Navigating the Shifts in SaaS Customer Education Jobs: A 2023 Recap with a Look Ahead 

by Lindsay Thibeault February 1st, 2024

For the last few years, we’ve been seeing so much growth in customer education, especially within the job market. That’s why we launched a SaaS Customer Education Job board. 

In 2023, we posted 186 jobs. We’ve pulled together some interesting stats to help reflect and plan for the year ahead. 

Let's take a stroll down memory lane and check out what 2023 had in store for us in the world of SaaS customer education jobs, shall we? Exciting times ahead!

2023 in Review: By the Numbers

What a year! 186 jobs were posted to the customer education job board. Here’s a breakdown of those numbers.

  • 45 Instructional Designer/Content Developer
  • 44 Management
  • 38 Customer Education/Training Development Specialist
  • 38 Education Program/Project Manager
  • 20 Technical Writer/Curriculum Developer
  • 2 Marketing
  • 1 Product Development

On average, it took a little over a month (36 days to be exact) to fill these roles. 

For average years of experience:

  • Management: Avg 7 years experience
  • Education Program/Project Manager: Avg 5 years experience
  • Instructional Designer/Content Developer: Avg 4 years experience
  • Customer Education/Training and Development Specialist: Avg 3 years experience
  • Technical Writer/Curriculum Developer: Avg 3 years experience

Want to see a further breakdown and job analysis? Let us know here. 

From all of these postings, we pulled out these recurring themes and trends:

  • Skill Diversity Demand
  • Strategic Importance
  • Specialization and Product Knowledge
  • Remote Work Dominance
  • Finding the Right Leadership

Skill Diversity Demand

Being a jack-of-all-trades is all the rage. Job postings highlighted a demand for candidates with mixed skill sets, including digital proficiency (90%), project management (85%), and data analytics (60%).

The high demand for diverse skills reflects the evolving nature of customer education roles, which now require a blend of technical, analytical, and managerial capabilities.

Project management skills are crucial for overseeing the development and implementation of education programs, ensuring they’re delivered on time and within budget. 

Data analytics skills highlight the need for professionals who can interpret customer engagement data to continually refine and improve your program’s educational offering​. 

Strategic Importance

About 40% of roles were all about strategic planning. Customer education is not just a sideshow anymore – it's central to the main act of business strategy.

The emphasis on strategic planning skills indicates the growing recognition of customer education as a driver of customer engagement, product adoption, retention, etc. 

As a customer education professional, you’re increasingly expected to align educational initiatives with broader business goals and objectives. 

Specialization and Product Knowledge

Over half the roles wanted industry-specific knowledge. That's a 30% jump from the year before! Knowing your product has and will always be super important.

The requirement for industry-specific knowledge underscores the need for customer education professionals to deeply understand the products and services they are teaching. This theme points towards more specialized roles within customer education, where in-depth product knowledge is key to creating effective educational content and programs.

Remote Work Dominance

Home is where the work is. Over 75% of customer education roles offered remote work options. Remote work is the new normal. 

Your programs and how that educational content is created will need to make sure that education can be created in a remote setting, without sacrificing the quality of the education. 

Even better, this shift has likely contributed to a broader talent pool, as geographical constraints are minimized, allowing companies to access diverse expertise from various locations.

Finding the Right Leadership

Leaders wanted! 44 management roles were posted last year. 

The majority of these roles were looking for candidates with these key attributes: strategic vision, cross-team collaboration, commitment to CE best practices, and building scalable programs. 

The focus on finding leaders with strategic vision, cross-team collaboration skills, and a commitment to best practices in customer education highlights the need for visionary leaders who can drive the evolution of customer education programs.

Building scalable programs is particularly crucial in today’s rapidly changing business environments, requiring leaders who can adapt and grow educational initiatives in line with company growth and market demands.

2024 Outlook: What to Watch

Now let’s look ahead. The insights from 2023 are golden for anyone in the customer education field, whether you're hiring or looking to get hired. Stay tuned to these trends, and let's make 2024 a year of learning, growth, and maybe a little bit of fun.

Strategic Alignment with Customer Success

Time to join forces with your Customer Success team. You should expect Customer Education to buddy up with CS big time, focusing on results-driven education. The evolving synergy between customer education and customer success metrics will catalyze the development of more outcome-oriented content strategies. 

And therefore a need for customer education roles that can navigate and contribute to Customer Success objectives effectively.

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Data-Driven Strategies: As alignment grows, the role of customer education professionals will increasingly involve data analysis to identify educational needs and measure the impact of educational initiatives on customer success metrics. If you're into customer education, you're going to love diving into data! We're talking about really getting to know what your customers need and seeing how your awesome educational stuff is making a difference. Think retention, more people loving your product, and happy customers sticking around longer.
  • Focus on Customer Journey: As CE folk, we know that it’s all about the customer. So here’s the deal - it’s also all about making learning extremely relevant and timely for your customers. It’s a personalized map for each customer, guiding them through your product and service. Future roles will emphasize the creation of learning paths tailored to the customer journey, ensuring that educational content is relevant, timely, and aligned with customer success milestones​​.
  • Collaborative Content Development: Collaboration between customer education and customer success teams will be key in developing content that addresses common customer challenges and questions, making educational programs more effective and relevant​​. Teamwork makes the dream work. 

Optimizing for Cost Efficiency 

In response to organizational changes and layoffs, we’re seeing businesses leverage customer education as a cost-saving measure. It’s like a bridge over troubled water for customer interaction. This approach helps bridge the gap in direct customer engagement, signaling a demand for roles focused on efficient knowledge transfer and onboarding processes.

