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Define Your Path

What do you want to pursue?

This first step to building a personal learning plan to to define you path. “I want steady professional employment in the field of sustainability.” “I want to combine teaching English with travel.” "I want to start video blogging."  “I want to learn project management skills to advance in my career” or “I’d like to better my understanding of how to finance a family business”.

Your task: Share the dream with us. Post a comment below and let us know: What does a person with your intended career or skill set do? What inspires you to take a DIY approach to getting there? 

Not sure what path is right for you? The second part of the Edupunk's Guide shares resources for finding direction in your career and focusing your skill set.

Task Discussion

  • Jaiela said:

    I want to learn more about start-ups and build an online drop shipping business.  

    on April 23, 2014, 3:12 p.m.
  • Anna Sakoyan said:

    My biggest motivation to enter this challenge is curiosity about how it works and whether it actually works.

    Speaking more practically, I want to get into a new sphere of knowledge. My background is humanitarian and I'm very interested in having a better idea of data science and programming. Ideally, to acquire a second specialisation in something connected with it. I'm not sure which exactly, because the area is really new to me and many things look very attractive.

    And also I'm interested in how P2P communities function and in the ways education practices develop. So it's always interesting to have a look at this from the inside.

    on May 15, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
  • skazm said:

    I want to be an adept 3D CAD jewelry designer with a famous brand and stores all over the world.

    on April 8, 2013, 2:26 p.m.
  • Augustus said:

    Well, I have two dreams, actually:


    I think i'm a professor by nature. I feel vocationed to teach (and learn). Here in my country, the teachers and professors are not well remunerated and far away from being recognized by the government. So it's just a dream right now. Something I would love to do, informally, just for the joy of teach.


    Second, I love to learn, principally math and following the path, physics. I think engineering it's the best choice for me, and kinda hard too, because requires lots of study and time and I'm a father of a 10 month little girl and I'm working on a job that requires 12h a day worked. I think that learning by myself will make things easier when I could start the course.

    on Feb. 13, 2013, 9:43 p.m.
  • Morag Smith said:

    As an established professional, I'm looking for tools to help me structure continuing to develop my skill set. The traditional college has actually served my very well, but at this point the freedom to tailor a course of study to exactly what I need and be flexible about when and where I learn is much more important than the right credential.

    My specific interest right now is systems engineering. Not just software, but a hardware, software,  and processes combination.

    on Feb. 7, 2013, 6:22 p.m.
  • Mathew said:

    I want to learn to be an even more effective leader.

    on Dec. 9, 2012, 9:03 a.m.
  • BlueBmw101 said:

    I want to become a professional who can solve network-related issues. Though I might seem far from my goal at the present time, my skill set includes problem-solving and mainly computer science related topics such as programming. To become proficient in what I wish to do in the future, I believe it is necessary to take a DIY approach so I can further advance my skill set in higher level education classes to get the proper degrees for the job.


    on Dec. 6, 2012, 10:19 a.m.
  • Josh Lipovetsky said:

    My biggest goal with self-education is to help bridge the gap in my mind between the sciences and the humanities. I have leaned a lot toward Literature, Philosophy and Psychology in the past. 

    I would love to venture into fields like Anatomy, Medicine, Biology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, etc. Looking out into the realm of knowledge, I feel inspired by all that I have left to learn. It will go on like this for my entire life, so there's no rush. Nonetheless, it's amazing that we have the opportuntiy.

    I have been into Open Learning for a couple of years, but I never really got anywhere with it. Too many new and exciting opportunities show up, and I have difficulty sticking with one course of action. For me, this is a way of taking control of my education, and becoming a self-directed person.

    Thanks for this course, and thanks for this platform!

    on Nov. 9, 2012, 11:33 p.m.
  • LearningChicka said:

    I don't have any one reason for continuing further education through a DIY based attempt.  I'm currently a full time IT support worker with graphic and web designing skills that I use as tools for a side freelance income.

    I've always been interested in finding my own education, there's an allure there that doesn't happen in the standard educational system. You can go sit down in a class and read page after page with an instructor that just found out what they're teaching in their last class a week ago; or you can find your information yourself and be more eager to learn because you're bringing your own information to yourself.

    It's more of an accomplishment, not to mention a more in depth view than what you receive for buckets of money that you pay into these colleges.  I'm a recent college dropout - not because I had a bad GPA (3.75 when I dropped) but because I felt I was being robbed. My field of study was Advertising and marketing. By the time I was set to graduate, I'd either have paid or owed around 60,000 dollars. That's fine if i'm getting a good education. The information I learned in the first YEAR of schooling was everything I already knew. Four years for my degree, 60,000 dollars at the end, that means I'm paying 20,000 for this year just as a brush up course, what?!


