Category: Rail Careers

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Izzy Mallon, Technical Product Owner

Izzy Mallon, Technical Product Owner

In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the team’ feature, we spoke with Izzy Mallon, Technical Product Owner, on what drew her to the world of rail, the opportunities for problem solving that her role presents and the key advice she would give to women looking to forge a career in technology, and more:

Hi Izzy, can you give us an insight into your main roles and responsibilities at 3Squared?

At 3Squared, I am a Technical Product Owner, where I help develop 3Squared products. This involves working with both the software development and service design team to design new solutions and scope out new requirements. My role also includes programming; this could be anything from fixing a small grammar bug to implementing new features within applications.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

There is a lot of opportunity for problem solving. I love the creativity and teamwork required to tackle a complex problem and create a solution that meets user needs and is really simple to use.

I also enjoy being able to develop new skills. The tech industry is constantly evolving, so there are always exciting new challenges to take on, with new learning opportunities.

What do you enjoy about the culture at 3Squared?

I started at 3Squared straight from university and found that everybody was friendly and supportive in helping me to learn. I was able to share any problems I was having during project work, and I was taught new skills to figure out how to solve them. I love the culture here, as there are plenty of social events where you can get to know your colleagues.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Every morning begins with a stand up, but otherwise, my day-to-day work varies throughout the week. Some of my days will be filled with different programming tasks, fixing bugs, or implementing change requests. On other days I will be investing time into new work that will be coming into my project, which can range from estimation sessions, sprint planning and refinement sessions, to much more.

What excites you about the world of rail technology?

How the work that we do makes people’s jobs easier. Harnessing data can give insights into how the rail industry can improve and make railways safer and greener. It is exciting to be working on projects where you know that you are making a practical difference to people’s lives.

What advice would you give to women looking to forge a career in tech?

As someone who only started programming after university, going into a tech career was all new to me. The jargon used was a whole different world, and it was easy to feel like it wasn’t for me, but I found that through persevering it became exciting to see the impact the power of technology can have in solving complex problems and making them simple. I think it is best to just get stuck in!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Once you are a few weeks or months in, it can be easy to forget what you didn’t know at the beginning, so other people probably want to ask the question as well. Also, don’t be intimidated by people who have been in tech for a long time, as being able to bring other skills and different ways of thinking can be really valuable.

Thanks for sharing your interesting insights, Izzy. If you would be interested in learning more about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here or get in touch via [email protected]

3Squared Appoints Martine Dodwell-Bennett in Role of Divisional Director

Martine Dodwell-Bennett, Divisional Director

Rail software and solutions specialist 3Squared are pleased to announce the appointment of Martine Dodwell-Bennett in the role of Divisional Director.

Martine brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from across the technology space to 3Squared. Martine’s role will be to enhance current processes and enable the business to make change happen and drive innovation across the rail industry.

Prior to joining 3Squared, Martine was Senior Business Consultant at AXA UK, Director of Sales Channel Operations at Lutron Electronics and Sales and Marketing Director at Steljes Ltd.

Passionate about understanding the customer journey, throughout her career Martine has provided a wealth of business propositions, underpinned with operational excellence and support, and has built rewarding team environments, across UK SMEs, newly listed companies, and global world leaders.

In the role of Divisional Director, Martine will be focused on taking the time to listen to the organisation’s customers and build the business’ proposition to address their emerging needs. Martine will also be developing the team at 3Squared, engaging with new talent, and nurturing existing talent within the business.

Martine commented on her appointment: “I am excited to learn more about the challenges within the rail sector and how we can help those working within the industry to achieve their goals and make a difference. Putting the customer at the centre and anticipating and meeting their needs is at the heart of this.

“I’m looking forward to identifying the hurdles for implementing digital solutions to ensure that successful implementations take place across both freight and passenger operations, delivering positive change for the wider rail industry.”

If you would like to find out more about Martine’s role and say hello, get in touch with us via [email protected]

3Squared ‘Meet the team’ – Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing

Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing

In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the team’ feature, we spoke with Graham Cooper, Head of Product & Marketing, on how integral communications is to the rail industry, how Graham’s expertise in the education sector is informing his work in rail, and much more:

Hi Graham, can you give us an insight into your main roles and responsibilities at 3Squared?

I’m responsible for the Product Management and Marketing functions at 3Squared. The Product Management part of that means that I work with the great team at 3Squared to make sure that the RailSmart suite and our other products have all the right features and functions in to meet the challenges of running a modern, increasingly digital railway.

