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Chad Quinlan’s uncommon cloud engineer career path

Published: August 10, 2022


Chad Quinlan is a lifelong learner. Remarkably, he’s also been able to move up the tech ladder without traditional or formal education—all the way to his current role as the Senior Cloud Engineer at Avilamb. Upskilling with ACG and Pluralsight Skills has been a crucial part of Chad’s journey to career success. 


Early learning

It all started when Chad was five or six years old. His dad started bringing home old office computers for Chad to tinker with. “I pulled them apart, put them back together to see what would work, figured out how they broke,” he explains. “Eventually, I decided I want to do this with the big dogs.”

Chad’s career officially started at 17 when he worked a high-school internship at the help desk for an engineering firm. His work ethic and passion for learning helped him move up the ranks. Before long, he realized he wanted to become a systems administrator, which meant he would have to learn some new skills. 

Undaunted, Chad dove right into learning how to script in Windows Server and eventually found a systems administrator position. Chad stayed in the role for several years until massive layoffs hit his company. By that point, he’d picked up a lot of infrastructure experience with Linux and AWS Cloud, so the company recruited him for a DevOps position.

The new DevOps role was a major challenge, even with the skills he’d gained as a systems administrator. A lot of the difficulty came from feeling like there was no well-defined route for success in the role. He was in the deep end with DevOps, and he found himself in need of a learning path. This was pre-cloud boom, so it was very difficult to find the kind of cloud sandbox environment he was looking for. That’s where ACG and Skills came in…


Upskilling without school

Over time, Chad explored his options for online cloud learning. Why did he decide on ACG and Skills? For one, the community: “The instructors were invested in the students.” He often enjoyed simply hopping on Slack or Discord to chat with course authors about tech skills or something else entirely. “It’s fun to hear firsthand what’s going on,” he explains. “That was one thing that really kept me around.” Another big factor was the highly structured learning paths: “The constant guidance . . . gave me some clarity on what I need to learn if I want to become a guru.”