Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Darren Taggart

  • Name: Darren Taggart

    Role: Process Automation Practice Lead at Expleo

    What does your typical day look like?

    At Expleo, no two days are the same. A key element of my role is managing multiple Process Automation teams on client sites. I am also continuously looking for ways to enhance our offering: speaking to prospective clients, developing our personnel, and adding the correct people to the teams to ensure that we are always exceeding client expectations.

    What are you currently working on?

    Right now, I am analysing Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – the reading of text within a digital image – opportunities for a large insurance firm, which will automate and streamline significant aspects of the customers’ application processes. That includes carrying out various proof of concepts using different tools available in the market.

    I have also been working on several strategic initiatives to improve our Process Automation service. I am heavily involved in creating a bespoke training plan that utilises internal and external online courses, coupled with creating reusable content that can be rolled out across our other business areas.  

    I have driven the creation of a quarterly meetup for Process Automation professionals under the banner ‘RPA Connected’, as nothing like it existed previously. This meetup is not sales-orientated or specific to a company: the aim is to create a local network of like-minded people throughout Northern Ireland, who can showcase their capabilities to a wider group of professionals. Different presenters are encouraged to contribute during each session and we hope that these meetings will be face-to-face soon.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    I first joined Expleo on placement as part of the Assured Skills Software Testers Academy, where I spent six weeks shadowing and learning from senior colleagues in the business. From day one, I was made to feel welcome and a valued member of the team. This amazing support and the positive company culture in Expleo ignited my belief in the company and made me realise that I wanted to be a part of it. Eight years on, that belief has not changed.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    When it became apparent that playing for Manchester United was not an option, I needed to find an alternative career. I always had an interest in tech but hadn’t followed the conventional university path. I was working in retail and needed a change. I sought careers advice from the various bodies available, looked at the sectors with the greatest career opportunities and began speaking to people within those sectors. I had already applied for a Software Development Masters when I discovered the Software Testers Academy. The rest is history.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    The variety of work and the diverse range of technologies is important, but for me, it’s the people that I work with daily. I work with teams dispersed across the world from different backgrounds and with different interests. I love that we can all bring our own perspectives and experience to create a solution that meets the needs of businesses worldwide.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    I would say that the opportunities are endless. I have been fortunate enough to go from working in retail to speaking at some of the largest NI tech conferences. Technology is vital to us all and is now embedded in our daily lives. If you have a passion for learning and self-development, it’s a career oath you should seriously consider – you won’t regret it.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    Process automation streamlines a system by freeing people from mundane tasks. This results in fewer errors, faster delivery, better quality, reduced costs and a simplified business process. It incorporates software tools, people and processes to create a completely automated workflow that ultimately means you can focus on the more creative aspects of a job such as problem solving rather than the more boring ones such as data entry.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I took the leap to move from a managerial position in retail to return to the classroom, supported by my friends and family and without a guarantee of future employment. Throughout my career with Expleo, I have been very fortunate to have the support and guidance of incredible people, particularly Rob McConnell, the Head of Expleo NI. Over the last eight years, I have built a relationship with Rob that has enabled me to gain valuable insights from his extensive knowledge and expertise. His mentoring has given me the necessary skills to succeed, develop and progress with the company.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    For me, it would have to be Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These advanced technologies are all around us, helping to guide us through our day-to-day tasks and determining what we consume online. We open our phones with facial recognition, our homes are filled with smart devices, we even receive suggested weekly playlists based on our listening preferences on Spotify.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    My phone: it enables me to stay connected with my friends and family while keeping up-to-date with the world around me. That being said, it would be difficult to live without my Xbox too! 

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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