Blog articles

Lessons learned as over a million technologists unite to stay home and skill up

By Aaron Skonnard    |    May 05, 2020

It has been a remarkable month at Pluralsight. As we began April, we were staring down a global crisis the likes of which none in our generation have ever seen. We wanted to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19, so we opened up the entire Pluralsight platform for free - offering the opportunity for technology learners around the world to stay home and skill up. 

And skill up is exactly what they did. The response to Free April has been nothing short of incredible. More than a million people around the world took advantage of the offer throughout the month of April, signing up and beginning their personal upskilling journey. 

Once on the platform, we have seen users around the globe dedicate significant time to building the in-demand skills of tomorrow. Since the COVID-19 crisis started impacting us in the United States, we have seen a dramatic increase in user demand on the Pluralsight platform. The average time spent on our platform was three times higher than normal. 

As a sign of our learners’ commitment to upskilling, we also saw a dramatic rise in Skill IQs, with more than three times the typical number of assessments completed during the month of April. These assessments gave learners a benchmark against their peers around the world, which they could use to measure their skills and track and show improvement over time.  

And the increased usage of our platform doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. We saw technology professionals building skills in everything from programming languages to data science to cybersecurity and beyond. The most popular topics studied on our platform throughout April reflected the technology skills across the board that are in high demand. The top topics were as follows: 


  • Software Development

  • IT Ops

  • Data Professional

  • Security Professional


In terms of individual courses, we saw top software development languages and frameworks such as Python, Javascript, C#, Angular, and React, we saw tremendous growth in popularity for courses on data science, security, and cloud computing. 

We also saw a number of our existing enterprise customers encourage their entire employee population to take advantage of our Free April offering and stay home and skill up. Additionally, nearly 50 companies hosted events during Tech Skills Day, our annual virtual event on upskilling that featured some of the biggest names in tech, encouraging their employees to get engaged on the platform and skill up. The event had more than 1.6 million views across multiple platforms.   

It was exciting to watch so many technologists roll up their sleeves and learn new skills. However, the thing we’re most proud of is the personal impact that we have seen in the lives of many of our users. As we watched users skill up and grow, we heard countless individuals describe how their journey to upskilling was giving them hope in an uncertain time. I’d like to highlight just a few of their comments:

We learned a lot during Free April - most notably that there is a strong appetite to learn new things and improve one’s skills. As a result, we have decided to continue to offer a portion of our course library free to anyone, featuring some of the most exciting and need-to-know technologies. The new Free Access segment of Pluralsight comprises 50 courses that are available anytime, along with five additional courses that will rotate on a weekly basis. You can find more details about this limited free offering here.

For those who want to continue using our platform to improve your skills, I encourage you to continue the journey you started. 

Thank you to the many people who joined us over the past month to take advantage of our Free April offering. As we move toward overcoming the devastation caused by COVID-19, it is my hope that we can all take these new skills and work to build a better future for our businesses and communities. 

About the author

Aaron Skonnard is the CEO of Pluralsight (NASDAQ: PS), a fast-growing enterprise technology learning platform. Aaron cofounded Pluralsight in 2004 and has since grown the company to more than 1,000 employees and 1,500 expert authors. As CEO, Aaron focuses on business strategy, future direction, product development and strategic partnerships. On a day-to-day basis, he works closely with the entire executive team in different capacities, including recruiting, brand management, marketing, sales, feature planning and content acquisition.