Kieran Dunch moved to Montréal after receiving a BFA in Theatre from the University of Victoria. Kieran worked in the English Theatre sector as an artist and producer for some years before moving into software development. He now works as a software developer as well as a freelancer, specializing in app building for digital/live art experiences.

YES: When did you start your entrepreneurial/job search/artistic journey and what were some of your goals when you started?

Kieran Dunch: My career journey actually began as an artistic journey. I found YES because I wanted an opportunity to discover my artistic process and establish my niche. That was in late 2020. Like many people during the pandemic, I realized that I wanted to find new avenues for expression and creativity in my day-to-day life. My search then expanded from finding my artistic path to exploring a new professional one. I wondered how I could take the tools and skills that I had learned in creative industries and use them in another field. And so that’s when I met Annalise and Caroline, two awesome counselors at YES.

What stage are you at now? What have been your greatest achievements?

Kieran Dunch: In January of 2022, I began a full-time web development bootcamp over a nine-week period, which was incredibly challenging. My greatest achievement was making that decision in the first place. At the time, I was temporarily leaving behind an artistic community that I cared about and loved to try something completely new and risky. It’s a difficult decision to make but one that created so many new opportunities for me as a professional and as an artist. As for what stage I’m at now, I’ve found a position as a back-end software developer as my full-time job! On the side, I’m doing freelance work as an arts and tech specialist. As a part of that, I’m building applications for live theatre performances as well, which is my most exciting work.

What were/are your biggest struggles?

Kieran Dunch: I think my greatest struggle was also my greatest achievement. Leaving something that’s familiar to you can be really difficult, even if in the current moment it’s not serving you. Another struggle I experienced is maintaining the confidence that I’ve made the right decision. It’s easy to look back and wonder if this had gone differently, how would I have reacted etc. But the most important thing is to keep your head forward and think about the next hurdle instead of lingering on the past.

What was the problem you were experiencing before you came into YES?

Kieran Dunch: I actually was experiencing two different problems. The first problem was that I wanted to discover what it meant to be a live theatre artist in a pandemic environment. My second problem was that I wanted to move into a new industry that I had no knowledge about at all. And that one was a big problem. Everything that I’ve learned and experienced in the arts was all quite different than what it would be like in the tech sector. I really needed people with expertise to guide me through and tell me ‘Oh, this is how this works in tech’.

What did you find as a result of using our services? What was the best thing about it?

Kieran Dunch: As a result of using YES’s services, I was able to access workshops that helped me figure out whether I should incorporate or whether I should start a small business. The career counseling services gave me weekly goals to follow, and artist counselling gave me the guardrails to figure out if I was on the right path. YES offered me, talented people, who cared about my progress and who were willing to check in on me regularly. Having that support was a huge benefit to my job search.

How do you feel about the service you have received from YES?

Kieran Dunch: The service I received at YES is awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking to either change careers or continue their career and just discover what their trajectory is. I think it’s very easy to lose sight of what it is you truly want to do. Talking to someone or even taking workshops from YES can help give you that perspective, which is invaluable.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share?

Kieran Dunch: The work that YES does is fantastic. They’re constantly learning and constantly improving and I’m so grateful to have been a part of the YES community. I look forward to attending more workshops in the future! Just because my job search is over doesn’t mean I can’t learn from the workshops being presented by YES.  The topics are so diverse and there’s so much more to learn. Thank you to Annalise, Caroline, and YES!


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