This month’s Tech Inspirer is Darren Mariadas. After joining Transpire while still at university, Darren has moved through a number of roles, developed his confidence and skillset, and is now a high performing member of our iOS team. Ultimately, Darren just wants to be the man his dog thinks he is!
Darren, can you tell us about your role at Transpire?
I’m a software engineer specialising in iOS development, which I’ve been doing for the past two years. Prior to this, I was working part time as a QA/Support Analyst while I completed my undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
How did you make your way from university to joining Transpire?
I started at university doing a civil engineering degree. I did that for almost three years before realising that it’s not where I want to launch my career. I started learning how to code Java in my spare time and soon realised that I was spending more time learning how to code than studying for my civil engineering assignments! This was enough motivation for me to drop civil engineering and transition into a computer science degree.
In my second year, I wanted to get some work experience in the field, so I decided to look at the RMIT job board. I found a role titled Support Analyst that was part time, catered towards helping a student get an understanding of the industry, whilst supporting the potential candidate’s growth. I applied for the role immediately, and after a few interviews – I began my journey at Transpire.
After a year of being a Support Analyst, I decided that I wanted to get a bit more hands on with the products that Transpire were developing. I transitioned into a Quality Assurance analyst during my final year at university, and it was during this time I made my decision to move into the world of iOS. I’d been an Apple fanboy for as long as I remember, and seeing the strengths and capabilities of Swift (Apple’s programming language) really cemented my choice.
When you decided civil engineering wasn’t for you, and moved towards computer science, what was it that led to you making the move?
I don’t have anything against Civil Engineering, but it isn’t the most tech-savvy industry! I’ve always had a passion for Technology, and I knew that it was going to play a big part in whatever I did going forward. I saw so much more potential to make a positive impact on the world, and with my passion and enjoyment of writing code to creatively solve problems – it was a no-brainer. I can honestly say, it was the best decision I ever made.
What sort of projects are you working on?
I’ve always wanted to work on projects that can help people, while also positively impacting the world. My first project as an iOS Developer was DreamLab, and it couldn’t have ticked those boxes more accurately. DreamLab is a beautifully developed app that combines artificial intelligence and the processing power of idle smart devices, to assist with research on global health problems such as cancer and COVID-19. Seeing the worldwide impact from an app that was being compiled and submitted on my laptop was extremely fulfilling and motivating.
These days, I’m working on an application for the sports industry and while it is a little different to the health space, having the ability to make people’s lives easier whilst designing an inclusive and accessible experience, is something that is extremely fulfilling.
Do you have a career plan about where you want to go in the future?
Well, my goal is to continue learning and applying my knowledge, and progress to a senior engineering role. Whilst building my technical skills, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to take on people management responsibilities within Transpire, and this has really enhanced my love for working and collaborating in teams. Growing and leading a team will most certainly continue to play a part in my career progression.
We have a generous training budget here at Transpire. What are you looking at doing next?
I’d love to continue building my knowledge on all things iOS. There are still quite a few frameworks which I am yet to play with. One that sticks out is ARKit (Augmented Reality). The real world benefits that this technology can bring is limitless and is something I will be looking to dip my feet into very soon.
If you could highlight one skill that you think you’ve developed over your time at Transpire, what do you think it is?
I would say that my communication skills have grown immensely. When I first joined Transpire, I’d never worked in a professional environment before and so was quite reserved. My support analyst role however, saw me needing to communicate an array of technical issues to non-technical people, which really taught me the importance of clear and concise communication. This also instilled in me that one-size does not fit all and everyone has a different way in which they understand things. That role, and the qualities I learnt, laid the foundation to how I work today as a developer.
Software development isn’t just writing code, it’s discussing solutions, participating in ideation and communicating your ideas clearly to a wide range of technical and non-technical backgrounds.
What is it that motivates you every day to get out of bed and come to work?
I just want to be the man my dog thinks I am! In all seriousness though, I love to solve problems and I love to learn. Programming is something which you never truly stop learning, and that excites me – everyday. The fact that I can keep progressing and getting better, is largely what motivates me. This, along with the feeling of seeing an application you’ve shipped being downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people on the App Store, is something you can’t really describe.
What do you love about being part of Transpire?
It’s the growth mindset. Transpire supports everyone’s goals and will help every individual grow to reach their fullest potential. For example, my manager Anki has pushed me to pursue things that I originally thought were way beyond my abilities, but this insistence was instrumental in the development of my skills. There is a genuine spirit of collaboration and growth in the air, which is contagious in the sense that you want to do the same for your colleagues.