I also talk to lots of our customers to see ‘what’s next’ and make sure we continue to innovate and offer solutions that keep 3Squared at the forefront of digital rail technology with solutions that operators need to meet the challenges in front of them.

The Marketing element means I’m responsible for letting our customers know about the solutions we offer and that they understand how 3Squared’s products can improve how they run their rail businesses.

How has your experience in the education sector informed your experience within the rail sector?

That’s an interesting question. There are many differences of course. Where I used to worry about technology solutions for around 20,000 schools, now the numbers are much less – perhaps 40 passenger train and freight operating companies plus those businesses working in the rail supply chain.

There are not really any obvious parallels between the two, apart from the fact that most people have experienced both education and rail. Everyone has been to school and most people have been on a train.

However, the two industries do have some things in common. Both sectors are full of very passionate people who fervently believe in the benefits and impact of the services they provide. Both sectors are ripe for digital transformation and realising the benefits of delivering a better, more joined up experience that people have come to expect from their experience of consumer grade technology and software. Both rail and education have some catching up to do here – but it’s happening at pace now and we are determined to play our part at 3Squared.

How integral is communications and marketing to the rail sector?  

Hugely important. It’s of little use if we build brilliant solutions for the rail sector and no-one knows or understands them.

Therefore, we will be working hard to showcase how our customers make use of the 3Squared RailSmart suite of products to run more efficient business operations and a safer railway. Our customers are our best advocates, and it is really their stories that I want to tell in our marketing.

What do you enjoy about the culture at 3Squared?

It’s a bit of a cliché for a tech company to have a ‘cool’ culture. But I can say 3Squared is a little different. There is a real fun and open atmosphere in the office, which is probably helped by the best stocked kitchen cupboards and fridges (there are three) I’ve ever come across. I’m now trying to lose the weight I put on after starting here!

The social committee is very active so there is always something happening. Bi-weekly whole-company catchups help everyone in the business keep updated with 3Squared news. And – one more thing. People in the office love trains! We have one guy with a model railway on his desk and the #trainnerds channel on Slack is very active.

What excites you about working in the rail industry?

I’m really enjoying learning about a new industry – lots of new terminology, acronyms, and customers to meet. I think I am asking fewer and fewer daft questions now, although my colleagues might disagree! I think I am most looking forward to seeing how technology impacts the railway in the next 3-5 years as I think there is so much possibility.

I’ve got some customer visits planned to see how our software is used ‘in the real world’, so I am super excited to see how 3Squared software is used onboard a train, or behind the scenes in the control room.

Like most people, so far, I have only really experienced the rail industry as a passenger, so this will be interesting and, of course, hearing directly from end users will help us build the best products possible that have more chance of meeting end user needs.

What does a greener, digital railway of the future look like to you?

This is hugely important and one of the things I am most passionate about 3Squared solutions helping with. The rail freight industry has the potential to make a huge impact on the nation’s carbon footprint by supporting modal shift from road to rail. I read that the average freight train removes around 75 HGVs from our roads – with a high reduction in CO2 emissions as a result.

We are working with the logistics teams on the HS2 project to deliver software solutions that help them plan freight movements for the earth that is coming out of the tunnel boring machines – which again, will remove upwards of 6,000 HGVs off the road during the project. I believe that we will see rail traction go fully electric soon – this too will have a big impact in creating a greener, cleaner railway.

Thanks for sharing your interesting insights and marketing takeaways, Graham! If you would be interested in learning more about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here and connect with Graham on LinkedIn or Twitter if you would like to say hello.

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Jason Durk, Principal Consultant

3Squared Office Screen Shots

In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the team’ feature, we sat down with Jason Durk, Principal Consultant at 3Squared, to hear more about his role at 3Squared, his fascinating experience within the rail industry and the exciting opportunities for the freight sector:


Can you give us an insight into your role at 3Squared?

I spend a lot of my time trying to understand the complexities which lead to the issues that occur on the railway and pick at them until I uncover what sits behind them. That provides me with the insight I need to help try and fix it.

With that in mind, if I were to sum my role up in one sentence, I would say it is to help deliver solutions to problems.


What drew you to the role and working for 3Squared?

3Squared has a very good reputation in rail and, being a relatively small company, is flexible and dynamic enough to move quickly to the challenging demands of the rail industry and the changing needs of its customers.

