The past few weeks I’ve had some extra time to start the framework for a project I’ve been incubating for a long time. I was at a hackathon long ago in college, and our idea was related to helping people who wanted to figure out how to go from point A to point B in terms of knowledge. For example, let’s say you’re a senior in college studying computer-engineering, but you’ve realized you are far more interested in becoming a data scientist. While you might not be able to switch majors like that and start over, there’s enough information on the Internet that you should be able to learn.

The problem is, unless you have someone close to you with that domain knowledge of how to get started, it would be pretty hard to know how get to that point B, becoming a data scientist. This idea came from that need - helping to provide learning paths for people who want to learn something that they don’t necessarily know how to learn. Knowing how to learn something is just as important, if not more so, than actually knowing the topic in question. I could talk much more about that, but I’ll leave that for another day. For now, just understand that at the core of our idea, we wanted to teach people how to learn stuff, rather than to teach them the concept itself. As many hackathon projects go, we left that weekend and did not end up continuing to work on it, but it stuck in the back of my head for the next year or so.

Pathfinder is the brain-child of that old project. I decided to cut down the scope of it so that it would help people learn real-world useful applications that could be hard to string together from simple Google searches. For example, instead of help someone become a web-developer, Pathfinder teaches someone how to build, test, and deploy a Django web-application from start to finish.

Long-term, I would love to be able to help give someone a free path to the career interest or skill of their choice, but I figured I would start with helping to unmystify the things that I actually had to learn myself in the past. I figure that sharing learning tracks of real, useful skills will benefit some people and ultimately help them learn how to learn any technology they want in the future.

I’m currently working on adding new tracks, and I’m open to any ideas or thoughts you may have on things you would like to learn, or things you know people around you would like to learn. Shoot an email to help at if you have any thoughts or feedback!

This is definitely a work-in-progress, and as I gather feedback and try new topics, I’ll be sure to update here about it.