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Working in Ed Tech: How to Identify Your Niche and Build Relevant Skills

Finding the right niche is the best way to set the stage for long-term success in Ed Tech.

In this article, we walk through some practical tips for finding a niche that leverages your skills, aligns with your personal goals, and ultimately sets the stage for a rewarding career.

Why Niches are Critical for Careers in Ed Tech

Different educational settings, demographics, and market segments have unique challenges,  and the Ed Tech industry is working to answer the call with a huge variety of solutions. The Ed Tech industry is incredibly diverse in terms of:

  • Professional background: Ed Tech organizations include professionals with past backgrounds as teachers, Silicon Valley startup founders, finance industry programmers, and many many more.
  • Target markets: Ed Tech markets range from “zero to gray” (all the way from early childhood education to continuing education for seniors), and these different markets demand very different approaches for sales, marketing, product development, and more.
  • Products and services: Some Ed Tech companies are effectively focused on software development, while others are intimately involved with ground-level operations at schools and other educational institutions.

This diversity provides an incredible array of choices for Ed Tech professionals, and it is one of many great reasons to pursue a career in this exciting industry. But with so many different types of companies and roles available, it can also feel incredibly challenging to pinpoint an ideal career niche.

How to Find Your Niche in the Ed Tech Industry

Everyone’s career priorities are different, and it is possible to define your niche based on either skills (“I want to leverage my mastery of product development to support education software”) or specific focus areas (“My mission is to work for companies that develop solutions for neurodivergent students”). 

A few proactive steps can help you find the right niche for your own skills, goals, and career priorities.

  1. Take the time to understand Ed Tech. Educate yourself on the industry landscape, the flow of investment, and the different products and services marketed by Ed Tech companies. This industry is truly unique, and you may identify niches that you didn’t even know existed!

  2. Define why you want to work in Ed Tech and prioritize your professional goals. Whether you are looking to make an impact, work on a particular issue, or find a remote position, Ed Tech offers many possibilities. Doing this planning upfront can help narrow your focus to the companies that are best aligned with your career goals.

  3. Assess your career skills‒past and future. Your current career skills provide a foundation for understanding where you can provide exceptional value to Ed Tech organizations. At the same time, the culture of Ed Tech encourages professional development, and this industry can be a fantastic place to learn new skills, pivot into new areas of business, and develop a more holistic skillset over time. Work to identify a niche that rewards your current skills while providing opportunities to grow in the areas that matter most to you.

5 Tips for Targeting and Nurturing the Right Skills for Ed Tech

As we discussed above, understanding and leveraging your skillset is important for finding a niche that can lead to a long and rewarding career.

  1. Don’t ignore valuable skills that you already have. The Ed Tech industry has a valued place for a wide range of skills, from financial management to curriculum design. While it can be easy to focus on Ed Tech-specific skills, the industry has a robust need for professionals in finance, marketing, sales, programming, product development, management, and many more. Even if you plan to pivot to a new area of focus over the long term, your current skills will provide a valuable launching pad.
  2. Leverage job listings as career roadmaps. Not sure what skills would be required for your dream job in Ed Tech? Job postings are a great place to start. If you aren't qualified for a given position just yet, use the skills and experiences it requires as a concrete goalpost for targeting your next career move.

    Because they provide invaluable context on how different skills and backgrounds are valued in the Ed Tech industry, keeping up with job listings can be a useful habit even when you aren’t planning on a near-term career move.Our industry-specific jobs platform is a great place to start.
  3. Keep pace with emerging trends. Ed Tech evolves at an incredible pace, and new developments can quickly shift the industry’s emphasis on given skill sets. Today, for example, Ed Tech companies are eager for candidates with any AI-related experience. While not every industry trend will be so high-profile, keeping up with industry publications is a great way to understand where Ed Tech is headed next.
  4. Develop your network and seek feedback. Building a professional network is crucial for skill building in Ed Tech because it can provide access to ground-level knowledge of industry needs, collaborative skill-building opportunities, and feedback on your current mix of skills.

    What’s the best way to build your network in Ed Tech? Learn more in our guide here.
  5. Focus on opportunities for professional development. In Ed Tech, prioritizing professional development opportunities is important for staying competitive and evolving alongside the industry. Workshops, conferences, online courses, and other resources can not only enhance skills but also provide networking opportunities.

Interested in tips on Ed Tech professional development? We recommend some resources in our guide here.

Learn More About Working in Ed Tech

By understanding the diverse landscape of Ed Tech, defining your career goals, and assessing your skills, you can pinpoint a niche that aligns with your passions and expertise--one of the best ways to shape a highly rewarding career.

Whether you are a new college graduate just exploring your options or an experienced professional, Ed Tech offers options for taking your career to the next level.

Ready to learn more? Get started with our comprehensive guide to understanding Ed Tech.