3Squared also has an advanced suite of software solutions, RailSmart, which have been designed to solve real problems and help railway staff fulfil their duties, which can be difficult in a heavily regulated industry.

The people are also great and it’s a very relaxed company to work for.


What excites you about working in the rail industry?

I have worked in the industry for almost three decades, starting at South West Trains in 1994 and have worked in many roles. I’ve also trained as a Guard, an On-Board Supervisor, and a Dispatcher.

I spent 13 years at the Rail Delivery Group (formerly the Association of Train Operating Companies) which afforded me the opportunity to understand the complexities of the railway, specifically around planning and operations, the interfaces between them and how they provide daily challenges in running a railway: every day is different and provides different challenges.

I have witnessed a lot of change in the last 28 years. I have seen the railway embrace technology and adopt smarter ways of working, I have seen the railway family pull together in times of adversity and I have seen colleagues go out of their way to help customers – and I mean “really” go out of their way. Once a colleague of mine took an old lady’s cat halfway across the country by train because she was too frail to take it herself; that’s true dedication and proper customer service!

The railway is many things to many people, but to me it is a diverse and dynamic beast that motivates its custodians to deliver the best possible service against a backdrop of change. That’s what excites me.


What are you looking forward to working on in the coming year?

The pandemic has altered the way we go about our everyday lives. Whilst teams are returning to the office, there are still more people working from home more frequently, which means they travel less. Whilst that’s positive for passengers as crowding is reduced, the railway is less commercially viable.

On the flipside, more people are buying more goods online which means more items need transporting. And this means there is the potential to run more freight trains and promote modal shift – i.e., get more containers onto trains. This benefits the UK by removing heavy goods vehicles off our already congested road network, reducing the carbon impact of transporting container freight by road, and increasing the profitability of the railway.

3Squared has developed a tool called PathPlanner that helps operators find freight paths in the timetable so that they can run additional trains. However, because of the complexities around freight timetabling, a high percentage of freight paths that exist in the timetable are not used, and this presents a bloated network. Therefore, finding space to add a new path is difficult, and work is required to overcome this. We will be working on in the next 12 months.


Can you tell us a bit more about your plans for PathPlanner?

3Squared will be enhancing PathPlanner over the next year, which will see us develop Machine Learning algorithms that will predict the paths that will not be used and highlight them. This will enable them to be removed from the timetable and unlock available capacity.

In 2021, Network Rail delivered a £17m upgrade project to strengthen the line at Southampton to take longer freight trains. Solent Stevedores, who operate out of Southampton Western Docks, are currently upgrading the track, dockside, to take in longer and more trains; and that work concludes in Spring 2023.

The project will see us working collaboratively with both Network Rail and Solent Stevedores (with crucial input from Logistics UK, Stobart, DP World and GB Rail freight) to help them realise the benefits of their investment by finding available paths to run more frequent and longer trains to and from Southampton.

Having worked in the passenger arena for so long, I find rail freight’s potential for growth extremely exciting, and am looking forward to working on this project to help our partners on this project deliver tangible benefits.


How integral is innovation to the rail industry?

Innovation has already played a key part in driving change in the rail industry and remains a key part in unlocking the efficiencies that a modern rail system requires.

There has been much talk recently of modernising the railway and bringing out-of-date working practices into the 21st century. When talking about innovation, we tend to think in terms of digital transformation and the associated benefits.

However, delivering innovation on the railway is as much about innovating around our people and processes and providing solutions that work in a very different environment, than when the railway first arrived.


What tips would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in the rail industry?

Just one – do not take “we have always done it like that” as an answer.

Thanks for sharing your interesting insights and journey, Jason! If you would be interested in learning more about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here.

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer

Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer

When deciding on a career, there are several factors to consider. Will it be something you can see yourself doing in ten years? Does it excite you? Will there be room to learn and grow? Here at 3Squared, we are proud to support those looking to forge a career in rail and technology through our apprenticeship scheme, which Leon Martin, Junior Software Engineer, entered the company through.

To find out more about Leon’s experience of joining 3Squared, his apprenticeship and growth with the company so far, we recently sat down with him for our ‘Meet the Team’ content series, which you can read more about below:


Can you give us an overview of your role at 3Squared?

