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August 23, 2023 - 6 minutes

My Unbelievable Career Change

From Acrobat and Pastry Chef to UX Designer and Developer

Manon Roux - Ironhack France

Is it really possible to change careers? Spoiler alert: YES. And to prove it, Cédric and Minyoung have chosen to share snippets of their professional careers. We hope that these life trajectories, which prove that anything is possible, will inspire you to change careers if you aren’t feeling quite at home at work.

Before Ironhack

First career: acrobatics

Initially, Cédric wanted to be a touring comedian but for this profession, you have to learn how to play any character, so he chose to learn acrobatics at the Ami Fratelli circus school. It was love at first sight!

"From morning to night and night to morning, it was all I wanted to do. I used to skip English classes to train. I progressed very quickly and joined an acrobatics team from 1994 to 2001.”

But then it all came crashing down. In 2001, Cédric performed a circus act in which he jumped over elephants but missed the landing, destroying his left knee. After eight months of patient rehabilitation, he was unable to resume his career.

"I was very depressed because acrobatics was more than a profession, it was my vocation. I drifted from job to job for years. After, I wanted to give a new meaning to my career. That's when I learned computer development first, then design.

Cédric then listened to his attraction for the world of the web. He realized that developers   are in high demand and took an initial 6-month remote learning course to get started. Then he decided to add a second string to his bow with Ironhack’s UX/UI Design Bootcamp, this time in-person in Paris. He figured that mastering both professions would enhance the attractiveness of his profile at the age of 44.

"I wanted this dual skill and I chose Ironhack in English for the challenge, because I hadn't practiced since my circus days. I met people of all nationalities. It'll be the same in the web world, so I might as well practice." 

Korea To France

Born in Busan, South Korea, Minyoung had already lived several professional lives before becoming a web developer. At the age of 18, she studied international law in Japan and then found a job as a UI designer, which was her true passion. Since the age of eight, she had been using Adobe at home, which helped her land this job. Minyoung's salary was great for a young graduate and her situation was stable, but it wasn't meant to last.

"After 4 years on the job, I was in a car accident. I realized that I could die at any moment, so I reviewed my professional priorities."

She took a one-way ticket to Paris in 2016 where she studied at Le Cordon Bleu and worked as a pastry chef at Le Meurice. But COVID put a stop to her experience in the kitchen.

"I had to think about what I could do that would be more flexible in terms of location. I found the Ironhack bootcamp in Paris. It was open to English speakers so I signed up. I was excited about this project because I loved my first job as a designer, which is close to being a web developer. I wanted to work from anywhere."

" Several of my developer friends were making a very good living, so why not me?

The Ironhack Bootcamp Experience

During the Web Developer Bootcamp, I felt really stimulated," says Minyoung.”React and the backend were new to me. We worked intensively, sometimes even in the evenings and during weekends. I had found two very good friends with whom we supported each other. It was exhilarating to learn so much in such a short time, and I was sad to finish the course.”

As for Cédric, he loved prototyping in the UXUI Designer bootcamp. It was a very geeky aspect of the course that he had a lot of fun with, but this didn't stop him from developing solid skills in design thinking and UX research. 

"I loved this aspect of the job, because being the voice of user needs is a place I particularly enjoy in a team.The courses were solid and everything the teachers gave. When I left the bootcamp, I felt confident in my skills.”

After Ironhack

Lifelong learning

Cédric isn't resting on his laurels now that his Pôle Emploi-funded bootcamp is coming to an end. A week after the end of the training, Figma released an update that forced him to learn a new skill once again. He is also continuing to build on the skills he has acquired, in relation to his job search. 

As soon as he graduated, he contacted companies in Pau. Above all, he's looking for a position as a UI Engineer; he is a UX/UI designer with a strong development background who bridges the gap between the UI and Dev teams.

"Sometimes there are problems of understanding. We see a lot of memes about designers who want to make crazy designs and developers who go crazy: my job would be to smooth communication!" he confides.

It didn’t take long for Minyoung to find a job. 

"We graduated at the end of February and I started working at the beginning of April. I wanted to work in Web3, on a blockchain-related project, Dogami. It's a very cute idea of a kind of Tamagochi. You buy an NFT dog and use it on Web3. I sent a message on LinkedIn to its CTO and they hired me directly. I was the only front-end developer, so I learned very quickly, even though I was working on one project at a time. Then I joined Pyratzlabs, the same start-up studio that owned Dogami. Here, I work on several projects at once, which is very exciting.” 

Highlighting past experience

Incredible as it may seem, there are skills that overlap between UX design and the circus. After 10 years in acrobatics and 20 years of diverse experience, he will also be able to use his artistic eye, his adaptability, his ability to evolve as part of a team, and his rigor.

"You can't be afraid to take the plunge. Just because you're over 40 and have never worked on the web doesn't mean you can't do it."

"If you like the job you're moving  to, it'll be easier. My friends and I have found all our projects fascinating and today I'm having a great time at my job. I have no plans to go anywhere for the time being."


You can apply for the UX/UI Design bootcamp or the web development bootcamp to become product designer or web developer. Check out the financing options which are available to make this bootcamp or career development project a reality.

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