The Positive Side of 2020: People — and Their Tech Skills — Are Everyone’s Priority

I am starting to write this while reading my message last year, and it definitely feels a bit weird considering what 2020 turned out to be for all of us.

It’s been a very strange year for all of us — Cloud Academy customers, colleagues, and friends have been impacted in different ways. 

And yet, you don’t need another message like this telling you how hard it has been. So I’m going to focus on the positive aspects of the year and how much better the future will be.

At Cloud Academy we feel very lucky — 2020 has been a year of tremendous growth for us, and it’s all because of our customers and our team. To them, I want to say my most sincere thank you. 

In 2020, people and their skills became the priority for everyone

You can’t build a global company without being overly positive, and that’s our spirit as we go into 2021. The last few months accelerated the digital transformation process for millions of companies worldwide, making it easier for everyone involved — from investors to leadership to employees — to understand that cloud and software are the future of every business. The future of work is distributed, 2020 definitely confirmed this once and for all, and that’s fantastic news for all of us. It’s a revolution that was tucked inside of a larger one, and it’s meaningful because companies and people worldwide will now have 10x the opportunities they had before.

But this is not just about companies, this is first and foremost about people. Almost all our customers, in the US, Europe, or APAC, recognize that their people are what’s needed to build their digital future. And they want their people to have the skills they need to help build that future, so we have worked with them to define large upskilling plans for the coming years. People + Tech Skills are at the core of any organization that needs to innovate with software and cloud, and nothing shows you how important that is like looking at the results that some of our customers achieved in 2020. 

From AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform to Python and microservices, companies are investing more and more to upskill and develop their people for the long term. These technologies are here to stay and CIOs, CTOs, and VPs in tech departments recognize how much of a priority that is. 

Cloud Academy is a global business, and we have thousands of people using it every day in 110+ countries worldwide. Our customers are large enterprises but also professionals or students learning technology, software development, and cloud computing for the first time. We talked to many of them this year and we have been impressed by their achievements. You should listen to them yourself!

What Cloud Academy built in 2020

In short, we kept building the Operating System for Tech Skills, a vision we have been working on for almost 10 years. We accelerated our product, building more and better software both for our enterprise and personal customers. We believe in combining software and content to make our platform unique. That’s why we doubled down on very critical pieces of our solution that allow Fortune 500 companies to manage their tech talents at scale, no matter the number of countries, time zones, and skills they need to assess and constantly develop.

We believe that companies worldwide need to have a solution to constantly develop their tech talent, and Cloud Academy wants to be a partner in that effort. In almost 10 years we also learned how difficult it can be to help people get new skills, follow a career path, and improve themselves in large and complex organizations. You need amazing and innovative software to coordinate at scale and make the experience interactive for everyone inside the organization. You need solid enterprise software to align everyone on the what and why at all levels. And of course, your content needs to be high quality and always built with the idea of enabling people to build.

As I reflect on what our team built this year, my favorite releases are definitely all the features we added to our Training Plan software component, a core component of Cloud Academy that is now able to really manage cloud training at scale for tens of thousands of people in an organization. Our Content Engine is now the way our customers make their plans truly unique for their people, and here we introduced a few important features like support for SCORM courses and the ability to fully customize our hands-on labs for your environment. 

And last but not least, my co-founder Giacomo and his team have been busy bringing our hands-on labs technology to new heights: from labs challenges to playgrounds to…I can’t say yet, but another big release is coming and it’s about learning together 😃. A lot of companies claim to have similar technology, but we invented hands-on labs in 2013 when the only option was Qwiklabs (now owned by Google), and we have been adding proprietary features month-over-month for seven years.

Our training library is getting bigger, too. In 2020 we produced about 500,000 seconds of new content, or 87% more than in 2019. And if we talk about specific areas, we released 62 new learning paths (each one has 30+ hours of content, 5+ labs, and 100+ questions), 170 new hands-on labs (full labs, with thousands of labs steps), and a few tens of thousands of new questions and quizzes in our platform. As our VP of Content, Andrew Larkin, said as he presented it to us, “Netflix released 120 new feature-length films in 2020. Cloud Academy’s production team produced the equivalent of 106 feature films in 2020!”

Most importantly, we released a lot of new content for Software Development and Data as we accelerate on our vision of helping our customers across three major pillars: Cloud/DevOps, Software, and Data

Our Content Roadmap is updated in real time and will show what’s next and what just went live…even yesterday!

2021 and beyond

We have many new projects and features that really keep all of us up at night, but the most important goal is making our customers even more successful by partnering with them to keep developing their people. 

We succeed when they succeed, as we like to say, and everything that we do goes in that direction.

A special thank you goes to my team, a group of amazing people in eight nations and on four continents worldwide that pour their heart into this every single day. They truly are our biggest success.

-Stefano Bellasio, CEO and co-founder of Cloud Academy

P.S. Here’s a good memory from 2020 to share: Giacomo and me while taking photos for a nice internal video at Cloud Academy describing what Cloud Academy is for us. 

Giacomo at Cloud Academy Stefano at Cloud Academy


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