At 3Squared, I am a Junior/Apprentice Software Engineer. My role focuses on the development of our products, and I help with the development of new features. This includes writing the code that drives them as well as fixing bugs that have been raised, so that users continue to have a good experience with our applications.


What drew you to your role?

Ever since I was younger, I was fascinated by computers and technology and as I continued to grow up it only increased. Once I got my hands on experience with programming at around the age of 12-13, I was hooked. This comes from three main reasons – creativity, problem solving and results.

I enjoy having the freedom to create a solution to a problem. With programming, there are often many ways to solve an issue and being a developer it’s your responsibility to find the most efficient route to take. I enjoy experimenting with new technology as hands on experience always helps me to learn much faster.

Being able to see the finished result working and people using it confirms that all my efforts were not in vain.


What does your day-to-day look like?

I wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and sit down for my morning Scrums. Afterwards I crack on with some work up until lunch time which is usually around 1pm for me. Once I’ve had a bite to eat it’s back to work.

Depending on which week it is I may have project meetings just before and after lunch. Towards the end of the day, I’ll fill in my timesheet and tend to finish my working day around 4:30pm – 5pm.


What do you enjoy about working at 3Squared?  

The culture, people, and the work – everyone here is wonderful and I always enjoy a little chat when grabbing a coffee. The culture is extremely friendly, particularly for new starters. I always got help when I needed it, whatever questions I had were solved and even though I was shy at first, I quickly came out of my shell and fitted right in.

The work is always interesting – I’ve got my hands on different languages and technologies that I’ve never used before and managed to create production content with them. It’s been a great learning experience.


What excites you about working within the rail industry?

Feeling like I’m making a difference – the rail industry is quite literally very close to home and it makes the changes I am making feeling a lot more personal.

It’s crazy to give East Midlands Railway (EMR) a demo of some of our new features and then the next day I’m riding an EMR train. Understanding the industry itself, I had no idea how the rail industry works when I first started however after working on different applications, I now understand how much hard work goes into rail operations.


What advice would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in rail technology?

Get stuck into it as soon as possible. The rail technology industry is all about change so the more than you can learn and understand the better. Don’t be afraid of new things – with the constant rapid changing of the industry, you must be able adapt to change.


What is your favourite part about working in Sheffield?

There are many great places near the office itself, with a variety of restaurants, clothing, and book shops. It’s a great place for team lunches, socials, and AGMs with no shortage of places to go.


What drew you to the apprenticeship path and what value have you found out of this entry point into your career?

I knew I would gain extremely valuable experience from the apprenticeship, through the ability to be surrounded by computers and technology. I’ve found that I have learned so much these past two and a half years it’s unfathomable and even more than work or academic experience could provide; I have grown so much as a person.


What advice would you give for others looking to embark on an apprenticeship?

Don’t hold back and do it – an apprenticeship is a great way to gain real world experience as well as academic experience. Combined, these can really make for a good CV. It can also help you to learn, as by working you are surrounded by what you’re learning making it a lot easier to pick up than someone who only does one or the other.


Thanks for sharing your insight into life at 3Squared, Leon! If you would be interested in learning more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here.

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect

Martin Gleadow, Solutions Architect

In this month’s ‘Meet the team’ series, we got the chance to sit down with Martin Gleadow, Solution Architect at 3Squared.

Martin is a well-known face across the rail industry and can often be found out and about at various events across the country, delving into the technologies and solutions that 3Squared are providing the rail industry with. Learn more about Martin’s role at 3Squared and what drew him to his career path, below:


When did you join 3Squared and can you give us an insight into your background before joining the company?

I joined 3Squared in January 2016 as Head of IT and Support. My background is very technical, having studied Mechanical Engineering and then Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, before developing a career in system administration on Linux and Windows servers at Technophobia back in 2005, when the internet was a much simpler place.

During my time there, I took on management responsibility for IT and grew a superb team, each of whom have gone on to do fantastic things and I am still in touch with today – I take great joy in seeing the success of others I have worked with and observing the connections I have made across so many exciting companies.

By the time I left, we were running a large multi-location virtualisation platform for a government organisation and working across multiple sectors.


Can you give us an insight into your role at 3Squared?

My role has evolved since joining six years ago, as when I first started I was looking after both IT and Customer Support. In this role, I was building upon the work people had done before me and helping the company to develop processes and practices as it grew, to ensure our applications remained available and our customers remained happy.

