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The IT industry in Northern Ireland is booming, there’s no two ways about it. Over the last couple of years we’ve had foreign investment, multinational software companies have set up shop, indigenous start-ups are going from strength to strength, and there are constant glances from the other side of the Atlantic eyeing NI as a potential location for their business’s next big move!

Need examples? Shopkeep, SpotX, Beezer, Vela, Citi, Allstate, SQS, etc etc……get the picture?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a recent graduate starting out your journey in software development, an experienced engineer looking for that next step, or a long in the tooth development manager with 20+ years of experience; there is something for everyone in our IT sector today!

However, there is a little bit of misconception when I find myself talking to professionals within the industry….that EVERYTHING of interest is in Belfast! Time and time again, I talk to candidates with accents from Derry, Coleraine, Ballymena, Omagh, Strabane or further to name a few (no offence if your town was missed out!).  These candidates generally start talking to me about their current roles, or aspirations for their next role, and the common theme tends to be ‘The Big Smoke’ that is Belfast. They are generally resigned to having to travel 45, 60, 90 minutes to work in the mornings (or possibly even talking about relocating altogether).

My response? “Why don’t we just take a look at what is happening around the North West first?”. That question is normally met with either a pause of silenced confusion, or an immediate “I don’t think there’s anything suitable up there”.

It wasn’t overly long ago where myself and our Head of IT Recruitment took a day trip up around the North Coast to visit some of our active, HIRING clients:

  • First up, a growing software house in Coleraine, working on cutting edge tech in the insurance industry. A brilliant company, with some very highly skilled developers who have worked for some of the world’s biggest and best. Coleraine is the main town on the world famous Causeway Coast and most of the team have just 10 minutes to travel to work in the morning. There is no compromise on the level of technicality in their roles and they are constantly furthering themselves as developers.
  • Next stop, to the heart of Derry/Londonderry to visit a software house smack bang in the middle of town. These guys build their own unique cloud based software solution with a specialist team of engineers. The solution is used by businesses like Apple and Google, so not tech to be sniffed at, and all developed by Java engineers in Derry….not bad for somewhere where there are apparently no jobs!
  • Final stop of the day (after a tasty lunch) – The Science Park. Now this is an establishment in itself to be proud of! This complex is state of the art architecture, housing some Grade A offices and several of the best and most innovative companies around. The company we visited is a top tech employer, with software engineers getting exposure to brand new technologies and using it to engineer some industry leading software! Again, this is a multi-national company who look after their employees, and one who along with the help of our team here at MCS, have no problem finding and making space for the most talented engineers in the country!

This was one of the most eye-opening days in my recruitment journey so far. To actually get into these places and see that the companies in the North West are not ‘second grade options’. These are exceptional companies, working at the top of their sectors, and the people who work there are extremely proud to do so. Anyone of them could pack up their things and move to a company in Belfast…..but why would they? 

Here at MCS Group, I work with numerous software houses, FinTech giants and quirky start-ups who are looking for candidates in the North West at all levels. Whether you are an expert in .NET, a Java Master, or a Python enthusiast, get in touch for advice and we will help you take your next career step.

Call 028 9023 5456 or email