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Designing Your Career

About This Course

Welcome to the Designing Your Career online module! Whether you’re exploring what you might want to do next or you’ve already identified a role or organization that you would like to be a part of, this short module is structured to help you take practical steps toward designing your career.

Designing Your Career is a class created by the Stanford Life Design Lab that helps individuals design their lives and careers.

What is Designing Your Career really about?

This online course uses a design thinking approach to help people of any age and academic background develop a constructive and effective approach to designing their vocation. This course is primarily comprised of 5 career-oriented vocational wayfinding concepts, illustrated through videos and expanded through personal reflections and exercises.


There are no prerequisites for this course. People of all backgrounds and at any stage of their career are welcome to use the course.

Course Staff

John Armstrong

Lecturer and Fellow, Stanford Life Design Lab

John is a Lecturer and Fellow in Stanford's Life Design Lab, where he teaches Designing Your Life, Designing Your Stanford, and Designing the Professional. John has led the development of online content for the Lab, consulted with companies as a Design Coach for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, and led courses and workshops for faculty and students at universities in the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

Ben Bowman

Stanford Life Design Lab Intern

Ben is earning his master's degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Prior to his time at Stanford, he worked in the Oregon State Legislature on education policy issues. He also has experience in youth leadership development and training.

Kathy Davies

Managing Director, Stanford Life Design Lab

Kathy has 15 years of experience developing electromechanical and software products, and proudly holds five patents. She consults with Silicon Valley companies, teaches design thinking, conducts ethnographic research, and develops product strategies and concepts. Kathy is also the co- creator of “Designing Your Life for Women” and a passionate advocate for design thinking as a methodology to empower social change.

Dave Evans

Co-Founder, Stanford Life Design Lab

Dave Evans has been on a mission to help others find and pursue theirs ever since his undergrad days at Stanford. Along the way, he co-founded Electronic Arts and introduced the computer mouse to the world while at Apple.

Bill Burnett

Co-Founder, Stanford Life Design Lab

Bill Burnett is the Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents, and design awards for a variety of products including the first “slate” computer. In addition to his duties at Stanford, he is on the Board of VOZ (pronounced “VAWS – it means voice in Spanish) a social responsible high fashion startup and advises several Internet start-up companies.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not a student at Stanford. Can I still take this course?

Yes! This online course is based on a class Designing Your Life. One of the goals of using the online medium is to make these ideas available to anyone who could benefit from them.

I see "Design" in the course title. Will we learn Design Thinking?

The content, exercises, and activities in this course are applications of many of the components of design thinking, and this course is a practical way of using design thinking for your career. However, this course is not intended to be an introduction to design thinking. For an intro to design thinking, check out this virtual crash course. For a more on applying the design thinking process to your life and career, check out the best-selling Designing Your Life Book.

How much work will this be?

This course is designed to be flexible and adaptive to the needs of each user. The course is structured around a set of videos, with activities and exercises that correspond to each video subject. You could choose to breeze through the course in an hour, or you could choose to dive deep, take extra time to reflect, consult with other resources, and finish over the course of a few weeks. This course is a tool; it's up to you how you use it.

Is there a Statement of Accomplishment available for this course?

No. This course is intended to be reflective and give you some tools to engage with the resources around you.

I'm a student at Stanford. Are there similar courses I could take?

Yes! You can check out our main course offerings here. Each course is tailored to a specific student population.

Which web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome or Firefox.

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    2-4 Hours Total
  4. Price