What do an electrical engineer and a telecommunications service consultant have in common?
A bright future in tech.
Linda McGraw and Eric Roberts may not have known it straight away, but after chasing their love of problem-solving and automation in other industries, they both realized they’d excel in tech.
Fast forward through a few career pivots that landed them in the field of software engineering, and Roberts and McGraw joined A Cloud Guru to work on the company’s platform, which enables users to enhance their technology skills to level up in a current role, or break into the cloud industry for the first time. Through the twists and turns of their own professional journeys, McGraw and Roberts ultimately found their dream jobs: making it easier for others to do the same.
A Cloud Guru was founded with the intention to be a one-stop shop for technologists interested in mastering increasingly vital tools, like Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud and more. Offering over 400 courses, A Cloud Guru has become a go-to resource for those looking to gain hands-on cloud training and certifications through its virtual programs.
Last year, A Cloud Guru’s mission caught the eye of Pluralsight, a workforce development company helping organizations keep their talent at the top of their game through expert-authored courses on today’s most important technologies. With such similar missions, it seemed like a match made in the cloud. Pluralsight and A Cloud Guru joined forces through an acquisition, becoming an attractive and comprehensive resource for individuals and corporate teams intent on upskilling.
Since the acquisition, Roberts and McGraw now build products that have the potential to reach even more customers, thanks to the newly combined footprint of A Cloud Guru and Pluralsight. McGraw uses the product herself: Since joining, she’s continued refining her cloud expertise to ensure her skills are top-notch.
“I love that I’m always learning new things,” she said. “As cloud technology changes, I have to continue to sharpen the saw in order to stay up to date on the latest and greatest.”
McGraw isn’t alone. Companies are increasingly turning away from on-premise servers in favor of what the cloud offers: lower operational costs, scalability and an enormous marketplace of existing tools developers can use instead of building their own from scratch. The trend is so widespread that research firm Gartner anticipates cloud services and infrastructure will account for over half of enterprise companies’ IT spending by 2025.
That projection suggests ample opportunity for forward-looking engineers and data scientists — and a need for others to join them. According to the team, Pluralsight is ready to support these professionals in learning the tools they’ll need to have successful, interesting careers.
To learn more about how Pluralsight is powering the cloud-first future, Built In connected with Roberts and McGraw. Together, they outlined what it’s like working at a company firmly rooted in the cloud transformation movement, and why there’s never been a better time to join them in this exciting new chapter.
Could you give us some context around the cloud industry today? How has it changed in the last few years?
Senior Software Engineer Eric Roberts: The server farms of my early days are slowly going away for a lot of industries. Yes, I remember sitting in an actual data center to upgrade hardware and migrate systems. Today, a lot of that same knowledge still applies, but now, systems are unified behind one of the cloud providers. The upside to this is that if you change jobs, you no longer have to spend time learning how to interface and interact with your new servers. You can just log into the management console and you already know 90 percent of it. Now, employees have more transferable skills and employers have a larger pool of candidates to look at instead of hoping they can find someone who has worked with their specific data center configuration.
There’s so much more that can be automated now, hopefully making the lives of developers better. What I find interesting is that it doesn’t matter which cloud provider you go with, it’s all the same. The biggest difficulty is learning what each provider calls their “services” and where to find them.
Software Engineering Team Lead Linda McGraw: Cloud technology is the new normal for conducting business today. Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed more and more organizations choose to leverage the cloud for a variety of different reasons.
I like the flexibility that cloud technology provides. You can get a server up and running quickly, have access to your server remotely and can increase or decrease its capacity on the fly. I think simplicity, accessibility and scalability are a few key influencers to the pivot to cloud technology. Furthermore, organizations can utilize platforms such as Pluralsight Cloud Skills to keep technical staff updated on the cloud technology knowledge they need to keep their company running, without a huge investment in training.
What’s exciting about working for Pluralsight now that they’ve joined forces with A Cloud Guru?
Roberts: As somebody who came into Pluralsight with the ACG acquisition, I’m excited about all the knowledge and experience that we can tap into, and the combined reach of our companies. There’s a lot of exciting stuff in the pipeline and I am doing a little happy dance because I know I’m part of it.
Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful during and after the acquisition. It would have been easy for Pluralsighters to keep us at arm’s length, but they haven’t. There’s been a good amount of camaraderie among everybody. It’s been a pleasure to be a Pluralsighter.
McGraw: I get the best of both worlds! Before joining the organization, I had already tried Pluralsight’s platform and was familiar with Pluralsight courses. Now that I’m working for Pluralsight, I’m elated. I love our company’s culture, benefits and the people I get to work with.
Simply put, the culture hasn’t changed much at all since Pluralsight acquired ACG in mid-2021. This is because overall, our values have remained the same. Furthermore, the people make working here enjoyable: You will find kind, friendly and eager to help folks throughout our organization, from top to bottom.
Living Pluralsight’s values
- Seek to learn
- Champion the customer
- Own our outcomes
- Communicate with purpose
- Commit to our future
What is your team working on right now?
McGraw: The Cloud Skills Lab team is currently working on a few game-changing projects that will allow our customers to experience cloud labs in a different way. Essentially, we’re enhancing our customers’ ability to get their employees trained in the world of cloud technology.
Roberts: I currently work on sandboxes for our Hands On Labs. A sandbox is a set of interface components allowing you to interact with a computing environment, such as a terminal or code editor. It allows our customers to explore new skills in a real-world environment without complicated setup dependencies. This advanced, independent practice enables learners to immediately and safely practice skills to ensure retention.
How have you grown as a cloud technologist since joining the company?
McGraw: Since joining Pluralsight, I’ve increased my cloud skillset tremendously, mainly because I’ve worked with AWS on a regular basis, at least weekly if not daily.
As an added bonus, I have access to our platform to use anytime I feel the need to dive into something new or simply refresh some skills. One benefit that’s given to employees is the ability to block out protected learning time twice a month. We can use this time to level up as the industry changes or simply learn something new.
Roberts: I’ve really grown from an “I know who to ask to do it” to an “I can do it” technologist. With all of the scripting and automation that’s available these days, it’s really brought knowledge into my wheelhouse of coding, instead of relying on system administrators to do it for me.
What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in the next year? Why is now a great time to join your team?
Roberts: I’m most looking forward to whatever new technology gets thrown at me.
There’s just so much to do! We have a lot of exciting projects that are both currently in progress and coming up in the near future. If you’re looking to get deeper into cloud technologies, whether it’s to learn more or to broaden your skill set, it’s a perfect time to join and help build the next generation of Hands On Labs.
McGraw: Since I’ve been graced with the opportunity to be the software engineering team lead for the new Lab Experience Team (LET), I’m looking forward to defining the team’s culture, getting to know the engineers on my team, further enhancing the applications that we manage as they relate to user experience, as well as tackling new feature additions assigned to LET.
Most of the engineers on the Lab Teams have been here for several years. Now that we are in the process of expanding our teams, there are opportunities for new software engineers to join. I would encourage any software engineer with ambition who’s interested in learning all things cloud, or who already has skills in cloud, to review our open positions. Our competitive benefits package and chill work environment is sure to please most.