Founder, Parkable

Brody Nelson studied a Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science conjoint majoring in English and Computer Science and has followed a diverse career path with an omnipresent love for technology.

Brody Nelson

"I was an all-rounder in school, which is why I chose a conjoint degree in Arts and Science.

"In terms of the Computer Science degree, I was interested in technology from a young age. I was constantly tinkering and wanting to learn how things worked, and my interest made me want to be more than just a user of technology - I wanted to be a creator of technology.

"My work history is slightly complicated. After I graduated I went to work for Datacom Systems Ltd, where I got a good grounding in networking, programming, and information security.

"I was always interested in working with  people, so in my twenties I retrained as a teacher and for ten years taught a variety of subjects in high school (including technology), both in NZ and the UK.

"However, even when I was in education I was still tinkering with technology and developing mobile apps. I loved teaching in NZ, but when I went to the UK to teach I didn’t enjoy it as much. I went back to technology jobs in the UK, and started working as a freelance software developer, and eventually for a digital production company where I ran the mobile technology team.

"I was always interested in working with people, so in my twenties I retrained as a teacher and for ten years taught a variety of subjects in high school (including technology), both in NZ and the UK. However, even when I was in education I was still tinkering with technology and developing mobile apps. I loved teaching in NZ, but when I went to the UK to teach I didn’t enjoy it as much. I went back to technology jobs in the UK, and started working as a freelance software developer, and eventually for a digital production company where I ran the mobile technology team.

"At that point I started my own digital technology business called Translate Digital, and grew that before returning to NZ. In New Zealand I started a new business, also called Translate Digital, which I still run today along with my co-founder Kyle Hickey and eight employees.

"In 2015 I met Toby Littin and Warwick Beauchamp, and we founded the sharing economy business and app Parkable - the AirBnB of parking. Today we have 40 employees across Australia, New Zealand, and China, and have just closed our Series A funding round, led by Spark. 

"While growing Parkable, I have also worked on a variety of projects via Translate Digital, which is in many ways a vehicle for developing my technology ideas and putting them out into the world. These projects include building Safeswim for Auckland Council and co-founding Stickybeak, a business that is in the market research space.

"The Bachelor’s of Computer Science at UoA gave me a great grounding in software development and technology principles, which has been invaluable because even though technology moves very quickly, the underlying principles and theories are still very relevant today. 

"I really liked the practical element of studying Computer Science at UoA. Most of the learning was project based, either individual or in groups, where you had to produce a software product that met the assignment criteria. Even though that led to some late nights, it’s quite satisfying when you can create something that works and matches the brief. It was also a nice contrast to my Arts degree, which was much more subjective.

"Because Parkable is growing so quickly, the demands of the business change almost monthly. We’re growing up as a business and it’s really exciting to meet the new challenges at each stage of growth. Right now we have gone through the product-market fit validation stage, and we’re moving into the growth or scaleup stage. This provides a number of new challenges and learning opportunities as we grow into multiple markets with different products.

"More specifically, I’ve enjoyed creating jobs for people and being an employer. Being able to mentor and develop junior and intermediate developers into more senior technologists is extremely rewarding.

"The ‘creator’ aspect of the job is also very satisfying. I’m able to develop an idea, bring it to fruition, and then see it out there in the world.

"As the technology industry is so fast-paced, some of the most important things I learnt in my degree were actually the soft skills. In this industry, it’s really important to be able to work with others in a team, to be open to taking direction, and to problem-solve and think laterally.

"Studying Computer Science makes for a great career because it gives you a lot of flexibility and it’s highly creative. My advice would be to continually be learning, because technology doesn’t stand still.

(But also) there’s a lot of stigma associated with Computer Science - that it’s really hard, that you need to be great at maths, that you have to be a certain type of person. However, I think that anyone can be successful in the technology industry if they apply themselves and are genuinely interested in the creation of technology.

Brody Nelson

"If you’re curious and naturally want to learn more about how things work, that’s the attitude that you want to hold onto and foster. 

"I really enjoyed my time at UoA. It was very social and I made life-long friends. I also enjoyed working there as a tutor and as head tutor - that was an invaluable time as I learnt a lot about managing people and scheduling, both of which have become day-to-day parts of my job."