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Networking for Careers in Ed Tech

The right approach to networking is incredibly helpful for building connections in the interdisciplinary, rapidly changing world of Ed Tech.

In this article, we take a closer look at what makes networking unique in Ed Tech and some practical tips for engaging with the Ed Tech community. 

What Makes Networking Unique in Ed Tech?

Just about every professional recognizes that networking is important. The relationships we make along the way are critical to shaping our careers, finding new opportunities, and connecting with like-minded colleagues with shared passions.

But what makes networking in Ed Tech unique? Here are some important factors to consider.

  1. Ed Tech is interdisciplinary. This context creates unique value for building connections with colleagues with different skills, perspectives, and experiences.

  2. Ed Tech brings together colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Networking is important for nurturing a shared understanding and knowledge base between industry professionals that come from everywhere from Wall Street to early education.

  3. Ed Tech is a relatively young industry that lacks the well-trodden career paths associated with longer-standing spaces in the market. Consequently, many Ed Tech companies rely on professional networks to find the right talent.

For all of these reasons, taking the time to proactively develop your Ed Tech network is important for finding your niche, learning about new career opportunities, and expanding your exposure to a multitude of industry perspectives.

Everyone has their own  reasons for working in the Ed Tech industry, but Ed Tech professionals are commonly differentiated by their specific passion for this field. While a robust vertical all its own, Ed Tech is still a comparatively niche industry, and many of its professionals deliberately sought out this unique intersection of technology and socially impactful work. In our experience, this leads to a culture that is eager to encourage those who are interested in following a similar path.

Of course, networking practices and priorities will look very different if you already work in the Ed Tech industry, or you are considering how to transition into Ed Tech. 

Networking While Working in Ed Tech

For professionals already in the Ed Tech industry, a great first step is to proactively ask more experienced colleagues in your own organization for advice and/or mentorship. What would they have done differently in their own careers? What new skills are becoming relevant? Which companies are really taking leadership in the industry?

It is also important to proactively build connections outside of your immediate organization. Participating in LinkedIn groups and professional associations can be a great start. Next, while it requires a bit more planning, traveling to attend some leading industry conferences is a great way to take your networking to the next level. 

A conference can be a great place to make new contacts, share your own organization’s message, demonstrate your passion for the industry, and learn about the latest trends and developments. In many cases, in-conference presentations and training sessions can even provide knowledge with tangible value for your current role. 

Some leading options include:

  2. ASU GSV Summit
  3. ISTE
  4. Ed Tech Week
  5. Educause

Networking to Transition to Ed Tech

Networking is always more challenging when you are new to an industry, and Ed Tech is no exception. That said, Ed Tech professionals are passionate about their work and, in our experience, incredibly welcoming to those who want to learn more about the industry. 

Whether you are a new college graduate or a professional from another industry looking to make a transition, our number one recommendation is to network with a purpose. For example, LinkedIn can be an appropriate place to reach out to professionals in your field, but simply adding random connections is rarely a constructive strategy. 

Instead of “networking for networking’s sake,” leverage techniques like informational interviewing to genuinely engage. Avoid reaching out with messages like:

  • “I want to expand my network in Ed Tech, let me know if you are open to chatting!” 

Instead, try a more purposeful message such as:

  • “I am a software development [student/professional] eager to learn more about where my skills could be most helpful in Ed Tech. If you have some free time, I would love to hear your perspective on the best way to transition into the industry.”
  • “At the top of my list of goals is to reconnect with smart people who I know have navigated through transitions. Might you have 15 minutes to chat?”

If you are considering a career transition and need help getting the lay of the land, start with our guide to understanding the Ed Tech industry.

Where to Find the Best Ed Tech Jobs

If you are interested in finding a new role in the Ed Tech industry, HighFive Partners is here to help.

We invite you to explore the largest dedicated jobs platform for the Ed Tech industry here.

Featuring over 15,000 jobs from 950+ companies, our collection of opportunities features roles for C-suite executives, mid-career professionals, and new college graduates. Even if you aren’t ready for a new position now, keeping up with the latest listings is a great way to explore where the Ed Tech community could most benefit from your talents and experience.