Last year, we reached the point where the Support Team was split out as a dedicated function, which has gone from strength to strength as detailed in last month’s ‘Meet the team’ feature. From then, my attention was refocussed on the needs of the rail industry and how we support them, alongside my responsibilities for IT.

I have been fortunate to once again develop a talented team to the point that I have been able to hand over IT to Chris Duncombe, and concentrate fully on our products, enabling me to take on the role of Solution Architect.

My role as Solution Architect sees me working closely with existing and prospective clients to bring together railway operations and technology solutions, in a way which solves business problems effectively. One of the key motivating factors for my job is being a part of the evolution and improvement of the rail industry to satisfy societal needs.


What drew you towards a career in rail and technology?

I have been fascinated by how things work from a very early age, from construction toys to taking things apart and trying to put them back together. For example, when a Commodore 64 turned up at my parents’ house one year I spent a lot of time programming in Basic from magazines and library books, turning that interest into computing.

Now, I have almost come full circle, as my work at 3Squared has brought me much closer to the mechanical again through exposure to the rail industry, where my fascination for how things work has been applied to the processes and operations that enable the smooth running of the railway.

I’ve long had an idle curiosity for this alongside my interest in looking “behind the curtain” to see what is usually unseen – as a rail passenger I would be interested in the infrastructure you see trackside and the various signs, signals, and noises you encounter, and it really has been great to get fully in to understanding all of this.


What does your day-to-day look like?

Each day is different which keeps me on my toes however it remains massively interesting. I particularly like getting out and meeting customers or rail industry colleagues, especially when it takes me to a live rail site, and I can see the processes we support in operation. I am a firm believer in knowing the operating context of any application and encourage everyone in 3Squared or across the wider industry, to take any opportunities they can to understand the working environment of our customers.

Industry networking events are also particularly useful, with organisations like Rail Forum, Rail Freight Group and the Railway Industry Association putting on fantastic events year-round, which really help facilitate a collaborative approach to problem solving. The friendly atmosphere within the railway family is really refreshing and invigorating to work with and helps us to understand the challenges and direction of the industry, as well as getting to know so many good people.

When I am not mobile, I will either be in the office enthusiastically discussing ideas, projects, and problems with the rest of the company, or getting my head down and getting stuck in to solving client problems. This might take the form of developing a business problem into a software need which the Service Design team can document ready for build, or collaborating with the Client Engagement team to aid our customers in getting maximum business benefit from our applications. I always try to be on hand to answer any questions that might arise about how the railway works or what terminology means, and love seeing the passion and enthusiasm which runs deep at 3Squared.


What advice would you give to somebody looking to forge a career in rail or technology?

Get stuck in! Whether rail or digital technologies – or indeed any other field – it really helps to apply yourself to finding out why these industries exist and the need for people to grow careers within them, and then look at how it is currently done.

Obviously, it is easier to just try things out with software, as the barrier to entry is very low and having been a hiring manager in a software company, I always looked for candidates with a spark of interest and curiosity and this comes across well if people have tangible projects to talk about, or if they are involved in local meetups such as Sheffield Devops or .net Sheffield.

It is never too late to change career and pick up IT experience either, as there are multiple routes in as well as the academic path. If you have an interest and an aptitude, then you can make it happen.

With rail, potential careers are so much wider than the highly visible ones such as driving, and all rail companies regularly run recruitment events where you can find out more about the options. Rail is a tight knit community, and once people work in the industry, they seem to stay in it for life while progressing their careers either in one company or moving around, alongside keeping all their professional connections.

There is a wealth of opportunities to enter at any level and opportunities to experience working in an operational railway, to bringing experience from other industries to rail. It is an exciting time to be involved with the transition from Network Rail to Great British Railways, the resurgence of rail freight to meet Net Zero targets and respond to changing needs, and investment in new routes and vehicles.


We hope you have enjoyed this insight into Martin’s fascinating role at 3Squared. If you would be interested in finding out more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, please get in touch with us here or by emailing [email protected]

3Squared ‘Meet The Team’ – Customer Support Department

3Squared Customer Support Team

Heralded across the industry for its commitment to its clients, customer service is the backbone of 3Squared. Within the business, the customer support department plays an integral role, enabling the company to work closely with the rail industry to drive innovation and support the move to a greener, digital railway.

As part of our ‘Meet the team’ series, we recently sat down with the customer support team, comprised of Claire Booth, Head of Client Support, and Support Analysts, Dan Pender, Joe Larkin, Scott McPhillie, and Will Jordan, to find out more about the key role they play within the business and more.


