NI tech sector optimistic about the future

2 Dec 2009

The ICT industry in Northern Ireland is optimistic about its future, a survey by ICT body Momentum suggests.

The first in a new monthly survey of the industry shows that the vast majority of members are confident about business and plan to either expand or stay the same size over the next 12 months.

The survey was carried out by Momentum, the trade association for the ICT industry in Northern Ireland in November.

Optimism about future

Momentum’s CEO Ian Graham said the new figures showed that only one in eight feel pessimistic and almost half are optimistic about the future.

“Three-quarters of the respondents are indigenous Northern Ireland companies. Half are SMEs with fewer than 10 employees,” Graham said.

“Considering the difficulties that small business owners have faced over the last 18 months, it’s encouraging to find such a positive attitude.”

About trading

When asked how trading this quarter compares with the same time last year, 66pc reported conditions about the same or better. Over the next 12 months, 48pc expect to expand, 48pc to remain the same and only 3pc to reduce the number of staff.

“Development of the ICT industry is vital to the economy.” said Graham. “The businesses are well established in the fabric of the Northern Ireland economy, with more than 80pc of respondents established before 2005.”

The businesses’ activities include IT sales and services, multimedia production, software development and testing.

When asked what skills employers might be recruiting in the near future, the answers included skills in engineering design systems, C#, C++, Java, digital-marketing expertise, senior and junior developers to do Web 2.0 applications, Java, .Net, verification (performance and functional testing tools), and information management.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years