Nir Barkat was born in 1959 and raised in Jerusalem. He served in the Paratroopers Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces for six years (1977–83), as well as reserve duty, and reached the rank of Major.
Mayor Barkat received his bachelor degree in computer science at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. He started his career in the hi-tech industry by founding a software company called BRM in 1988, which specialized in antivirus software.
Nir Barkat entered politics in January 2003 when he founded the party Yerushalayim Tatzli'ah ("Jerusalem Will Succeed") and ran in the Jerusalem mayoral race, gaining 43% of the vote and narrowly losing to Uri Lupoliansky. He became head of the opposition on the city council, until the 2008 election. Barkat ran again and won the election for mayor of Jerusalem on 11 November 2008. Nir Barkat has been the Mayor of Jerusalemsince 2008.
Mayor Nir Barkat is married to Beverly, an artist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Snunit, Israel's largest Hebrew educational website. They have three daughters.