By Kalpesh Banker
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted almost every sector. While in many sectors there has been a halt or slowing down in recruitment activities, many companies in edtech (education technology) are on a hiring spree—they are onboarding talent to stay ahead in the field.
The edtech sector has hit the hockey stick curve during the pandemic. E-learning and online education, a necessity during the lockdown, has helped the sector boom. It has attracted new consumers, traffic and much more engagement than earlier. Additionally, edtech has gone beyond metro cities, and is attracting a huge user base from smaller towns and villages.
According to a recent research report, in H1-2020 funding in the edtech sector has skyrocketed, with $714 million across 46 deals over $158 million across 20 deals in H1-2019. With 4.5x growth, edtech was India’s second-most funded sector in H1-2020 after fintech and financial services.
Job roles in demand
Three key functions are in high demand: technology, marketing & sales and content & pedagogy.
Technology: Edtech firms are scaling up fast. This has made technology one of the most sought-after careers in the industry. Entrepreneurs are using advanced technologies in different aspects to be competitive and deliver the best user experience.
Covid-19 has had varying effects on the sector. There is a big jump in the hiring of technical architects who can design a scalable online platform. Technical architects are senior-level software engineering professionals and typically have 10-plus years of experience. Software engineers are in demand to make the platforms robust and implement more technical features. Companies are considering 2-5 years of experience software developers for such roles. There is also a sharp rise in the hiring of artificial intelligence and immersive technology experts.
Marketing & sales: Edtech firms have been dedicating resources towards creating brand awareness. As per estimates by the BARC-Nielsen report, there has been a 128% growth in the digital ad spends by edtech apps during the lockdown.
Understanding the learner’s needs and converting these into business products is a key focus area for edtech firms. They are hiring product managers to understand the market need and create a revolutionary online product.
Generally, these roles carry end-to-end business responsibility and manage P&L for the product. Companies prefer to hire MBAs with an engineering background, and depending on seniority level, 2-10 years of experience is desired for product management roles.
As e-learning companies are native online companies, they focus more on generating leads online and converting these over calls and emails. To boost their sales during the pandemic, edtech companies have built a strong inside sales team that will benefit them even after the pandemic.
Content & pedagogy: Edtech firms focus on exclusivity when it comes to sharing content for online courses and channels. This has led to an increased demand for influential faculty in different areas. While some e-learning companies did stick to formal professors and teachers, many of them collaborated with industry professionals to teach on their platforms.
Edtech firms that offer programmes of premier universities and institutions have hired institutional alliances professionals. This offers opportunities to build alliances with universities for offering joint programmes on their platforms. To fill up such roles, B2B sales professionals with a strong understanding of the education ecosystem and 10-plus years of experience are in demand.
The pandemic has triggered the sector to aggressively look for talent that can help it create a revolutionary product and presence. While there are layoffs in some sectors, edtech has absorbed and is still hiring a mix of talent—many of them from other sectors.
The author is managing partner, EduShine, an education strategy consulting firm. Views are personal