I was selected for the Trainline graduate scheme right after university and the first few weeks here have been a new chapter in my life. It might be somewhat confusing for most people how an Aerospace Engineering graduate finds himself starting out at a tech company that deals with trains. Software was always a key part of my work in engineering and I have always wanted to learn the tricks of the trade in this sector. What better way for me to achieve these goals than to join one of the most innovative e-commerce companies in Europe? And, more specifically, in a team which is responsible for so much interaction with the trains on the ground?
Welcome to Trainline
My first week at Trainline was quite a blur, as might be expected when you want to get up to speed on the functioning of a very fast-moving organisation. They really helped by arranging induction sessions for the new joiners, each dealing with a specific aspect of the company. I found these to be very valuable in giving me a bird’s eye view of the company structure and how the various systems interact with each other. One of the most engaging was the Q&A with our CEO where she shared her vision for Trainline, as it grows globally making it easier for everybody to travel. This really made me excited to be here.
Routemaster: the most sensibly named team at Trainline
The Routemaster team deals with those bits of Trainline that integrate right into the UK’s rail network, most importantly, journey searches. The work here involves an overlap of software and trains. This is also the most aptly-named team, as I found out on my first day when I went to collect my equipment from the IT support team named “Jedi”.
I found myself straight in at the deep end from day one as I paired with other team members working on actual product development. New joiners are encouraged to deploy something to production in their first week, whether it’s a comment or a line of code. Deploying my first two pieces of work into production in my first week substantially boosted my confidence and made me enjoy the learning experience.
What we do
As an engineer, I have found the work environment very engaging. I spend every day collaborating with some of the brightest individuals to solve problems and translate these solutions into good code. Programming itself is often not the majority of the work, a key aspect is to ensure all the different pieces fit well together. Often, you might find yourself concentrating on issues conceptually. Every day is different here at Trainline.
Besides the programming, the work in Routemaster also requires domain-specific knowledge about the rail network. An induction session dedicated to the UK’s rail network was very helpful. This ‘rail’ side of things is particularly exciting when you realise how close you are to the real-world implications of the problems that you solve on a day-to-day basis.
As exciting as all this is, there is a lot to learn and my team leader was very supportive in helping me set my objectives and organising all the additional training that I needed to fill the gaps in my IT skills. This has added a real structure to everything and makes everything a lot easier.
Besides this, all the fresh grads are also appointed a mentor. Mentors are purposely selected from other teams to help you to meet people from outside your immediate circle and allow you to be more open. Personally, my mentor is from a team called “Vulcan”, which as the name very intuitively indicates, deals with marketing 🙂 Furthermore, mentors are usually people who have themselves joined fairly recently and so the experience of being a new starter is fresh in their minds. There are regular mentor-mentee get-togethers, but you can just approach them whenever you want to ask anything related to work or otherwise. A great way to make some friends right from the get-go!
All work, no play?
It is not all work at Trainline, this is frankly one of the coolest places to work. Much like a university, there are clubs for you to get involved in. Yoga, salsa (as in doing not eating), board games or you can start your own! Trainline does have a great sense of community. And what a diverse community it is, with people from all over the world working at the company. They also encourage you to take part in Hackathons which is great for honing your skills and having some fun at the same time. As a graduate right out of university, you will fit right in as you can just continue to be a student! There is always something to get involved in here at Trainline.
Perks of the job
Also, no article about working at Trainline would be complete without mentioning the numerous perks on offer. While some organisations are content with offering you a vanishing Aston Martin with rocket launchers and expensive watches that explode, we go one step ahead and offer … free breakfast! It is impossible to stress how easy this makes my day. Then there are salary sacrifice schemes for things like gym memberships and bicycles. The location of the London office, right next to Leather Lane, gives you access to some of the city’s most awesome street food right at your doorstep, thus making it possible to look forward to every weekday!