Pluralsight Live 2019

Pluralsight attendees, which came from 20 countries, await the first day of the Pluralsight Live 2019 conference Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. 

This year’s third annual Pluralsight conference, Pluralsight Live, kicked off in Salt Lake City with some word from the company’s chief marketing officer, Heather Zcynzak. The theme of the week, Zcynzak said, is people who defied boundaries by mastering skills. After all, developing skills, specifically technology skills, is what Pluralsight is all about.

Keynote speakers chosen to demonstrate the theme included professional adventure rock climber Alex Honnold, comedian and political commentator Trevor Noah, and Ellen DeGeneres. Other celebrity guests include Adam Savage, the co-host of “Mythbusters,” and of course speakers from other tech giants such as Microsoft and Google, both companies that have partnerships with Pluralsight.

In keeping with the theme of skill development, the first two days of the conference held several breakout sessions, many of which centered around educating attendees on topics like bitcoin and moving businesses to the cloud. Of course, being a Pluralsight conference, many breakout sessions were also devoted to how different companies and people use Pluralsight, or could use Pluralsight.

Another notable topic of the conference’s first two days was diversity and inclusion. Zcynzak, in her opening remarks Tuesday morning, said Pluralsight had achieved its goal of equal representation among men and women when it came to their speakers.

“I am proud to say that we have achieved our goal of 50% gender parity in speakers at Pluralsight Live,” she said.

A final highlight running throughout the conference was Pluralsight’s charitable arm, Pluralsight One. Some speakers and even entire breakout sessions were dedicated to what people were able to accomplish with the help of Pluralsight One, including Malala Fund Gulmakai Champion and co-founder of Orenda Welfare Trust, Haroon Yasin. Yasin digitized the national educational curriculum of Pakistan, which has the second highest number of girls outside of school, and developed a mobile and web application that helps out-of-school students resume their studies.

Yasin said Pluralsight One was “critical” in digitizing the curriculum and bringing education to more girls in Pakistan; currently he estimates 100,000 children have been impacted, with the goal of reaching one million children.

“We don’t just want to get to one million children ... we want to reach that 1 million in a very impactful way,” Yasin said. “We need all the expertise that is on hand,” he added, indicating the Pluralsight community is necessary for achieving that goal.

In step with discussing Pluralsight One, Pluralsight co-founder and CEO Aaron Skonnard announced Wednesday a new Pluralsight One partnership with Year Up, a nonprofit organization that enables motivated young adults between the ages of 18-24 to move into meaningful careers by providing them with skills, experience and support during a one-year program that includes corporate internships at more than 250 companies.

Executive Director of Year Up New York, John Galante, said over 70% of graduates from the program land full-time jobs.

“The partnership (with Pluralsight) couldn’t be more important to us,” Galante said Wednesday, after the announcement.

Year Up participants will be able to access Pluralsight One resources to develop technology skills needed to thrive in their internships and full-time jobs. The $12.3 million three-year product grant includes tech strategy development and access to 6,500 licenses to the Pluralsight platform for staff, students and alumni in year one; with an additional 4,500 licenses each in years two and three to support annual youth cohorts. In addition, Pluralsight One is supplementing the product-based investment with $100,000 in funding in 2019 to support Year Up’s tech strategy and development, according to a press release.

“We are truly committed to our mission to democratize tech skills. We’re committed to increasing access and opportunity,” Skonnard said Wednesday morning, after the announcement. “You can count on us to do good with the resources you trust us with.”

Other big announcements Skonnard made Wednesday morning weren’t connected with Pluralsight’s charitable arm, but still connected to their “democratize tech skills” goal, with two more partnerships announced, along with a new product, and the rebranding of the company’s original product.

After acquiring GitPrime earlier this year, Skonnard on Wednesday announced Pluralsight’s official integration with GitPrime and expanded skill offerings for Cloud, AI, data and security. Pluralsight has newly named its core product of skill development Pluralsight Skills, which has been integrated with GitPrime, and Pluralsight Flow, the new product of GitPrime’s suite of solutions.

Pluralsight Flow provides software engineering leaders with advanced analytics and a data-driven view into their software development flow so they can better improve their processes. Flow and Skills are meant to work together, Skonnard said, with the first integration of Flow into skills being language analytics, which allows tech leaders to have more visibility into how their teams work.

Tiffany Lyons, a software engineering manager with Modernizing Medicine, said GitPrime has been a “lifesaver,” acting almost as her personal assistant in enabling her to be a better tech leader.

“It’s really helped me streamline my workflow and have a lot of efficiencies gained,” Lyons said Wednesday.

Skonnard’s third announcement Wednesday was a partnership with Google Cloud, in conjunction with the release of a new cloud skill development initiative for Pluralsight customers, and the launch of a Skill IQ assessment for associate cloud engineers on Google Cloud Platform.

“This is the year that Pluralsight became a multi-product company,” Skonnard said.

The Pluralsight Live 2019 conference continues today at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City with Ellen DeGeneres as the final speaker for the event. To learn more about Pluralsight and their new offerings, visit the company website.