Markinson Team Members Make their Mark – Meet Darren

Darren Bostock, Senior Analyst

As a Senior Analyst and Software Engineer at Markinson, you could say that I define and create technology-based solutions based on comprehensive collaboration with our clients and our team.

I have an aptitude for and genuinely love technology. I am constantly impressed by the things that can be created using technology and thoroughly enjoy using it to solve problems – both personally and professionally. As technology adapts and evolves so quickly, I decided to become a generalist in the tech space early on in my career. This has meant that as well as staying at the forefront of technology, I’ve had to hone my skills in areas like learning, listening to clients (about their needs, problems and wants) and managing projects. In turn, I have created innovative, tech-based solutions that allow clients to meet their current and future needs. This has enabled me to become a sought-after consultant, specialising in problem-solving, project management and implementation in the tech space.

Working at Markinson has some great benefits that help feed my love of technology. There is a culture of learning, curiosity, innovation and understanding – which means my passion for learning is embraced because I can then offer more insights and improved solutions to clients. I also get to see a project’s impact once it’s completed – helping both clients and Markinson succeed. Because of the culture here at Markinson, I feel comfortable embracing how I think and process information and can view it as my secret ingredient when deconstructing and rebuilding a client’s problem to define and then create their solution.

Throughout my career, I’ve gotten to do some interesting and impactful projects. The one that stands out as the most impactful was when I was a Course Coordinator teaching game design and software development at QANTM. Every year there was a 1-day event where we invited potential students of the course to come in. Previously, it had been a 30-minute programming lesson and then 6 hours of playing Multi-Player Games. It wasn’t indicative of what they’d experience when they were students, and it didn’t get them excited about the course or programming in general. So, I worked with the team to update the event format. It became a brief lesson teaching them how to program a revised robot text-based computer game called CRobots. The teaching team had combined the original game with a game engine which added 3D graphics and a better user interface. Once the teaching finished, they were given time to program their robot, and then the attendees competed against each other. At the end of the day, there was time for Multi-Player gaming, but the students enjoyed the coding experience so much that all the attendees were still tweaking their robots. It was a great way to show them what game developers do & how they do it by learning, playing games and having fun. Not only was setting up the event interesting and fun, so was the event itself. I really enjoyed the whole exercise, and I’m proud of how well it went.

I collect hobbies because I thoroughly enjoy deep-diving and learning everything I can about new things. The best part of collecting hobbies is that I don’t forget what I’ve learned already, so I cycle through them over time and rediscover my love for each hobby. Technology and innovation drive many of my hobbies because I enjoy finding ways to incorporate technology into things that it’s not typically seen in. For example – I love cooking, especially on BBQs that I have collected, using a “low and slow” American BBQ technique. I’ve incorporated technology into one of my BBQs so that I can cook remotely once I’ve set it up, instead of needing to monitor it closely. I also enjoy Astronomy and Astrophotography – I’ve got multiple telescopes, and once I’ve taken the photos, I stitch them together to create an ultra-hi-res photo using programming and photo editing software. Outside of these, I also enjoy writing and playing music, 3D printing, and programming (things like game development, machine learning, and simulations).

If I had a chance to tell my 16-year-old self-something, it would be to embrace the message of acceptance as portrayed in this video as I have learned that the sooner we discover the things that we can be grateful for in life, the sooner that we can build from that and achieve better. To quote Babylon 5, “I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?”. Learning to navigate and enjoy our brief existence as the meteor in the video does enables us to begin the process of building a life well-lived instead of avoiding things in life.

What do I wish people knew about me? I like positive outcomes, so if you’re not sure about something, need more information or have something clarified, or are unhappy about something, I’m more than happy to answer questions, take feedback and work with you to make sure there is a positive outcome.

