A Career in EdTech – the different roles and how to get your foot in the door

Have you considered a career in EdTech? Ever wanted to find out more about what it might entail? We have spoken to some fantastic professionals within the industry who have kindly given us some insight into their roles, how they got there and what advice they would give to those looking to get in!

Hear below from Fiona Smith, Product Manager at Maths – No Problem! and Rhiannon De Meulemeester, Editor at Digital Theatre.

What has your route into EdTech looked like?

Fiona: “I haven't taken the straightest route to EdTech. In publishing, people tend to find a niche and stick to it, but I say get a taste of everything! I've worked in education and ELT in editorial roles, in high-stakes assessment, and project management both in and out of publishing. What has been the common factor across all these positions is the creeping importance of digital. That's meant that I've been involved in projects from inception, and been able to learn - almost accidentally - how that development needs to happen. I think that having experience in print has been invaluable as a foundation for my evolution into EdTech.”

Rhiannon: “It started with an interest in media while also enjoying English and literature. I did my undergraduate degree in English and Media and then my masters in Media and Communication. I then worked as a copy-editor on an exam board before moving into the Editor role at Digital Theatre which is a perfect blend of digital media and education.”

 

What does your role entail?

Fiona: “There's a real variety day-to-day. I get involved in everything from proofreading web copy to planning wireframes, mapping user flows to deciding how many artworks should be used. Edtech isn't just about the technology; equal importance needs to be given to the pedagogy working with the technology. I'm really lucky at Maths - No Problem! to be working in a team that has expertise in both those areas.”

Rhiannon: “I am mainly responsible for publishing written content on the education platform, this means taking it from the handover stage in commissioning through the editing process, to formatting, and ensuring it is finalised and in the best shape possible for publication.  I also work closely with the rest of the publishing team to undertake different ad-hoc platform tasks and prepare audiovisual content and metadata for publication using our content management system. I maintain relationships with a bank of freelance editors and oversee the workflow that comes in, dealing with briefs, feedback, and subsequent planning.”

 

What were the key skills and experience that helped make you a fit for this role?

Fiona: “Having experience from an editorial perspective has been really helpful in moving to product. Having been exposed to some really exciting digital products in the past, seeing how they work and the process of getting them to market definitely helps when thinking about developing something from scratch. The key skills are more traits really - it's important to be able to work in an agile way and roll with the punches, because things happen much faster in digital than print. That can be a tough transition!”

Rhiannon: “I think being able to dip into several different areas is a key part of my role so the fact that I can multitask is a really valuable skill. Having a blend of academic, artistic and digital experience is definitely a useful asset for my position and the ability to be creative yet structured is fundamental to working in an arts-based learning environment.”

 

What do you most enjoy about your role and working in EdTech?

Fiona: “I love the hustle and bustle, taking something that was a spreadsheet and seeing it turn into a screen, how fast everything is! It's also exciting to work with such a knowledgeable team and to feel every day that I'm learning from them. The best part, however, is working on a product that I know will make a difference to primary-age children and will set them up for life, and knowing that we're making something futureproof.”

Rhiannon: “I really value the diversity of my everyday role and what I can contribute to strengthening education in the arts. EdTech is a constantly evolving industry which as we have seen this past year, is becoming increasingly important. Ensuring that our resources are perceivable and operable by all students is what I am most proud of as we are working to make arts education accessible to everyone.”

 

Tell me three top tips for those looking to get a job in EdTech?

Fiona:

  • “Learn the basics. I spent time completing and editing metadata spreadsheets - it's a fundamental building block even though it's not very exciting.
  • Don't be put off by 'traditional' publishing. There are so many opportunities and learning about pedagogy, editing, all these things, are experiences that will enhance your EdTech skillset.
  • Don't be scared of trying out different things. I have colleagues who've worked outside of education and have used those skills joining an EdTech company. Bringing in knowledge from different sectors is invaluable.”

Rhiannon:

  • “Always have the consumer in mind. EdTech is such a varied industry that with each project the power is in the detail and demonstrating that you can see the deliverable from the other perspective is a really desirable skill.
  • Make it clear that you understand education is a constantly changing business, being able to adapt to different priorities is important.
  • EdTech is a niche career path, I really recommend working with a recruitment agency that specialises in this industry. Professional advice will help in finding a role that matches your interests and career goals with your skills and experience.”

There is some great advice there! If you are feeling inspired and looking to transfer your classroom teaching or educational publishing experience into EdTech do get in touch with Rhiannon or Verity at Inspired Selection – r.griffiths@inspiredselection.com / v.hawson@inspiredselection.com