    Anyways, I apologize for my long winded comment.  I'm here to better myself. I'm here to brush up on some of my talents and skills, and learn more. I have a wide range of areas of studies i'd like to read more into; and eventually I'd like to organize something like P2PU that focuses on bringing certified teachers and enthused learners together for free, to give the self starters a chance to really expand their minds.

    on Sept. 22, 2012, 6:50 a.m.
  • Alan WiIliams said:

    This may be way too complicated, but I was thinking of doing a "Improving the human body" study.  I am thinking of studying natural, such as meditation and related ideas, and artificial ways of healing, such as medicine and eventually as advanced stuff as nanorobotics and cellular engineering.

    on Sept. 9, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

    AJC said:

    Hey Alan,

    Large goals are always burly, but nothing is impossible. Perhaps break down your interests into categories of importance:

    • Be a Master of: specific topics directly related to a reasonable career
    • Be knowledgable of: topics more related to a spiritual practice, wellness, or a hobby
    • Make occassional time for: topics that are interesting, but not related to your career goals
    on Sept. 17, 2012, 7:35 p.m. in reply to Alan WiIliams
  • Vladik said:

    Hi All,

    I've found it very difficult to follow my learning plan. It's a real challenge for me. I have it written and I've set the goals but daily circumstances , lack of time and other obstacles prevent me from moving forward. Maybe I just looking for excuses to justify myself , I don't know.

    I think writing your learning plan , publishing it , it's not enough.  I think must be some milestones where you report about your progress , retrospect and analyze your achievements and mistakes and then do adjustments accordingly .

    Also,  learning in groups should be more effective . 


    on Aug. 12, 2012, 4:07 p.m.

    AJC said:

    Hey Vladi,

    I also find it difficult. That's why I'm working with a friend to create a virtual cohort for this idea that's happening in D.C.

    We want to take it web-wide!

    on Sept. 17, 2012, 7:36 p.m. in reply to Vladik
  • Jess Lance said:

    Oh, I'm still all over the place.

    I have two loves, two desires, two completely different paths.

    [1] I want to be a creative writing teacher an an author/poet. I want to teach the craft to others as I hone and fine tune my own music.

    How I'm accomplishing this: I am currently a senior in college geting a degree in English and mulling over an MFA in creative writing. But I don't know if that's my path (nor if my proverbial wallet can take it!) I offer my services tutoring, attend local Meet Up groups in writing. But I don't have near enough interaction yet, and I'm not sure if sites like P2PU are designed for ideas like mine. Perhaps it just takes some out of the box thinking.

    [2] Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to work with severe weather.

    The challenge: Despite being a senior in college, I have an eigth grade understanding of math, and the math-based sciences make me want to pull my hair out. Thus, I gave up my dream of meteorology for something I was already good at. Now, I'm not so sure. Should I pursue a post-bacc?

    I can't answer that question until I know if I will succeed in the math courses. In my year off (currently, this year, to figure my way around myself) I hope to hire a math/sciences tutor to accompany a couple of courses, which in turn incorporate Khan Academy videos. Am I willing to rack up 3 years of debt for a post-bacc degree? Or make myself happy in a profession that I may or may not ever actually enter?

    on Aug. 11, 2012, 8:46 p.m.

    AJC said:

    You could be a journalist who covers severe weather!

    But really, it is possible to find a good combination of your passions. A lot of science writers don't have a PhD in the topic they write about. What's your daily impetus? To write? Or to study weather patterns? If it's the first, you're already on the right path.

    on Sept. 17, 2012, 7:39 p.m. in reply to Jess Lance
  • lonestarnanny said:

    I want to develop my skills as a professional career nanny, and bring a level of professionalism and respect to a field that is often treated as glorified babysitting. 

    Nannies have the ability to bridge the gap between work and home so that children are able to live creative, fulfilling lives even if both parents work outside the home. We provide respite care for families overwhelmed with crisis, grief, and significant special needs. We help children transition through life changes. We are mentors, we are teachers, we are coaches, we are caretakers, and we are friends. 

    on Aug. 9, 2012, 5:03 p.m.

