Academic certifications are good things to have. However, not having a degree should not be the reason one doesn’t have a wonderful career. For those interested in tech, Mike Pfeiffer’s journey should serve as motivation to begin their exploration. Even better, Mike is always sharing actionable wisdom people can apply to further their careers.
Mike is the founder of CloudSkills.io, a company that educates and advises individuals and teams on their cloud and DevOps engineering journey. The team at CloudSkills.io does this through blended learning experiences, coaching, consulting, advisory services, and custom workshops.
Growing up, Mike couldn’t have imagined he’d make a career in the tech space. He was a typical football jock until he got to college. Within a few months of college, he realized that he had been playing football for all the wrong reasons. He had never liked it, but he wanted to impress his dad, girls, and friends.
As a result, he lost his passion for the game and dropped out of college because he was flunking his classes. Despite being a dropout, Mike got a job as a tech support rep on a help desk soon after. With the skills he’d learned from playing football, he made his way up to the top over time by working in every IT position there was.
For the past 20+ years, Mike has gained a lot of experience from the different positions he has held. Most recently, he has worked as an engineer and cloud architect for Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. Mike is also the author of 6 books and the creator of 35 online courses.
After many years in the industry, Mike says that the tech world needs more young talent. However, the traditional college route may not be of much help in the modern era. Most colleges profit off students without providing them with an equal exchange, so they must learn independently. The space is dynamic, and students must be proactive in their learning.
Regardless of the grades one gets, Mike says there are opportunities for all types of people and personalities. Because he felt that college failed him, he wants to help others who don’t get good grades realize that a fulfilling and high-paying career in tech is still possible.
Every week, Mike publishes a new podcast on CloudSkills.fm, providing technical tips and career advice for people working with cloud-native technologies. So far, he has hosted over 130 podcast episodes. Through his online courses, he has also trained over 500,000 students on topics covering Azure, AWS, DevOps, Kubernetes, and Web Development.
Mike teaches both the technical and non-technical aspects of the tech space are important. The non-technical aspects include taking ownership of one’s career and career strategy. Soft skills like communication, productivity, habits, mindset, being a team player, and personal branding are also included.
Innovation is also important in the tech space, as Mike has found out in his work. He says, “Bad company culture has always slowed down my ability to innovate, except for when I was working for big tech (especially AMZN). I’m still working to overcome this, and it will be a big part of my brand marketing going forward.”
Mike wants to continue making a fulfilling difference in the lives of the next generation of tech and cloud professionals. Just as he has done in the past, he wants to visit and speak in more countries all over the world.