How does the customer support department support 3Squared?

We are the customers first point of contact for anything that they are having problems with or anything they would like to change. We provide second line services for most of our customers, where they triage any issues their users have, and then come to us when they cannot resolve these issues.

We also provide first line services for a large group of users for some of our clients, which includes data administration of their accounts and basic assistance and guidance.

We do regular reporting of internal and client statistics for both support tickets and the applications we support. Customers are encouraged to log tickets via our support portal or via email, however phone support is also available in an emergency or where electronic responses are not suitable.

We also provide a triage and resolution service for issues raised by the customer, whereby we either fix or replicate the issue and then manage these issues into the development process for resolution in a future software release.


What does the day-to-day of the team look like?

We have a blended working strategy, trying to have at least two days a week together in the office – the day often starts with two coffees for Claire and cereal for all!

From there, we manage a queue of tickets in the support system for all our clients, producing weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports. We have scheduled meetings with customers either through early life support where they are new to a product/module or to catch up and see how the tickets are going, and where they are in the resolution process.

We also work closely with all the other teams within the business to resolve customer issues and assist in scoping new features where the software is working as designed, albeit not how the customers want it to perform.

Throughout the day, we spend our time interrogating databases, for example checking error logs to see what might have caused any issues – this can involve a lot of head scratching! Everything is documented, to enable us to collectively learn so that we don’t have to ask the same questions twice.


What do you enjoy about working with the rail industry?

The rail industry is full of a lot of passionate people. It keeps us on the right track and chugging along!

We see the rail network and the industry in a different light and from a different perspective – you appreciate what goes into making the trains run on time and making the railways safe. It is much more interesting than finance or standard IT.

Overall, it feels good to be part of an industry that is helping to decarbonise the UK. Frankly, it is a greener industry than most.


What new initiatives has the team brought into the business?

We are proud to have introduced ‘Book Club’ – an agreed meeting to undertake a deep dive into something that we do or a piece of software we support. Before the session, we research the chosen topic and then discuss and go through uses to better understand how to support or use it.

We are also proud to have introduced several new features, including:

  • Report Automation: Working towards scheduling reports to customers and scheduling tickets for the report reminders, therefore reducing the amount of manual collation and reminders.
  • Release Notes page: Making the fixes that 3Squared have deployed more accessible to customers.
  • Knowledge Base in the Support System: Providing the ability for customers to log tickets for different products that route to the right queues.
  • Streamlining processes throughout the business.
  • Improvement of SLA management and calculations in the support system and managing the Resolution plan agreement and dates.


What is your working relationship like within the team?

We work together collaboratively and individually and if there’s a big issue, we jump on a Teams call or into a room to work it out together. We enjoy what we do and working together, sharing banter and camaraderie within the team.

Everyone in the team is always willing to help and if you can’t get to the bottom of an issue, we work it out together, ensuring nobody is left abandoned. Claire helps with tickets if we can’t get to the bottom of them, which is useful as we are all relatively new to the business – to be learning together is quite simply, a great feeling.

We also thoroughly enjoy going to lunch together – QC’s Bagels and Bubble Tea are a must! Above all else, we are mates and colleagues, and we all work as a team, backing each other up.


What is your favourite thing about working at 3Squared?

There are many things we enjoy about working at 3Squared. From working with wonderful people, the company has a relaxed working environment – and lots of free food and coffee!

We work together, not against each other and have good relationships with our customers. The company has an open, honest, and collaborative culture and quite simply, it is a fantastic place to work.

We hope you have enjoyed this insight into the customer support department at 3Squared. If you would be interested in finding out more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, please get in touch with us here or by emailing [email protected]

3Squared ‘Meet the Team’ – Ollie Booth, Placement QA Engineer

Ollie Booth, Placement QA Engineer

Behind every successful business lies it people and without its people, quite simply there is no culture. This is something that 3Squared are proud to have and which has been its ethos since its inception in 2002 and twenty years on, the company continues to both attract and retain some of the brightest minds in the rail technology industry.


To showcase this and find out what makes 3Squared a fantastic place to work, we have introduced a ‘Meet the team’ feature to give you an insight into the minds behind the machines, starting off with a recent addition to the team Ollie Booth, Placement QA Engineer:


Can you give us into an insight into your background and what drew you to the role at 3Squared? 

