Video: Robbie O'Brien on those 69 new cyber jobs to be filled from Derry’s ‘outrageous talent’ pool

The boss of Derry cyber security company, MetaCompliance, said the plan to fill 69 new positions over the next three years is all about harnessing the  “outrageous talent” pool that exists in the city.

Robbie O’Brien, who founded the software company back in 2005, believes Derry is ideally placed to capitalise on a growing market for products and services that protect people and companies from hackers and other cyber security threats in an increasingly digital and mobile age.

Robbie O'Brien, C.E.O. MetaCompliance and Invest NI Executive Director of Business and Sector Development, Jeremy Fitch.

Robbie O'Brien, C.E.O. MetaCompliance and Invest NI Executive Director of Business and Sector Development, Jeremy Fitch.

He was speaking after announcing MetaCompliance’s plans to double its workforce, triple its turnover, and generate £1.7million in additional salaries at its old City Factory headquarters in Patrick Street by 2019.

“I think Derry is a unique place. You have outrageous talent here and if you can harness that talent, you really do have a world-beating force,” he said.

Mr. O’Brien believes this force can capitalise on demand for products that specifically focus on security blindspots in the storage of personal and confidential data on the notoriously leaky third party networks and servers that are known as ‘The Cloud’ in the industry.

MetaCompliance’s MetaPhish product, for example, which mimics ‘phishing’ software used by hackers is already being marketed as an educational awareness-raising tool. MetaPhish will help drive the exponential growth that will see MetaCompliance take on dozens of new workers across a range of skill levels and pay grades by 2019.

“We’ve developed our products. We’ve got our e-learning content finished so now that that’s ready to go, we are now developing the infrastructure to put it out there.

“This time last year we were 25 people. Today we are 76. We’re currently recruiting 10 graduates. On December 1, we’ll have a graduate recruitment day [in the City Hotel 9.00 a.m. to 5,30 p.m.] and are looking for graduates from finance, sales, marketing, e-learning and graphic design.

“Then we’re looking at senior people, people that are in the IT industry or related industries, who want to come back, who have worked abroad, worked in England and got experience, and are looking to come back to Derry and participate in our initiative.”

The recruitment will increase MetaCompliance’s workforce to 102 and it’s not all about specialised roles.

“We take people who aren’t in the IT industry and train them up so their pay grades would be commensurate with that (£18-£20k). However, as they work with us and they start to generate revenue or intellectual property rights (IPR) those will start to increase and double in some instances.

We’ve young guys who started with us a couple of years ago on £16,000. They are now coming out with £30,000 or £35,000 and that’s the beginning.”

It’s a far cry from the early days, as Mr. O’Brien recalls.

“We’ve done our ‘Tour of Duty’. We started out in an old Georgian house in Northland Road, moved to Skeoge and as we got bigger we’ve got offices to meet the scaling.”

And it’s only likely to get bigger still.

“The market is enormous. Cyber security threats at a personal and organisational level are the new norm. The majority of people haven’t woken up to that yet. What we do is make it easier for companies to keep their people safe online and protect their own digital assets.”