Mark Paston

After 15 years as a professional footballer, Mark was able to embark on a second career in IT using his degree in Computer Science and Electronics.

Computer science graduate Mark Paston in action as a professional football player
Photo courtesy of Wellington Phoenix FC.

New Zealanders were on the edge of their seats as the All Whites took on some of the world’s top footballing nations at the World Cup in South Africa. And between the goalposts was Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington alumnus Mark Paston.

Before he became a professional footballer at the age of 26, Mark had completed a Bachelor of Science degree.

“I majored in Computer Science and Electronic and Computer Systems, then travelled overseas before deciding to give professional football a shot,” he says.

A decision that certainly paid off for the goalkeeper, as he starred for Wellington Phoenix FC and the national team. Mark played an important role in helping New Zealand secure their first ever World Cup point in 2010.

“Beginning professional football later in life is not that unusual in New Zealand where lots of players have degrees. It's a good thing because it makes for well rounded individuals.”

During his time at university, Mark commuted home to the Hawkes Bay to play football for Napier City Rovers.

“It's where my family was based and where my wife is from. I did find the workload pretty intense at university, especially in my third year. Part of that was the travel back and forth but I also found the courses very challenging—though, because of that, very rewarding.”

Although Mark’s focus as a football player was firmly on performing for club and country, he also thought about what he’d do after he hung up his boots.

“It's a great job, but you're not going to be a footballer forever. It's good to have the background I have up my sleeve,” says Mark.

Mark is now in a senior role at Wellington IT company Computer Concepts Ltd.