How Pluralsight Cultivates a Team of Cloud-Happy Lifelong Learners

By prioritizing continuous learning and workplace growth, Pluralsight empowers its team to step into its customers’ shoes.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on Nov. 07, 2023
How Pluralsight Cultivates a Team of Cloud-Happy Lifelong Learners
Pluralsight
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“You learn something new every day” is a bit of a cliche, but when it comes to the timeline it’s just about right. 

Author and researcher Josh Kaufman famously made a counter argument against Malcom Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours to learn something new. Instead, Kaufman believes that it’s more like 20 hours. 

Granted, Gladwell was talking about becoming an expert in something, whereas Kaufman’s findings involve how long it takes to learn a new skill. He found that for most people to learn a new skill at work, 20 hours of dedicated time can be enough. 

With Pluralsight’s courses, you don’t even need the full 20 hours to learn something new. 

Pluralsight helps tech professionals easily add new skill sets to their toolbelt. The software and workforce-development tech company has created an accessible skills training platform that allows users to take courses in things like cybersecurity and architecture, providing access to an AWS cloud learning library. 

What makes the company truly stand out, though, is the ability to create a workplace ecosystem that thrives with continuous learning. 

“Since day one from joining Pluralsight, I realized how great the learning culture and mindset is,” said Senior Software Engineer Shaimaa Morsi. “It was clear to me that leaders and managers here lead by example, starting by allocating a couple of hours every week in everyone’s calendar to learn.” 

Pluralsight leaders make sure the learning culture is put into action throughout the company. In 2022, team members could become certified in AWS by taking the CCP cloud course that came wrapped in a bonus from Pluralsight. Morsi noted that her manager always checks to make sure she is getting the time she needs to upskill and work on personal development. 

 

“Since day one from joining Pluralsight, I realized how great the learning culture and mindset is.”

 

“My leader encourages me to overcome my weaknesses and embrace my strengths. One example is how he helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking and deliver a technical presentation,” she added. 

Another member of the software team has felt similar support from management. 

“My experience with Pluralsight has been truly incredible,” said Senior Software Engineer Billakanti Avinash. “My managers have consistently offered unwavering support in helping me reach my goals.” 

Avinash noted that managers regularly provide feedback, highlighting his strengths and areas for improvement. “It’s all with the aim of helping me achieve my best performance,” he noted. “They emphasize the importance of open communication, encouraging me to share any thoughts or questions I may have, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, simple or complex.” 

To Avinash, this level of open communication and commitment to continuously learn is a true reflection of the company values. 

“The work culture within Pluralsight is truly exceptional,” he noted. “We are committed to our core values and we are working diligently toward fulfilling our mission.” 

 

“The work culture within Pluralsight is truly exceptional. We are committed to our core values and we are working diligently toward fulfilling our mission.” 

 

All of the teams at Pluralsight have access to the library of content, courses, hands-on labs and practice exams within the platform. The courses are marked as beginner, intermediate and advanced — making any topic accessible and simultaneously robust. Morsi passed her AWS CCP certificate exam just by going through the cloud course and practice exams. 

“I’m also doing the same at the moment with an AWS associate developer certificate, which I plan to attempt in a few months,” Morsi noted. “These courses helped me to gain more knowledge about the services AWS offers and helped me choose the suitable one.” 

Morsi was able to adopt Lambda Layer later in a work task. 

“Pluralsight offers an extensive range of professional content, compared to our competitors,” said Avinash. “This is based on my personal experience of completing courses on competitors’ platforms. The authors of Pluralsight’s courses excel in pinpointing areas of potential confusion and guiding learners in selecting the correct answers.” 

 

Graphic of sun in clouds reading, “Come on, get Cloud Happy!” used for Pluralsight’s Cloud Happy challenge.
Pluralsight

 

The Company Cloud Challenge

Pluralsight leaders found a unique way to not only combine two of their company values, but push both into action in tandem. They called it “Cloud Happy.” 

Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard issued the challenge to the entire company — inviting them to step into customers’ shoes before the year’s end.

The idea for Cloud Happy started off as a customer promotion offering free access to one of five cloud or cloud-adjacent certification prep courses on the A Cloud Guru and Pluralsight Skills platforms in late 2022. 

“When digging into how important cloud skills are for our customers, we realized, ‘What better way to champion our customers than going on this journey with them?’ Which is how our Cloud Happy challenge was born,” said Training Specialist Sam Stratton

 

PLURALSIGHT’S VALUABLE INSIGHT 

Understanding how cloud usage works is extremely important to Pluralsight customers. A recent study from Pluralsight found that 70 percent of organizations have more than half of their infrastructure in the cloud, and 49 percent are continuing to move more data into the cloud.

 

Cloud Happy had two parts: First, all team members were challenged to complete the Tech Foundations “Cloud Computing Explained” course. 

“This armed everyone with the basic terminology and information needed to ‘speak cloud’ with teammates, friends and customers,” said Stratton. 

Secondly, team members were encouraged to take their knowledge a step further and earn a cloud certification in: AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Google Cloud Digital Leader, Hashicorp Certified: Terraform Associate or Certified Kubernetes Administrator. The cost of the exams was covered by Pluralsight, including retakes if needed. The team saw a 98 percent pass rate. 

 

PLURALSIGHT AND CLOUD HAPPY RESULTS

  • 95% of team members completed the Tech Foundations Cloud Computing Explained course
  • 358 team members joined study groups
  • 108 Cloud Captains helped guide them on their path to certification
  • 233 team members fully completed at least one Cloud Happy course
  • 124 cloud certifications were achieved

 

Across departments, study groups popped up to help teammates prepare for the exams.

“These study group channels were designed to be a space to collaborate with other learners going on the certification journey,” added Stratton. 

 

Pluralsight team members pose for group photo near glass wall in office.
Pluralsight

 

Preparing for the test meant following weekly study guides, watching content and completing hands-on labs independently. Stratton recalled a lot of folks using the study groups to ask questions during live sessions or by posting questions asynchronously for “Cloud Captains,” the team members who previously obtained their certifications. 

“And of course as the year wrapped up, these study groups served as a spot to celebrate with everyone as those certifications started rolling in,” commented Stratton. 

Chief People Officer Will Clive even started an internal vlog to share his certification journey and some tips and tricks he discovered along the way while balancing work, learning and life. Pluralsight hosted a lunch party to celebrate the first two departments to reach 100 percent completion of the Tech Foundations course.

“With this Cloud Happy challenge we hoped to encourage team members to consume the content like our customers and upskill using our own products, so we could build a foundational cloud knowledge and shared language across Pluralsight,” said Stratton. “Having the whole company complete the course also helps us as a company speak the same language when talking about cloud, which makes it easier to collaborate and innovate across departments.”

 

“Having the whole company complete the course also helps us as a company speak the same language when talking about cloud, which makes it easier to collaborate and innovate across departments.”

 

Stratton added that quite a few team members noted that the challenge helped them better champion Pluralsight’s customers. 

“Whether they are building new material, helping teams implement solutions, or seeing if our products are a good fit for a customer, having the firsthand experience of being a learner is invaluable,” said Stratton. 

The Cloud Happy challenge was, for Stratton, just one example of how Pluralsight encourages learning and upskilling among team members.

“We are a team of lifelong learners,” concluded Stratton. “We’re always looking for more ways to help our team members upskill and become more tech savvy — come join the team and see.”

 

Read moreThe Art of the Upskill: How Pluralsight Promotes Professional Development from Within

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Pluralsight.

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