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Career Story: Customer Education Manager At A Software Firm

Customer Education Manager At A Software Firm

Type of Company: My company creates software that is used for product design, development and collaboration. We provide training to new and existing users in a variety of ways - instructor-led, self-paced and virtual. Our goal is to help our customers become more productive when using our software so they can get their products to market even quicker.

Education: BA, English, Framingham State College •• J.D., Suffolk University Law School

Previous Experience: I worked for 5 years at a publishing company in the Accounts Payable department, first as an entry level clerk and then as department supervisor while attending law school in the evenings. After I determined I was not interested in a legal career, I took a job at a high tech hardware company in the corporate education group. That led to my current position at a software company in the customer education organization.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for three initiatives within our customer education organization.

The first initiative is running the eLearning adoption and support team. This is a team of four people who help customers who've purchase self-paced eLearning courses. On a typical day I am asked to provide information to a new or prospective customer about our eLearning offerings and perhaps provide a web demonstration to help to illustrate what I'm talking about; help my team resolve any technical support issues they may have uncovered; and review reports tracking the eLearning usage by a particular customer.

The second initiative is establishing a virtual class program to allow customers to attend live training when they are not able to travel to one of our training centers. For this initiative I work with a small team evaluating technology options, course materials and instructor readiness. I also answer a lot of questions for sales reps, since this offering is only a few months old and they are not yet as familiar with it as they'd like to be.

The third initiative is running the custom education team where we take our standard course material and customize it for a particular customer. This helps our customers who are not using our software 'out of the box' but have made customizations to it. We create custom training for them so their users are prepared to work with it once it's installed.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best and worst parts of my job are actually the same thing. Because I am responsible for three separate initiatives I am working on many different projects at the same time. This is good because it keeps things interesting and I don't get bored. The bad part is that I am always shifting between projects during the day and it can be difficult to keep everything straight, especially when it's busy.

Job Tips:
1.) Come up with a good method of organizing your projects and a to-do list. When you are working on many things, organization is critical.

2.) Take lots of online courses, either through your school or find them free on the Internet. This will help you to understand what works and what doesn't in online delivery and puts you in the shoes of your future customers, and you will start to learn about all the different technologies that exist.

3.) Don't be afraid to try something that you don't think you are good at. Those can be the best opportunities for learning and your chance to shine. Ask to be involved in projects that are outside your usual area.

Additional Thoughts: The biggest surprise to me is that I never would have expected to like the education business. I fell into my first position by accident. My advice is to try as many types of jobs and industries as you can while still in school to see what you like.

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