    AJC said:

    Perhaps you can offer courses or write about your experiences as a Nanny. Do you have a blog? That would be a great way for people to refer to you as an important person in the field.

    on Sept. 17, 2012, 7:40 p.m. in reply to lonestarnanny
  • Kapil Chawla said:

    I want to learn to write good research proposal to get admission & scholarship in master by reseacher programme in an Australian University.

    on July 27, 2012, 3:31 p.m.

    AJC said:

    Hey Kapil check out:

    on July 30, 2012, 10:51 a.m. in reply to Kapil Chawla

    Kapil Chawla said:

    Hey Alison,

    That's great.


    Best Regards,


    on July 30, 2012, 1:44 p.m. in reply to AJC
  • Anonym said:

    My goal is to be a successful freelance web developer who adds innovation to my field, become a role model for young girls and women of color to pursue careers in tech, and have lots of fun with my loved ones.

    I want to be a super nerd! I'm kind of a novice nerd right now...

    on July 12, 2012, 5:11 a.m.

    AJC said:

    Hey Mekesia you shoudl desing/lead some webcraft courses for P2PU! You dont need to be an expert. The idea is that you learn together!

    on July 30, 2012, 10:52 a.m. in reply to Anonym
  • minh.hieu said:

    Hi, i'm hieu!
    I'm living in Vietnam and still going to high school. I'm interested in Computer science, especially network and linux programming.

    For the time being, I want to earn some money by myself before going to college (0$ now ^^). I do this by learning some programming languages and technology like Python, PHP, CSS3, HTML5 but I have little time this summer and I don't think i'll be proficient enough to earn money :( Meanwhile, i realized that some knowledge about art, designing, ux, ui... is also important for my future career. So i'm finding a way to learn these things ( still a bit confused how to learn ). I can program but i'm not so good at design and laying things out.

    This school year will be a bit "tough", because i'll have to take final exam on leaving high school. So i'll have less time going into my interest. I also study english and german as foreign languages. These are also important because next year I want to study in Germany.
    I also take one or two courses at ocw. I have no idea how to organize my time because there's so many things to learn and I'm not a plan-follower :( I'm trying to make a learning plan so that I can do good at school and my interesting field, too.
    Your comments are welcome ^^

    on June 29, 2012, 11:05 a.m.
  • Elmo911 said:

    I am a student in-between high school and college. My skill set tends to involve computers. I would like to learn some general computer programming / network skills to help me narrow down what I want to do as a career. I also am wanting to have bilingual proficiency in Japanese, and perhaps add other languages to that later in life. My overall goal is to become skilled enough to get involved in the international market (especially since the economic status of the United States is causing uncertainty.)

    I am just now discovering ways to form healthy habits and tools for self-motivation. I hope that P2PU will help me figure out what I might want to make a lifestyle, and maybe how I might go about doing it!

    on June 29, 2012, 12:13 a.m.

    minh.hieu said:

    Hi Elmo! 
    You seem to have something in common with me :) I also like to learn networking programming and want to be able get involved in the international market and make something big. But I'm a little bit confused how can I achieve that. How will you achieve your goal?

    on June 29, 2012, 11:14 a.m. in reply to Elmo911

    Elmo911 said:

    Hey Hieu, 

    I'm glad there are others on here with similar goals!

    Right now I'm trying to just learn some basic Python by taking the free CS101 class on I doubt I will have any immediate use for the language but I want to get used to doing some programming. For me achieving my goal will probably involve the 4 years I will be spending in college. Like you, I am in the process of earning money for college so I won't be stuck will a large debt when I graduate.

    If you really want to use programming to make money, I would suggest looking into what it would take to program phone or tablet applications. From what I understand, Google trys to make programming for the Android Market easy on developers, but the biggest opening is probably in the WebOS HP software. I have WebOS tablet and all the apps for it tend to be overpriced and crappy, but people still pay for them 0_0

    You also mentioned that you are having trouble organizing your time? I can usually keep myself on track by using reminders from Google Calendar. If you are having problems staying motivated I am using Jerry Seinfeld's "don't break the chain" method, and it has been working great for me!   

