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Former teacher launches her second career as an engineer

February 12, 2024 Jennifer Kampf

As a recruiting leader at Clever, I am excited to share with you the remarkable journey of Sophia Lazendorf.   Sophia’s journey is a true testament to the power of change and personal development. Starting off in the classroom as a dedicated teacher, she embarked on a bold path that led her to the world of engineering right here with us. In this interview, Sophia takes us through her experiences, challenges, and triumphs as she transitioned from teaching to launching an engineering career here at Clever.

The Clever Recruiting team is passionate about building a richly diverse community of talent, ensuring a fair and equitable hiring process that aligns with the organization’s needs. I can honestly say that Clever is not just a workplace—oftentimes it’s also a launchpad for individuals embarking on their second careers. It’s not uncommon to see someone join us in one capacity, only to evolve and transition into a completely different role or department down the line. To learn more about opportunities at Clever, go to our website

Sophia’s first career as a teacher

Question: Tell us about your experience prior to joining Clever.

Sophia: Prior to joining Clever, I was living and working abroad as an English teacher. I first spent a year in Thailand teaching Science, Health, and Social Studies. I chose Thailand after reflecting on my life and realizing I grew most as an individual when I was far outside of my comfort zone. An immersive experience in a culture that’s drastically different from my own was my chosen means of doing so.

Sophia’s journey began with a bold move to Thailand, where she immersed herself in teaching and embraced the challenges of living outside her comfort zone. Her commitment to cultural integration led her to Spain, where she not only continued teaching but also gained fluency in Spanish.

A shift from teaching to problem-solving

Question: What inspired a career transition?

Sophia: While I loved being a teacher, over the years it became increasingly more clear to me what I enjoyed about it. I enjoyed being able to instill in my students a passion for learning and also valued the cultural exchange that came from doing so abroad. So often, many people leave the education system feeling as though education is not for them.

Sophia’s love for teaching was rooted in instilling a passion for learning in her students. However, she yearned for more challenges and opportunities to solve diverse problems daily. The spark of computer programming ignited her curiosity, leading her towards a new path.

Lessons learned in apprenticeship

Question: What’s one lesson you learned in your apprenticeship?

Sophia: Finding a balance between tackling a challenge independently and asking for guidance when I feel I’ve spent a sufficient amount of time exploring possible solutions.

Sophia’s apprenticeship taught her the importance of resilience and seeking guidance when needed. Clever’s supportive culture helped her feel secure in asking questions and openly sharing challenges, fostering an environment of growth and collaboration.

Choosing Clever for her next career step

Question: Why did you choose Clever as a place to launch the next step of your career?

Sophia: Working here allows me to combine both of my passions for education and technology in my daily life, while also being able to work in an environment that aligns with my personal morals and values.

Sophia said that Clever’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion stood out to her. Our company’s proactive approach to DEI initiatives, setting goals, creating action plans, and measuring progress annually, convinced her that Clever was a place dedicated to diversity and inclusion. The emphasis on teamwork and shared goals further motivated her decision.

Advice for launching your second career 

Question: Anything else you’d like to share?

Sophia: For anyone who is thinking about switching careers into tech, I’d encourage you to try and find a community of others who are on a similar journey as you.

Sophia’s journey from a teacher to an engineer at Clever is an inspiration to all who hope to follow their passions and embrace challenges. We invite you to explore the possibilities at Clever, where diverse backgrounds and unique journeys create an environment of innovation and growth. Join us on your career adventure!

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