Career Changes and EdTech Skills

Adjusting to a new set of responsibilities.

March 25, 2014

How long will it take until my edtech skills are out of date?

This is a question that I’ve been asking myself since I transitioned to a new, more strategic role at my institution.

No longer am I part of a team that is making the decision about which technologies, platforms, and services to purchase.

No longer am I working directly with faculty to design their blended and online courses.

No longer do I spend my days in the learning management system (LMS), media management system (MMS), presentation capture system, or virtual classroom platform.

I’m not negotiating with vendors or training faculty.  Not designing courses or evaluating apps, capabilities, or service level agreements.

This change is a bit disorienting.

The skill set that I built up over the years as an educational technologist and learning designer, and most recently director of learning and technology, is no longer an exact match for my current responsibilities.  

It is not that I am now doing totally new things.  I’ve always had to plan, communicate, and manage processes and people at the intersection of learning and technology.  

It is more that my old professional life, one where I saw clear markers of progress and completion, has been replaced with less defined milestones.

This feeling is somewhat like what I experienced (about 15 years ago) after transitioning from a life as a sociologist and demographer, someone on the faculty teaching and research track, to a full-time educational technology staff role.  

All that time I had spent in grad school and in my first few years as a faculty member learning the language, culture, and skills of my academic discipline needed to be replaced with a new professional identity.  

It took years to fully make the mental, social, and professional transition.

Nowadays, I have a new language to learn.  A new set of skills to master.  

My job now is more about organizational change and communications. Strategic planning and business development. Internal consulting and (hopefully) thought leadership.

The actual hands-on work of leveraging technology to improve learning will be done by my colleagues.   

Don’t get me wrong.  I am thrilled and humbled to be provided the opportunity to work at a strategic level across my institution. This new gig is a good fit.  

Still, I am coming to understand that even the most hard-earned and sought-after career progressions come with a time of adjustment.

What advice can you offer from your own career changes?

How did you adjust from moving from a more hands-on to a less hands-on role?

Are there any good articles, books, or professional development opportunities that you found particularly helpful?

Who do you speak with about your career progression?


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