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Continuous Learning and Professional Development for Careers in Ed Tech

The Ed Tech industry is relatively young, growing fast, and in a state of constant change. With its focus on lifelong education, it is also a space that puts a unique premium on personal growth, continuous learning, and skill building.

In this blog, I wanted to share a few thoughts on effective professional development practices in Ed Tech. Keep reading to find some recommended resources and tips for keeping up in this incredibly dynamic space.

Continuous Learning and Professional Development Can Help You Thrive in Your Current Role—And Your Next One

At its core, professional development is all about “cracking the nut” in your current position and finding new ways to solve business challenges in ways that create lasting value for the business.

Beyond your immediate position, I also think it’s crucial to “think big” about professional development. In addition to keeping up with the latest developments in your specialty area (both in Ed Tech and adjacent industries), I recommend devoting some time to reading about general industry trends and developments. Keeping up with the latest news and priorities in Ed Tech is important for not just staying on top of your current job requirements, but understanding where your career might go next. 

Recommended Resources for Continuous Learning in the Ed Tech Industry

The resources below are some of my favorite choices for keeping pace with Ed Tech industry news. They include industry publications, broader publications that often feature Ed Tech-related topics, and a few individual thought leaders.

Ed Tech Publications

  1. EducationWeek
  2. Ed Tech Magazine
  3. T.H.E. (Technical Horizons in Education) Journal
  4. EdTech Digest
  5. eSchool News

General Education Publications

  1. The Chronicle of Higher Education
  2. K12 Dive
  3. Education Week
  4. Campus Technology Magazine
  5. The 74 Million

Newsletters and Individual Thought Leaders

  1. GSV N2K Newsletter
  2. The Hechinger Report
  3. Josh Bersin
  4. The Gap Letter from Achieve Partners
  5. Gates Notes
  6. Dash Media GSV Big 10 Newsletter

Four Tips for Professional Development in Ed Tech

1. Network to Learn and Grow

Professionals sometimes treat “networking” and “professional development” as separate tools for career development, but they could not be more closely intertwined. There is no better way to learn about the latest industry developments than from knowledgeable peers, and there is no better way to network than genuinely communicating with peers about urgent challenges. 

For a deeper look at how to leverage networking in your Ed Tech journey, read our guide to Networking for Careers in Ed Tech. 

2. Interview for Information (and Jobs)

You don’t need to apply for a job to interview! A natural extension of the first tip, interviewing for information is a great way to connect with peers (both within Ed Tech and other industries). For those unfamiliar, this refers to a structured conversation designed to help a professional learn more about a given industry, company, and focus area. Eliminating the evaluation aspect of job interviews can make for a much more natural, easygoing conversation. And keeping your interview muscles trained is a great way to be ready when your dream job does come along (learn more in our Ed Tech interview tips).

3. Follow Thought Leaders Inside and Outside Your Niche

Whether it's following a thought leader on LinkedIn, reading their blog, or setting a Google news alert, systematically following the true thought leaders in your space is indispensable for understanding how the industry is shifting. This information may be helpful for general continuous learning while also providing useful insights for your career: what job functions are shifting or being consolidated? What new job functions are emerging and what skills do they require? 

4. Keep Track of the Industry’s Evolving Needs

By following thought leaders, keeping up with industry publications, and even browsing job listings, you can keep your ear to the ground and learn what companies need most. If your skillset is in hot demand, now may be an ideal team to seek a promotion (with your current employer, or a new one) or negotiate a pay raise. If you see signs that your specialty area is in less demand, now might be a great time to invest in developing some targeted new skills.

Finding your niche in Ed Tech  can be a huge boost to your long-term career, and a nuanced understanding of industry needs is the best way to learn how your niche fits into the broader competitive landscape of the industry.

Learn More About Building Your Ed Tech Career

At its core, the Ed Tech industry is all about enabling growth from “cradle to gray,” and in my experience, professionals will be rewarded for living these same values in their own careers. 

Taking the time to truly engage with the industry can directly enhance your value to Ed Tech companies, provide insight into the best moves for your own career, and ultimately shed a light on how to most effectively align your personal development priorities with the industry’s long-term needs.

Ready to learn more about building a career in Ed Tech? Get started with our guide to understanding Ed Tech.