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Streamlined Content Delivery: Keep it simple and smart. Customer education will be all about crafting and sharing content that’s straight to the point and super effective but won’t break the bank. Effective educational content that maximizes learning outcomes without unnecessary expenditure​​. This means leveraging cost-effective platforms and tools to deliver high-quality education.
  • Cross-functional Collaboration: This is all about staying on the same page and cutting out any double-dipping. Effective cost optimization in customer education will require closer collaboration with other departments, such as Customer Success and Product. This ensures that educational programs are aligned with product updates and customer success goals, avoiding redundancy and waste.
  • Scalability Focus: With the goal of cost efficiency, future customer education roles will need to design easily scalable programs. This allows for the accommodation of a growing customer base without proportionally increasing the costs​​​​. Efficiency is the name of the game.

Leveraging Academies as an Efficient Growth Level

There is now a shift away from preemptive hiring in Customer Success and moving towards building robust Customer Education academies. It’s a needed and strategic pivot. This change calls for expertise in developing and scaling academies that can support increased customer ratios, highlighting the need for innovative CE managers.

Academies are like magic beans. They grow with your customer numbers, but you don’t have to keep adding to your team. 

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Scalability: Let’s grow without the growing pains. Academies offer a scalable solution to educate customers, enabling startups to handle increasing volumes of customers without a corresponding increase in customer success headcount. This approach allows for consistent, high-quality onboarding and support experiences as customer bases grow​​. 
  • Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness: By investing in Academies, companies can deliver comprehensive training and support resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional 1:1 customer success interactions. This not only improves the efficiency of customer education but also represents significant cost savings​​​​. And more time for CSMs/AMs to focus on revenue-generating activities like cross-sells and upsells.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Well-designed academies provide customers with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, leading to improved product adoption, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. This proactive approach to customer education minimizes reliance on customer support and fosters self-reliance among users​​​​. Happy customers all around!

Embracing AI and Automation

Despite the anticipation around AI for personalized learning experiences, the practical challenges of implementation highlight a gap. Organizations will seek candidates who are not only tech-savvy but also capable of navigating the complexities of AI and automation integration in education programs. 

The integration of AI and automation into customer education is set to transform the landscape significantly. These technologies are not only revolutionizing how customer education is delivered but also reshaping the skills required for future roles in this field.

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Efficiency in Administrative Tasks: Automation will take over routine tasks such as scheduling, customer queries, and content management. This allows customer education professionals to focus more on strategic aspects of their roles, such as content creation and program development​​​​.
  • Data Analysis and Insights: AI tools can analyze vast amounts of data to provide insights into learner behavior and preferences. Skills in data analytics will become crucial for customer education professionals to interpret this data and use it to improve program effectiveness​​​​.
  • Adapting to Technological Advancements: As AI and automation technologies evolve, professionals in customer education will need to continuously update their technical skills to leverage these tools effectively. This includes staying abreast of the latest AI advancements and understanding how they can be applied to enhance customer education

We’re working on a comprehensive list of all CE/Academy AI playbooks, and tactics available today. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the full list in a future edition.

Monetization as a Collaborative Objective

Monetization in Customer Education is increasingly being recognized as a collaborative objective, integrating efforts between CE and CS teams. The shared goal of impacting cross-selling and upselling through customer education programs illustrates a unique collaboration between these departments. This requires roles that are skilled at designing programs with monetization as a KPI.

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Strategic Revenue Generation: Future roles in customer education will require a strategic understanding of how educational content can drive revenue. Professionals will need skills in developing educational materials that not only inform and engage but also subtly promote additional services or products​​​​.
  • Collaborative Planning and Execution: With monetization as a shared goal, customer education professionals will work closely with Customer Success teams. This collaboration will involve aligning educational strategies with customer success milestones and sales targets, requiring strong teamwork and communication skills​​​​.
  • Marketing and Sales Acumen: As educational programs become tools for monetization, job roles will increasingly overlap with Marketing and Sales. Skills in these areas, including understanding customer needs, sales psychology, and marketing tactics, will be valuable​​​​. 

Prioritizing Diversity in Hiring

The continued focus on diversity within hiring practices emphasizes the creation of inclusive and equitable learning experiences. Embracing diversity in hiring contributes to a more inclusive and equitable workplace and enhances the creativity, innovation, and effectiveness of customer education programs.

Some additional thoughts: 

  • Diverse Perspectives and Creativity: Diverse teams bring a variety of perspectives, experiences, and ideas, which are essential in creating customer education content that resonates with a wide range of learners. This diversity fosters creativity and innovation in developing educational materials and strategies​​​​.
  • Cultural Competence and Inclusivity: By prioritizing diversity, customer education teams will be better equipped to develop content that is culturally sensitive and inclusive. This includes understanding and respecting different learning styles, backgrounds, and needs, which is vital in creating an effective and accessible learning environment for all customers​​​​.
  • Global Reach and Relevance: For companies with a global customer base, a diverse team is better positioned to understand and cater to the educational needs of customers from different regions and cultures. This global mindset is increasingly important in customer education roles​​​​ and will help you reach those global goals.

Moving Forward

The data from 2023 offers invaluable insights for both employers looking to bolster their customer education teams and job seekers aiming to navigate this landscape. 

As we step into 2024, staying attuned to these trends will be crucial for fostering engaging, effective customer education that aligns with evolving SaaS industry demands.

Leverage these insights to prepare for the year ahead, ensuring your strategies and skills are aligned with the future of customer education.

If you're currently interviewing and trying to discern if the company or role is a good fit for you, here is a list of questions you can ask.

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