring that to over 1,500 for the first time.
“That’s worth around £60-65m a year in salaries alone to the local economy. That has to be welcomed.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK’s data relationship with the EU after March 29 2019, Mr Crozier suggested the global demand for cyber security makes it almost “Brexit-proof”.
“There’s such a demand for skills and technology in this area,” he said. “It sort of cuts through a lot of the concerns around Brexit, in that global companies will procure technologies wherever they can get it and employ good cyber security professionals wherever they can get them.”