Traditionally, the path towards an illustrious career has always been clear. You go to college, get great grades, and then get a great job in a big corporation. Fortunately, we live in a fast-changing world today where even those who don’t fit this mold have the chance to do great things. Mike Pfeiffer is proof of that.
Mike is the founder of CloudSkills.io, a company that educates and advises individuals and teams on their Cloud &DevOps engineering journey. The company does this through blended learning experiences, coaching, consulting, advisory services, and custom workshops.
Mike’s journey in the tech industry began with failing college. Growing up, Mike was a jock with little technical skills. He played football through high school and was the first player to be named an All-American on both offense and defense.
Within the first year of college though Mike knew he didn’t really like football. He was just playing it to impress his dad, girls, and his friends. He was also flunking his classes because he didn’t like college either. The remaining option was dropping out of college and looking for something else to do.
In 1999, Mike began his career in tech. Despite being a college dropout, he landed a job as a tech support rep on a help desk. From his years playing football, he’d developed skills rarely highlighted in tech and he applied them in his new job. He knew how to be a leader, how to be accountable, and how to be a team player.
Years earlier, Mike’s grandfather had also worked in tech. Because the two had a great relationship when Mike was growing up, he got to see someone up close develop skills that were valuable in the workplace. By applying the same process, Mike worked his way to the top by doing every IT position that there was.
Since he didn’t have a computer science degree, Mike had to hustle and outwork everyone around him to climb the corporate ladder. He has worked in the industry for 20+ years and most recently worked as an engineer and cloud architect for Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.
Mike feels that the college system let him down in a big way and it’s still doing the same to other students. As a result, He has made it his mission to help them discover opportunities in the tech space. Mike is always sharing valuable insights into the current state and future of tech.
Mike is the author of six books and the creator of 35+ online courses aimed at helping people build skills they need to work in tech without earning a degree. He is also the voice of over 120 podcast episodes. Every week, he publishes a new podcast episode on CloudSkills.fm providing technical tips and career advice for people working with cloud-native technologies. So far, Mike has had the privilege of training 500,000+ students on topics covering Azure, AWS, DevOps, Kubernetes, and Web Development. He has also spoken in many countries all over the world.
In the coming years, Mike wants to do more towards influencing the next generation of tech and cloud professionals. He says, “I see myself and our company redefining how people learn and upskill to build their careers in the tech industry – we’ll be known for injecting the most effective engineers into the job market. We’ll also be known for helping people land high-paying jobs eclipsing the $100k/yr salary range.”