I am currently on a Software Engineering course at Sheffield Hallam University and was attracted to the role of QA (Quality Assurance) Engineer, as it provides a great mixture of skills and software which I thoroughly enjoyed using at university. Working at 3Squared has given me a brilliant opportunity to develop these skills in an industry setting and become much more confident.


What does your day-to-day look like? 

Day-to-day work can vary a lot which I find massively enjoyable. My day always starts with a morning QA stand-up, where the team discuss what they will be working on for that day. Following this, I have a project scrum meeting where we review what project related work we have been doing.

Following this, any bugs that have been found are triaged with developers, prioritized, and then assigned. After that, I usually have the rest of the day for project or general investment work – for example, recently I have been testing API (Application Programming Interface) endpoints.


What does your department do and how does it support the wider business? 

As part of the QA department, we identify and report issues with user-facing software during development and monitor live customer issues. We also look for, monitor and triage bugs with developers ensuring that we consistently deliver high quality software solutions for our clients.


What do you enjoy about working at 3Squared? 

There is always a friendly atmosphere, and everyone is very approachable. As it is a growing company you get a real sense of community and the QA team have been incredibly helpful whenever I have had questions or queries. There are also a variety of social events which I love to attend.


What do you enjoy about working in the rail technology industry? 

It is very innovative, and it is exciting being part of a rapidly changing industry. Rail is at the forefront of sustainable travel, so it is brilliant to be involved. Seeing the company’s software being used for projects such as HS2, makes me incredibly proud to be a part of it.


If you would be interested in learning more information about how you could join the 3Squared team, visit our careers page here

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week at 3Squared

National Apprenticeship Week

To celebrate National Apprenticeship week we’re showcasing some of our fantastic apprentices here at 3Squared.

Leon Martin, 3Squared Apprentice:

Hello, I’m Leon and I’ve being working for 3Squared as an apprentice for over 2 years now. To mark National Apprenticeship Week, I’d like to share a brief look over how I’ve progressed over the years.

I started back in 2019 after leaving secondary school and had some self-taught knowledge but overall, I was coming in blind in most areas. I knew basic programming and nothing about SDLC or how software companies structure their products.

I was thrown into the deep end at first but in my opinion it’s the best way to learn and learn I did. I had never touched web development before yet within the first couple of months I was confident with technologies I had not used before and always had someone who could help me out too.

My college course is a Level 4 in Software Development this includes looking at the full lifecycle of a software application as well as the creation of the software applications. Java was chosen for my language exam which I was using C# at work, so it was very interesting looking at two languages although similar.

The SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle) part of the course allowed me to understand what our business practices are and other practices that could be used. This gave me a larger view of the business and the thought that goes into creating and planning for projects.

In reverse, the things I learnt about SDLC at work correlated to what I was doing at college therefore I was getting the best of both worlds, gaining real world experience from working daily and learning about Software Development at college.

Two years on from starting and now I can confidently create Websites/SPA as well as APIs, databases and don’t forget testing all of them too. From knowing nothing when I started, I have been involved in some exciting projects including working on our application doing various tasks that go to production, creating an external library in Java for automation tests and I confidently know many of the well-known methodologies, their specific use cases, pros and cons as well as why we use Agile over others.

I’d like to say I’ve learnt a lot within this time, not even just with the technologies I’ve use or the practices we stick to but also the social aspects working in an office environment, collaborating with colleagues and presenting work I have done. These are all very important social aspects that people overlook and without them, I would not be anywhere near as confident.

Finally, I can’t recommend an apprenticeship enough, the value of the skills, relationships, and character you build especially if you’re coming straight from school is immeasurable and I honestly can’t think where I’d be today without the experience. I want to give a huge thank you to everyone I have and still am working with for their great help and the support they’ve have given me.


Callum Beachell, 3Squared Apprentice:

Hello, I’m Callum, I am 3Squared’s degree level apprentice. I have been working at 3Squared for over 3 years. As part of the National Apprenticeship Week, I would like to highlight my progression over the years.

Back in 2018, I decided to have a career change from Networking and pursue Software Engineering. I joined 3Squared with no fundamental knowledge of programming at all. I was sent to a bootcamp at Sheffield Hallam University where I was taught the fundamentals of many sectors such as Software Engineering, Cyber Security, Networking and Project Management.

