Designing Your Career





The course uses design thinking to address the “wicked problem” of designing your life and career. This online class offers a framework, tools, and a place where you’ll work on these issues through videos, reflections, and exercises. The course employs a design thinking approach to help people -- of any age and with any academic background -- develop a constructive and effective approach to finding and designing their vocation.


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

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 a 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.

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.

John Armstrong

Stanford Life Design Lab Fellow and Lecturer

As a lecturer in Stanford's Life Design Lab, John teaches classes and develops programs to help people use design thinking to get the most out of college, work, and life. John previously worked with Stanford students and faculty in the office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Student Activities and Leadership, and Graduate School of Education. Prior to Stanford, John has served as a Dean of Students and taught meditation and wellness. John received his BA from Colorado College and MA from Stanford.

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.

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 taught by lecturers at the Stanford Life Design Lab called Designing Your Life (which is based on the book of the same name by co-founders Bill Burnett and Dave Evans). One of the goals of using the online medium is to make these ideas and processes available to anyone who could benefit from them.

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

Yes! The way we have structured the course and designed the activities and exercises are applications of many of the components of design thinking. This course is a practical way of using design thinking on your life.

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 simillar courses I could take?

Designing Your Life is one of many courses we teach that applies the Design Thinking approach to wicked life problems. With each course, we’ve tailored the material to a specific student population.

For juniors and seniors of all majors: ME104B – Designing Your Life

For graduate students of all majors: ENGR311B – Designing the Professional

For senior majoring in Product Design: ME104 – The Designer’s Voice

For Masters students in the Graduate Design Program: ME304 – The Designer’s Voice

Which web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

001 Open for Enrollment Online, OpenEdX

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Delivery Option:
Online Course $0.00