Markinson Team Members Make their Mark – Meet Michael

Michael Walters, Product Unit Lead – Shopkeeper
As the Product Unit Lead for Shopkeeper, I manage the Shopkeeper team and ensure clients get the most out of the product. Having a broad knowledge of programming languages, software architecture, and technologies means that I can help the team create Shopkeeper documentation and processes. Markinson’s culture is always positive and encourages interaction across all the teams. Book club, trivia, and team days are just some of the ways everyone interacts and gels. We also have an excellent learning environment where upskilling is supported and encouraged. The need for remote working and the introduction of hybrid working models required as we expanded our team, has meant that teams now often contain international members and has brought about a cultural shift within teams. These changes facilitated learning about cultural differences and the importance of employee-led coaching; instead of “Managing” everyone the same way. Team and project coordination has also been an area of renewed learning, driven by the need for alternative solutions that ensure all team members have the same chance to succeed, leading to improved client outcomes. If I had a chance to give my 16-year-old self any advice, it would be to not measure other people by your standards. Instead, measure people by business/project objectives – not how closely they did a particular task to how I would have done it. There’s a reason we hired them, let them be the expert. Leverage what they’re good at. Something most people may not know about me is that I tend to shift from one hobby to another quite quickly – diving quite deep when I do. I could hit the bullseye with a bow and arrow more times than not, at 30 metres in my early twenties (which is harder than it might sound!). I have sewn bridesmaids’ dresses for multiple weddings; I’ve got photography that has been sold online and featured in magazines (and I’m currently into astrophotography). I also paint miniatures and do cross-stitch. I play tabletop games like Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons with friends and family. I also colour my hair a crazy colour every winter. The whole family gets involved – at least, they all share their ideas and opinions. One of my greatest strengths is my personability. I would like people to know that they can talk to me if they’re having a hard time. As a parent of three kids (all with high levels of special needs), I know what it’s like to be having a tough time at home or worried about how stress or mental health might impact other parts of my life. I’ve also had depression and can empathise with how that can affect a person. I share this because I want people to know that these things are far more common than we think they are and that I’m here to talk to. While I love technology, it’s safe to say that social media has skewed our perceptions about what life is actually like. It’s not always pizza and puppies, sometimes we have a bad day. I’d rather people feel like they could speak to me than feel they are alone.

Markinson Team Members Make their Mark – Meet Ben

Ben Welch, Head of Product Development
In my role, I oversee the development team and product strategy to develop innovative but relevant software solutions. What I like most about the work is the people because it is the people that make a business successful. I find working in teams and overcoming problems is the most rewarding part.

My area of expertise is in application development and management. So what this means is having come from a programming background of building ERP systems I know how to get the most from the systems we work with.

I love sports and being active. In particular, I have played three codes of football, I play tennis, cricket and basketball and love running and mountain biking. So during the week, I am inside but by the weekend it is all about getting outside and active.

The downside of having such an active lifestyle is that I have injured almost every joint in my body. This means I have been to a lot of physio’s and through this have learnt a lot about how the body works.

With my love of the outdoors, I decided in 2015 to do the 100km Oxfam charity hike which was held in Brisbane. I did the hike over 2 days with only small breaks and no sleep. The hike was through Mt Glorious, Mt Nebo and Mt Cootha. Lots of hills and winding roads. Getting to the finish line felt really good and I am proud that I completed this.

I have also hiked the Cradle Mountain summit and back from Dove Lake in 5 hours. I had to smash it out as the rest of my family didn’t want to join. It was a very beautiful location and I am glad that I did it. The next adventure that I dare to dream about is Base Camp and also South America’s Patagonia.

Markinson Team Members Make their Mark – Meet TJ

TJ, Network and Systems Administrator
I go by the name TJ because my Africana name is hard for many to pronounce, and TJ has just stuck over the years.

What I like most about the work I do is working on a new task with teams to resolve it and making sure the system is up and running and working to capacity.

Since starting at Markinson in September I have been busy deploying the Microsoft team and moving away from Slack. It is great working with the team and it’s a good feeling when we find a solution and it works.

My area of expertise is as a network architect specialist and an achievement that I am very proud of is, in my consultancy business in South Africa, I was the first person to create the G27 application that ran on voice CODEX. This application enabled wireless calls to be made to anyone in South Africa, and is still used today by VOX Telecommunications and Atlantic Internet Services.

I am a real family man and look forward every evening getting home to spend time with my lovely 7 and 2 year old daughters. We play games every night often in our big yard where we have swings and a trampoline. I also enjoy sitting with them as they build things which helps improve their motor skills. Each night before bed we have bible study and I enjoy watching them fall asleep. On weekends we often go to Wellington Point which we all look forward to.