From bachelor's to entrepreneur
Meet Parsa Tajik, a recent BSc Computer Science graduate from the University of Toronto and CEO of his web design and development company, Bloorsoft. Cybernews Academy spoke to Parsa about his academic journey, his practical experience, and how he built his business.
In 2015, Parsa arrived in Canada from Iran with his family. He remembers the transition vividly, as it was a very different lifestyle. Parsa mentioned that the education system in Iran was distinct as “it was much more academic as in the Middle East and Asia the curriculums are difficult in the early years.” In Iran, his passion for computer science flourished. He attended a school for gifted children and began pursuing computing studies from the young age of 11 and 12 years old. “I became familiar with computer science and its objects early on, so when I came to Canada, I wanted to continue what I had been taught back home.” From there, he established a computing club at Earl Haig High School, where similar students would come together and compete in competitions. Parsa completed high school and decided to take the next step in his computational career by continuing his academic journey at university.
The next step of Parsa’s journey was locating the right university that fit his needs. He told Cybernews Academy that two universities caught the young entrepreneur’s eye. “There are two excellent programs in Canada, at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.” How would he choose between these two exceptional universities? Parsa assessed his requirements and realized that the University of Toronto was the best option. “I was in Toronto with my family and wanted to stay in the city with them.” Due to his familial situation, it was pivotal for Parsa to stay close to his mother and brother so he could continue to support them. However, he still wanted to pursue his passion at one of the best universities in Canada for computer science. Alongside staying close to his family and following his passions, other factors inspired his decisions. “I think it was mostly the community that inspired me to continue my studies in computer science.” He expressed how many of his friends studied similar computer science and information technology degrees at different universities nationwide. Having a tight-knit community in computing compelled Parsa to pursue a degree in computer science. Parsa told us that the lucrative nature of computer science and information technology degrees appealed to this young business owner. “Regarding money and supporting my family, computer science seemed like a good career path.” Parsa figured out what he wanted from his university experience and found the right institution that could facilitate his personal and professional success.
Brutal but brilliant
During our interview, Parsa discussed the value of his degree and how a computer science program comes with its challenges. “I would say it’s a very valuable program. However, if your only goal is to go in and get the degree, it will be a challenging time.” Parsa expressed that if you don’t enjoy your degree, then it may be a “brutal five years.” He told Cybernews Academy that if you go into university with an open mindset, try to get to know people, connect with others, and find the right program– then your experience will be even more valuable. One of the primary skills he learned while at university was resilience. “My program was hard. There was a lot of work to do, especially when you have other jobs at university. It can be tough to manage everything.” As his course was so diverse, he was learning different skills that may not be directly related to the industry, but at their core, they are beneficial. He said you must be resilient and learn how to learn again. During his studies, Parsa gained an insurmountable amount of experience. One experience that enhanced his time at the University of Toronto was participating in the Technology Leadership Initiative (TLI) program.
The Technology Leadership Initiative
During our interview, Parsa gave a shoutout to the Technology Leadership Initiative program at the University of Toronto. “It’s pretty much the program that helped me get the career I have now, and many of the jobs I obtained were through this program.” This scheme helped Parsa connect with others, create long-standing friendships, and facilitate job opportunities. He initially saw a post about a program that allowed students to obtain careers and cultivate future leaders in the Canadian technology sector. The interview process was extensive. “It was very similar to a medical school interview,” where there were six stations, and every station was different. You would have to discuss various topics during this interview and submit essays to be considered. Once accepted, he was introduced to the program's leaders, Michael McCarthy and Paul Gries. “Michael McCarthy used to be one of the high C level people at Scotia Bank, a huge Canadian bank, and Paul Gries is a professor at the University of Toronto.” Parsa expressed that these two influential leaders are very talented individuals who helped inspire him to embark on his business ventures. “They were pivotal both in terms of me getting jobs and helping me give back to my community. I saw these two people doing very different things with their time, and they're worth a lot of money, but they're coming in and spending this time with students to give back to the community. So it has been a very inspirational program.”
The CEO of work experience
Parsa gained extensive work experience at university and has worked for five or six companies during his studies. In 2020, this budding entrepreneur became a junior software developer at Medtronic. Medtronic would “analyze a medical facility or a division of medical facility and determine how they can develop solutions that optimize this facility.” His primary function was optimizing the medical devices through software. From there, Parsa obtained a job at TeleVu. This software development company harnesses the power of AR and AI to build an ecosystem of connected devices and applications to improve health care. During his time there, Parsa worked as a part-time full-stack developer. The Konrad group was another company that Parsa interned at for 12 months. He had a co-op position at university, where the university and a business would cooperate to give students a year of industry experience. He explained, “I got that position through the same TLI program,” as Konrad's directors discussed technical interviews at the University of Toronto. The next day, Parsa emailed the company to ask about internships. He received an interview and eventually obtained an associate software developer position. “They're one of the biggest software development agencies in Canada. They've worked with the Royal Bank of Canada, McDonald's, Spotify, and Uber. They mainly build software for these companies, but the difference is they also offer actual consulting services.” Consulting and web development are two of Parsa’s passions, and from his years of work experience, he decided to pursue his dream of starting his own company.
During his studies, Parsa built his company from the ground up while working hard to obtain his degree. He established Bloorsoft in February 2022, a web design and development agency. Alongside his university degree, Parsa strengthened his software and web development skills by building his company. His motivation surrounding this start-up was his industry experience, understanding the market, and how he could make this market work for him. “I worked in five or six companies before I started Bloorsoft, and at some point, I realized that I can do this independently.” Through university and extensive work experience, Parsa connected with potential clients and built a network of people he could bring to his business. He was also interested in the mechanics of running a business and understanding how commerce worked. Parsa created his start-up using the knowledge he acquired at university alongside his professional experience. His accomplishments demonstrate that desire, knowledge, and drive are all you need to start your own business.
In the future, Parsa hopes to continue building his company. He is already hitting his financial goals and hopes to exceed them by next year. Having graduated from the University of Toronto this year, Parsa wanted to focus on his family and continue working on his business.
We at Cybernews Academy can’t wait to see where Parsa’s journey will take him, as his story is an exceptional example of perseverance, resilience, and determination. Parsa’s journey exemplifies how far hard work and dedication can take you. Whether it’s completing your studies, starting a business, or becoming a computer science and information technology professional, anything is possible if you continue to make connections, work hard, and keep your ambitions high.