From the bootcamp, I was able to join 3Squared with an instant improvement on my previous technical skills. This inspired me to get my head immediately stuck in at 3Squared and tackle any challenges on the way. Due to the friendly environment and wealth of knowledge at 3Squared, I have been able to absorb masses of knowledge and experience.

The more I got involved at 3Squared the more I wanted to learn more. 3Squared takes great value in providing employees the best learning opportunities available. Due to my interest to learn more, a 3Squared employee took me under their wing and provided me with a learning path that has been a huge factor to my success. 3Squared have managed to take my skills from nothing to confidently being able to use many different programming languages and technologies to build robust applications.

My university course is a Level 6 in Software Engineering and has included many interesting modules that have improved my knowledge. I have learned about programming languages such as JavaScript and Java, Database administration (SQL), Software Development Lifecycles, Cloud based computing, Software Architecture, Software Best Practices and how to work in a team.

From the combination of 3Squared’s excellent apprenticeship program and Sheffield Hallam’s detailed academic studies, I can now confidently develop backend solutions, frontend solutions, cloud-based solutions, databases and understand architectural choices.

I have been a key member of multiple projects at 3Squared where I have been able to fix bugs, create features and even write suites of automated tests. I have owned certain areas of projects where I have been noticed as the expert.

Sadly, I am coming to the end of what has been an amazing experience as I am about to take my end point assessment. I could not recommend an apprenticeship at 3Squared enough. I would like to thank the 3Squared and its employees for what has been a masterclass experience, the amount of support I have had has been phenomenal and the drive to make employees happy is an experience like no other. Thank you.


If you would be interested in learning more about you could become an apprentice at 3Squared, get in touch with a member of our team today here.

An insight into the world of rail

Rail staff with iPad

Earlier this month, Jemma Foster was named runner up in the coveted ‘Young Rail Professional’ category at the Rail Freight Group Awards. Since joining 3Squared in 2018, Jemma has flourished in her role as UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) Designer and Business Analyst, and grown into a role model across the business, widely recognised across the industry for her positive go-getter approach and clear vision. 

The recognition caps off a successful year for Jemma, which has seen her play a key role in our work with High Speed Two (HS2) and one of their direct contractors, Skanska Costain STRABAG JV (SCS JV), who have been commissioned to deliver the tunnelling programme for the large-scale route between London Euston up to the M25. 

UI/UX plays a significant role in the project, which Jemma helps to oversee. The bespoke element of the contract with SCS JV has seen the UI/UX team develop several enhancements to its existing software including terminal management, cost control and supplier performance, supporting whole-life value measures across the project. Jemma’s involvement has helped to make this part of the contract a success to date and lays a solid foundation for the future delivery of the project.  

Following on from her well-earned recognition at the RFG Awards, we took the time to sit down with Jemma to discuss what drew her to working with the rail industry and any top tips she may have for those looking to forge a career in this exciting and fast paced industry: 

“If you had asked me four years ago what industry I would be working in after I left University, I can safely say that the rail industry would never have crossed my mind. However, after getting lucky with finding such an awesome company to work for in my first ‘real’ job, the team at 3Squared have done so much to not only introduce me to the world of rail but open my eyes to a world of possibilities as to how we can make improvements to the industry. 

“Before becoming part of the industry, my rail knowledge was pretty limited to my experience as a passenger and knowing friends with family members who work at Bombardier. It was a surprise to discover the wealth of areas within the industry and it remains one of the things I love, and which makes every day interesting. 

“I have since worked on UX projects, designing accessible apps to help passengers organise assistance in stations, in cab safety apps to warn of areas with low adhesion, and complex data monitoring software systems with Remote Condition Monitoring. There are so many different elements of the rail industry that are required to keep it moving, none of which I was aware of before working at 3Squared and talking to our clients. 

“I might be biased working at a software company, but I firmly believe that technology has the potential to make significant improvements to the industry. From digitising paper-based processes (which our RailSmart suite of products has its roots) to full logistics solutions, we can truly make a difference to the day-to-day jobs of our software users, all the way up to the passengers who can travel on safer and efficient railways, alongside helping the planet with the drive to reduce carbon. 

“This is what makes events such as the RFG Awards so exciting. Knowing that the awards champion the possibilities and opportunities the rail industry provides is incredible and benefits so many people, alongside inspiring new talent to join the industry who bring with them new thoughts and ideas.”

If you would like to find out more information about you could become a member of the 3Squared team, please visit our careers page here.