Case study:
Bill Bensing

From hobby to expertise: Pluralsight helps build the skills that build successful careers.

Bill Bensing learned how to code basic HTML in high school. He also learned a bit of PHP and MySQL, but never studied it seriously. It was always a hobby. So when he attended college, he focused on business management. After graduating with a Masters’ Degree in Business, Bill was hired by Fortune 500 aerospace company, where his hobby turned out to be an enormous asset.

In his role as Procurement Analyst, Bill began to notice occasions where technology could help automate minor processes or eliminate tedious work, like repetitive data entry tracked on spreadsheets. However, the IT department was focused on big assignments and massive tech installations. They simply didn’t have time for small projects without a clear large-dollar impact.

That was an opportunity Bill couldn’t walk away from. He told us, “I was looking at this problem and I thought, ‘Hold on a second. What if I create a web application that would save everyone the effort of filling the same data on the spreadsheet 20 times?’ That’s where it all started.”

Pluralsight gets you up to speed on the ideas you need to know.

Bill didn’t have the skills to build the solution, but he knew he could get them. So he signed up for a Pluralsight free trial and began learning and building. Once the free trial ended, he signed up for an account. Over the next three years Bill taught himself C#, ASP.NET, JavaScript, cloud computing and much more. Three years (and several applications) later, Bill was honored to receive a Boeing Technical Excellence Conference (BTEC) Award for a prescriptive analytics app he built.

According to Bill, “Pluralsight allowed me to teach myself skills that I could apply directly to the job I was working. That app was the first big success of my career. And that’s when I asked, ‘What if I could redefine my career as this?’”

The best investment is the one you make in yourself.

Bill used his personal time to learn the skills he needed. “I made time to learn,” he said. “At lunch, I'd spend at least a half an hour watching Pluralsight videos.  I'd spend my weekends doing it, and my nights. I was asking, ‘What cool problem could I solve for the business? And what new technology could I learn to do that?’ A lot of it was just my own time learning. And it became extremely useful and directly impactful on what I was doing.”

Bill’s self-taught skills led to a new opportunity as a Senior Consultant for Software Engineering and Architecture at a St. Louis consulting firm. While there, he took on a big healthcare client. As part of the project he needed to improve his Java, Spring framework and solidify his knowledge of AngularJS.  And he needed to get up to speed in three weeks. Once again, Bill turned to Pluralsight. “We were introducing AngularJS to this client’s division for the first time. Their engineers knew about it, but they hadn’t really implemented it.  So I literally spent three weeks back-to-back in Pluralsight, creating sample programs based upon this architecture we were going to implement. We were able to solidify our grasp of the technology, go to this client three weeks later, and build a new piece of technology.”

Even after years of learning, Pluralsight still delivers value.

Today Bill Bensing is the Senior Manager of Software Architecture at PODS. And he tells us he’s still using Pluralsight to keep his team up to speed. “I use Pluralsight for three big purposes. First, I set the vision for our architecture—new software, methodologies and technology—and my employees go right to Pluralsight to learn it. Second, our existing technologies are still advancing, so I ask them to review the training about how others are applying the technologies we use to get better value out of it. And third, I want them to use Pluralsight to work on their hobbies. I don’t care what it is—DreamWeaver or photography or whatever—go out and learn what you want to learn. We have a requirement of five hours a month. If you have a license, you have to average at least 5 hours a month to maintain it.”

In fact, Pluralsight has played such a significant part in Bill’s career path that he recommends it to the startups he mentors. “This is one of the things I tell them—get yourself with Pluralsight right off the bat. Just pay the $30 a month. It’s well worth the investment.”

Bill’s advice to startups, is good advice for anyone: investing in yourself will always be worthwhile.

Empower the people who power your business.