Panel Profile: Trainline CTO Mark Holt

We get face-to-face with one of the IT Pro Panellists

Welcome to the IT Pro Panel Profile, where we talk to the CIOs, experts and IT leaders that make up the IT Pro Panel, and discover their top tech, pet peeves and IT inspirations.

Rail travel has to be one of the most frustrating public transport experiences in Britain. A depressing cocktail of delays, over-crowding and extortionate fares has conspired to make using the UK’s rail network a rather irritating experience. 

One of the things that can make it markedly less tiresome, however, is Trainline’s excellent service. The mobile booking platform allows more than 125,000 people per day to quickly and easily check timetables, look up fares and book tickets for train journeys up and down the country, with clever features like AI and mobile ticketing taking a significant amount of the pain out of the process.

One of the key people who makes all of this possible is Trainline CTO Mark Holt, who is in charge of coordinating Trainline’s IT strategy to make sure the company’s customers have the best possible travel experience.

Mark Holt

CTO - Trainline

Describe your role in 20 words or fewer. 

I am proud to lead Trainline's disruptive technology team, which innovates every day to save customers time, money and hassle.

What was your first computer? 

A 16k ZX Spectrum with rubber keys: you’re not a proper dev if you haven’t hand-cranked Z80 assembly language!

What do you like most about working in IT? 

There is so much to love about working in this industry, but in the end it all can boil down to two key elements: the people and the innovations. The technology community is truly global in a way few sectors are, and you get to experiment, test and create new products that will be used by people around the world – it’s exciting, purposeful, and simply great fun!

If you could magically get rid of one piece of technology forever, what would it be, and why? 

I’d get rid of a common mindset about technology – that there is a trade-off between speed and reliability. We do more than 300 production releases per week and our reliability has never been higher.

What future tech innovations are you most excited about? 

I’m very excited about how machine learning and AI will evolve in the coming years. It has such vast potential to change many aspects of our lives for the better - from how we work to how we are educated, and of course, how we travel!

Who’s your biggest inspiration in the world of tech? 

In terms of inspiration, I admire people who create high-performance teams and cultures. For example, the organisation that Werner Voguls has built at AWS is amazing: they deliver a constant stream of valuable innovations with super-fast iteration and extreme reliability.

If you're a senior IT decision-maker and you'd like to apply to be part of the IT Pro Panel, please email panel@itpro.co.uk.

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