At Ease With Edtech

(The Hindu, July 31) With the rising popularity in smart teaching and learning, edtech is fast emerging as a lucrative career.

Get smart: A virtual class in progress. Photo: V. Srinivasa Murthy

Drifting away slowly from the chalk-and-board education and taking baby-steps towards internet-based smart teaching and learning, private education in India has given birth to a number of edtech startups during the last six or seven years. While some began with e-tutoring before moving on to smart classes, others have graduated to cloud computing today, thus creating a revolution.

These companies are always on the lookout for bright, computer-savvy youngsters raring to make a mark in this unique education-technology sector which, of late, has opened attractive job avenues. Some bright edupreneurs with management and engineering backgrounds have already taken a plunge in Edtech and carved a niche for themselves.

With smart education in and edtech becoming a buzzword today, developing, managing and using technology for better education has become a passion and vocation for many, in the country. Jobs in edtech are aplenty and up for grabs, with the promise of great remuneration.

Wide scope

A majority of the edtech startups consist of faculty pool, online education material and technology, working in unison. Most of them cater to different sections of the student community, ranging from school goers to working professionals and budding entrepreneurs. While there is some focus on tuition for school goers, some help in cracking entrance tests, and a few others focus on providing professional certification courses. The Indian education system has come a long way from classroom education to redefining the way children are taught, and these edtech startups are responsible for this revolution.

Books cannot be updated too fast but these startups can push updates on an app and this can be distributed to millions at no extra cost. This makes edtech one of the most exciting sectors in the Indian consumer market. The funding battleground could perhaps change the face of this sector as well.

Jobs galore

Some avenues for those interested can be content writing, academic research, scientists, curriculum design, software engineers/developers, product developers, digital marketers and so on. In addition, the field is wide open in data science, artificial intelligence, psychology, psychometric, animated/video modules, learning and assessment design, etc. One of the most important and revolutionary technologies that requires multiple domain expertise is personalisation of learning.

You may specialise in engineering, mobile programming, data science, psychology, educational measurement or learning design to fit into this sector.

How to get there

Good command over English, coupled with a sound knowledge of computers, is a must for the edtech sector. Additionally, for some specialised fields like programming, a candidate must have completed B.Tech and MCA. Some non-technical jobs require candidates who have a degree in B.Ed, M.Ed, Phd, MBA, etc. Edtech companies always scout for such talent and train them for different positions in the organisation.

Here are some tips for candidates who want to take a plunge into this sector:

Education has changed significantly over the last decade. While online education was rare and looked down upon in the 1990s, today, MOOCs have become one of the biggest trends. Learn about what’s going on and keep yourself abreast with the latest trends.

If you don’t have a technology background, make sure that you get smart about modern technology. You may not need to learn how to programme, but you will want to understand the basics of HTML and CSS. Be aware of the modern mobile app technology, as most of the smart education today is app-based. The idea is to make yourself job-ready.

Edtech has generated its own unique group of people who are passionate about the field and have spent years in it. If you don’t know anyone in the field, go to meetings or conferences and start meeting people who could help you understand the trends. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be good for forging new connections. So, if you have the right aptitude and a passion for the education sector, go for it, for edtech is the career of the future.

The writer is the VP at TCYonline