From Software Engineer To UX Designer: Ladislav's Story of Finding Fulfillment

Profile photo for CareerFoundry contributor Ed Wood.

Shortly after graduating from CareerFoundry and making a career switch from software engineer to UX designer, Ladislav was thrown into the deep end into a new role at Credit Suisse –in a good way!

“I had just started when the team had to deliver a huge bunch of screens and flows. I didn’t get the chance to discover the environment. I arrived and my boss told me the next deadline was in three weeks. It was good—it wasn’t boring—no introduction days. He said just focus on the work.”

For Ladislav, his new daily tasks as a UX designer give him energy, rather than sapping it. This wasn’t always the way, however.

A start in software engineering

Ladislav grew up in a small village in Slovakia. As secondary school came to an end and attention turned to higher education, he made a bet with his friends that he could get into one of the top universities in Slovakia to study applied informatics. He applied and was accepted, and embarked on studies in cryptology and backend web technologies.

After graduating, he quickly landed a job as a software engineer in Vienna, Austria. Software engineers are well-paid, and are often considered have one of the most desirable jobs on the market—but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone!

“We would deliver the software—often from big projects—but the projects didn’t go smoothly, with lots of tickets because the users couldn’t figure out how to use the new systems. So I asked myself why, and discovered there is a profession to make it all user-friendly. This started to excite me. 

I was never the kind of person who could sit and code all day long anyway, and when I found out that there is a branch of design making the product experience better, I realized it was something for me.”

Ladislav’s curiosity had been awoken, but he was still unsure of what a job in UX actually entailed, and, importantly, how to enter it. Naturally, he turned to the global brain that is Google and asked a simple question: what is UX design? And that’s how he stumbled across CareerFoundry.

Unbeknownst to him, this was to be the catalyst for one of the biggest changes in his life so far:

“That’s how I came across CareerFoundry—by asking Google that exact question! ‘What’s the difference between UI, UX, interaction design…’ and I came across an article explaining all the differences. And then I got hooked on CareerFoundry.

I read that the course wasn’t just a few weeks—it’s thorough and it takes time, and I wanted the details. And the course is mentored, and I know I always need feedback to improve.”

The fact that CareerFoundry is highly flexible—courses can be done entirely online and as a full-time or part-time student—appealed to Ladislav. He had reached a point in life where he had enough money to be able to pose himself the question of what he really wanted to do, but still needed to be able to continue working and earning as a software engineer while completing the course.

The journey to becoming a UX designer

“I learned so much. It was eye-opening, because I got a picture of what the day-to-day life of a UX designer looks like. That was exciting. I had so many questions.”

Once he was three-quarters of the way through his course, Ladislav and the Career Services Team started to prepare his profile and applications for the UX job market. He was methodical about this, creating a spreadsheet where he kept track of the status of his correspondence with his companies of choice.

In the end, however, it wasn’t his calculated approach that landed him his first job—it was happy coincidence. His background as a software engineer proved especially helpful in his search.

His CareerFoundry mentor posted his portfolio on LinkedIn, asking whether anyone was looking for a top-class UX designer in Switzerland. This post was seen by a manager at Credit Suisse who had worked with Ladislav previously in his role as a software engineer, and it just so happened that a UX designer with a background in coding was exactly what he was looking for:

“He got in touch immediately and said, ‘Hi Ladislav, how are you? I think we should meet for a coffee.’”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Ladislav landed his first role in the industry working as a UX designer at Credit Suisse around six months after graduating from CareerFoundry. Since 2021, he has worked as a User Experience Designer at Swisscom.

Was going from software engineer to UX designer the right decision?

A quote about Ladislav’s career change journey from software engineer to UX designer

Ladislav recognizes that changing jobs has also had a positive effect on his personal life:

“I’m more relaxed and not so stressed and anxious, and I talk to people more, and I don’t feel ‘strange’ when I meet people. I finally have human interaction and realize this is what I was missing for so long. I have a tendency to watch what people are doing and how they are struggling. Even during team lunches we discuss these kind of things.

I prefer to talk about these human topics—previously we talked about algorithms, but talking about how people behave is much more fun!”

Since graduating, Ladislav has held product and UX design roles at Credit Suisse, Swisscom, and now works as a Senior UX Expert at the Ärtztekasse in Switzerland, a role where he also has influence on the creation of business cases.

Ladislav has these recommendations for software engineers considering a career in UX design:

“You don’t want to spend so many hours doing something which isn’t interesting for you. And it’s not just those hours, but also your private hours. If you do something boring, sitting in boring meetings, then you go home feeling tired. It affects your life. If there’s a chance you can improve it, then why not? Step out of your comfort zone and see if you can find something more interesting.”

If you’ve been inspired by Ladislav’s story,sign up here for a free 6-day short course in UX design.

Or, if you’d like to speak to an expert program advisor for free about how studying with CareerFoundry and retraining for a job in tech, book a call with us.

Want to learn more about making a career change from software engineer to UX designer?

Update: Since this article was published, Ladislav says that many engineers have reached out to him to share more about his experience in UX. He’s stayed in touch with some of them, too!

What You Should Do Now

  1. Check out one of our free short courses in design, data analytics, coding, digital marketing, and product management.

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  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out which field is best for you.

  4. This month, we’re offering a partial scholarship worth up to $1,365 off on all of our career-change programs to the first 100 students who apply 🎉 Book your application call and secure your spot now!

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