If you had invested solely in the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) this year you’d be down around 3% today following a disappointing and turbulent first quarter of the year.

But if you had invested in one of these five technology shares things would have been very different.

Aconex Ltd (ASX: ACX)

Aconex is a technology disruptor providing an online collaboration platform for construction and engineering projects. The company has over 60,000 user organisations which have delivered $1 trillion worth of project value across the world. The company recently announced its plans to acquire German cloud collaboration service Conject GmbH. Although it will pay a hefty price for the company, management clearly sees enough in the deal to believe it will support long-term growth. Aconex shares have climbed 11.5% so far in 2016.

Altium Limited (ASX: ALU)

Altium is an exciting software business which enables companies to design printed circuit boards. Demand for printed circuit boards is expected to grow at a high rate for the next few years due to the growth of connected devices. If there is one share on the ASX that could benefit from the rise of the Internet of Things, I believe it is Altium. Year-to-date its shares are up almost 25%.

Catapult Group International Ltd (ASX: CAT)

Catapult is a leading global sports analytics company that provides sporting organisations and athletes with detailed, real time data and analytics to monitor and measure performance and injury risks. Domestically, it has league-wide arrangements with the Australian Football League and the Australian Rugby Union. Internationally, its client list runs into the hundreds and includes teams from the NBA, the NFL, the English Premier League, and Spain’s La Liga. This year its share price has gained just short of 13%.

Iress Ltd (ASX: IRE)

Iress provides information, trading, compliance, order management, portfolio, wealth management and enterprise lending systems and related tools. I believe it is best known for its popular XPLAN software designed for financial planners. Its international growth has been very impressive, especially in the United Kingdom where over a third of its revenue comes from. 95% of the top 100 UK money managers use its services, and 25% of all UK mortgages processed go through its software. The share price of Iress is up almost 12% year-to-date.

Nextdc Ltd (ASX: NXT)

NEXTDC operates data centres in five of Australia’s largest cities. As more and more data is generated and consumed, I believe demand for storage and access to it will grow at an increasingly rapid rate. With more companies moving to cloud-based applications and software, I expect to see NEXTDC continuing to benefit from strong demand for its services. Its shares have climbed over 11% so far in 2016.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Altium. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.