    Let me know if you have any more questions!

    on June 29, 2012, 2:31 p.m. in reply to minh.hieu

    minh.hieu said:

    Thanks for the link. I'm trying that out! Hope that I can improve my situation.
    I'm now taking a course at MIT ocw. It also use Python as the programming language. The course at Udacity is cool but I think traditional lecture course like that also has cool stuff. If you like check it out, taking 2 course parallel is a good idea:

    Recently, there're arguments about developing apps with native code or with HTML5. I don't know if developing apps for tablets and phones with native code or with HTML5 is better in these day. People tend to develop apps with HTML5 because it's cross-platform but i have no idea if the perfomance is as good as native apps. I think looking into HTML5 now is a good choice.

    on June 30, 2012, 4:29 a.m. in reply to Elmo911

    AJC said:

    I'm excited to see both of you here. Hopefully you can learn something from the webcraft comunity here:

    Also, this course is awesome:

    It's about contributing to our platform. The code is django (python). We're always looking for volunteers and perhaps you two could fill some of you learning requirements/internships for making improvements to P2PU!

    on July 10, 2012, 8:23 p.m. in reply to minh.hieu
  • Hope said:

    I am pursuing an Associate's Degree in Business Administration.  This degree will allow me to get a higher paying job as an administrative worker wherever I choose.  Someone with my intended education could do things like work for a social worker, or run an office.  The things that inspire me to pursue this degree is the economy.  Our economy is bad and getting worse.  If we are not prepared for that, who knows where we will end up financially.  I want to be ready.

    on June 26, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
  • runmoremaura said:

    I would like to create my own consulting/professional development group.  I would like to help make people aware of the uses of engaging technologies, such as iPads and iPods, flipped classrooms and other resources that would enhance the learning experiences of students in the autism spectrum.  I have an interest in this for my own child as well as the consulting and sharing of information with other educators.  

    I have a diverse background in technology and know first-hand some of the stuggles that  autism spectrum youth face in their traditional classrooms and their current education situations.  

    I know that I need to:

    •  examine the ways to create a consulting group; legal, copyright of materials, fees, 

    •  research the value that schools in the area have for such a consulting service

    •  research the needs of schools with youth in the autism spectrum

    •  organize the resources that I already have in a variety of ways and put them in a database, this will allow me to prepare resources for targeted consulting services and to make the database dynamic and available online 24x7 for those accepting my terms of service

    •  keep up-to-date with trends and technologies that may enhance the learning qualities for youth in the autism spectrum

    •  keep up-to-date with the current best practices and trends in education using technology

    These are just a few small starting thoughts for my plan.

    on June 22, 2012, 10:56 p.m.
  • Rohit.Vashisht said:


    To work for an Computer or Telecom Company as a Computer Systems Engineer with the next 12 months.


    1. Coding an Operating System like Unix:  I will make a primitive operating system on top which you can run simple commands through your own shell. (We reserve the last lecture for you to demo your operating system to the rest of the class.)
    The operating system you will build, called JOS, will have UNIX®-like functions (e.g., fork, exec), but is implemented in an exokernel style (i.e., the UNIX® functions are implemented mostly as user-level library instead of built-in to the kernel). The major parts of the JOS operating system are:
    Memory Management
    User-level Environments
    Preemptive Multitasking
    File System and Spawn
    A Shell
    We will provide skeleton code for pieces of JOS, but mostly you will have to do all the hard work.

    Prerequisites: C, Computer Systems or Operating Systems, and Computer Organization


    Completion of Prerequisites: October, 2012

    Completion of Operating System: December, 2012

    2. Building and Internet Router: The hardware uses the NetFPGA boards which provide a programmable hardware platform for developing network equipment. Given the Verilog HDL code for a simple two port switch the hardware designer will extend/modify/discard this code to provide the functionality of a four-port IP router. A set of tools are provided to assist the student with design, verification and synthesis.
    The software developer will create the code needed to control and manage the router. For control purposes, the software must participate in a dynamic routing protocol and respond to ARP and ICMP messages. For management purposes the software must export a telnet-like command-line interface such that a user can telnet to the software process and manage the actual hardware. The Stanford VNS (Virtual Network System) is used to allow the student's software to run from any suitable Cambridge computer and yet communicate with the hardware directly.


    • Students who are familiar with Verilog (or VHDL) and are comfortable with the general process of designing RTL-based logic and the verification process associated with that. The student must understand the difference between behavioral Verilog and RTL Verilog (a subset which can be synthesized into logic). The hardware course minimum is ECAD/ECAD-Practical.
    • Students who are competent software programmers, who have had significant exposure to system level programming in C. The students must be comfortable developing and debugging in a multithreaded environment, and should have experience working within a code-base of over 5,000 lines. The software course minimum is C/C++
    • All students should understand IP-level networking. Equivalent course requirment is Digital Communications I and II


    Completion of Prerequisites: April, 2013

    Completion of project: June, 2013


    I am looking for guidance and people to join me in my venture (if interested).

    on June 13, 2012, 5:24 p.m.