From Hospitality to Software, How Taylor Keazirian Changed Careers During the Pandemic

From Hospitality to Software, How Taylor Keazirian Changed Careers During the Pandemic

8th Light
8th Light

July 05, 2022

Everything in Taylor Keazirian’s life has been building up to a career in software. With an aptitude for easily relating to other people, Taylor is seen as a natural and trusted leader. Over the course of her professional years, she has developed ​​an affinity for community, communication, and leadership.

Name: Taylor Keazirian
Location: Chicago
Time at 8th Light: 2 years and 1 month
Time in the industry: 3 years and 1 month

Changing Careers During a Pandemic

Taylor graduated from Vanderbilt with a double major in Child Development and Spanish. Then she pursued a career in hospitality and restaurant management, landing her the role of assistant general manager at Federales in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. But then the pandemic hit and Taylor found herself filling the early months of quarantine exploring resources on Codecademy and signing up for a self-paced online bootcamp at Thinkful.

Recognizing she still had much to learn, she applied for a six-month volunteer apprenticeship at The Difference Engine and volunteered nights building web applications for non-profit organizations. In August 2021, she secured a paid apprenticeship in an AppOps role and finally in February 2022, she joined 8th Light as a career changer and apprentice.

“To change careers successfully, I wanted to build on a foundation of knowledge stronger than the condensed syllabus bootcamp provided,” says Taylor. “Although most bootcamp graduates I knew were applying to junior developer roles, I searched instead for well-respected apprenticeship programs.”

Looking back at her career (and career changes), Taylor notes how she excelled in fast-paced environments, motivated not only to learn new skills but constantly improve and share that knowledge with her colleagues. When asked about the timing of making such a change during the pandemic, she acknowledges that while trying to get hired during a recession wasn’t ideal, what was ideal was her newfound “free time” where she found herself and a new career in the comfort of her home.

Building a Career in Software

Now that she’s found her passion, Taylor is committed to learning everything she can and aligning her path to organizations that hold that vision.

“I am trying to absorb as much as possible in an industry that is evolving in ways and at a pace previously unimaginable,” she says. “8th Light’s emphasis on continual learning immediately resonated with me.”

She’s also committed to sharing what she knows with others, noting how her growth has accelerated when she’s done so in the past. “I have learned in any undertaking that the best way to reinforce what you know is to teach others, which will quickly expose the unknowns and lead to new discoveries,” Taylor says. “Mentoring, whether formal or informal, is most definitely in my future.”

Coming from a completely different background, Taylor often felt overwhelmed, becoming blocked on a problem or struggling to understand a concept. In those moments, Taylor says she failed to remember what she did know: learning and growth take time. “Give yourself the space to struggle because that struggle builds knowledge, character, and strength,” she says. “One day, things will start to make sense - the pieces fit together, and the picture becomes clearer.”

If she could give herself (or others) advice, she’d say trust the process. While it will be hard, it will be worth it. She also credits her eventual career in software to her dad. “Although he was not a developer, he was an early tech guy,” she says. “He was self-taught and made technology available and fun at home.”

When she was young, he even convinced her to attend computer camp one summer and learn how to build a computer.

In her spare time, Taylor is a yoga and mindfulness instructor passionate about fitness. She spends her spare time practicing yoga, running, and lifting weights. She also loves True Crime podcasts and hopes to resume international travel soon.

Check out our other Employee Spotlights or learn more about careers at 8th Light.