Fabien Cartal, a May 2020 graduate of Flatiron School’s UX / UI Design program, selected his initial career based on his love of socializing. In his next career, he chose to pursue his creativity.
He shares his journey from Sales to Product Design below.
Fabien grew up in France, earning a degree in Business and Sales. He cited his social nature as the primary reason for choosing the field, driven by the desire to interact with others regularly for his work. But, a few years in, he was no longer satisfied with his choice of profession.
“I knew something was missing, and that something was an outlet for my creativity,” Fabien explained.
In the mid-2010s, Fabien moved to Palo Alto, California. It was while living there, surrounded by a thriving tech community, that he began to consider a career change.
“[It was a] tech Mecca, where you could see that everywhere around you,” he recalled. “I was inspired by what I was seeing around me and admired the people working in design and tech.”
Transitioning Into Tech
Another move later – this time to Austin, Texas – Fabien had resolved to switch to design. He credits admiring others in the field, as well as his natural creativity, as his reasons for choosing the field.
“I had always been inspired by my cousin who is a Product Designer. He would share projects he was working on at work and it really interested me,” he said. “Product Design really spoke to me because I wanted a creative job. It was an added bonus that it also has a collaborative aspect.”
This desire for a change of careers, he said, is what ultimately led him to Flatiron School.
“I started looking into bootcamps and I saw Flatiron School and that it offered UX / UI. I was instantly interested,” Fabien explained. “I also saw that Flatiron School’s reputation was one of the best ones in the country, so I jumped on it very quickly!”
Fabien enrolled in Flatiron School’s full-time UX / UI Design program* in early 2020, committing 40 hours a week to his studies. The workload, he said, could be challenging at times.
“On my third project, we were a team of 2 instead of 4 with a heavy workload. It was very challenging but we were very proud to complete our project at the end.”
Despite the grueling pace of accelerated learning – or perhaps because of it – Fabien and his classmates forged a deep bond that carried them through the course.
“The people [were my favorite part]! My UX classes gave me the chance to meet amazing people that now 2 years later I still talk with almost every week. Collaborating with my teammates on fun projects was my favorite part of the program.”
Fabien graduated from the Flatiron School UX / UI Design program in May 2020, just two months into the COVID-19 pandemic and global market shutdowns. To say that it made his job search difficult would be an understatement.
“My job search experience [during covid] was very challenging,” he said. “It was a difficult period for me.”
But, throughout the ordeal, Fabien’s dedicated Career Coach kept him moving forward.
“My career coach was great and very motivating. She taught me how to create an edge against other candidates when I interviewed [by] continuing to evolve as a designer and to constantly renew my portfolio.”
When we spoke with him in early 2020, Fabien was working as an Associate Product Designer at Red Hat and thriving in his new field.
“I love this career. I feel incredibly lucky to have pursued this field and it was what I had hoped for.”
Reflecting On His Journey
A continent and career change later, Fabien has come a long way from where he began as a business student in France. Looking back at the journey, his main takeaway is the importance of endurance.
“Persistence when looking for a job [is key]. And when you feel overwhelmed, just try to do your best each day.”
Fabien’s advice for current Flatiron School students centers on his ideas of persistence.
“It’s very important to stay with the program! Don’t stop after one phase – I learned that even if one was hard, you could miss something great later.”
Ready For A Change, Just Like Fabien Cartal?
Not quite ready to apply? Try out our Free Product Design Prep Work and test-run the material we teach in the course.
Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.
*UX/UI Design course is no longer available. For prospective students interested in this course of study, visit the Product Design course page to learn more.