Event tech is growing, and it's here to stay. However, only 38% of respondents to a recent EventMB survey consider themselves confident tech users, and almost half of planners surveyed in additional EventMB research agreed that having better technical knowledge would help them advance their careers. There's a growing need for tech-savvy event professionals that is not currently being met. So, who will fill that gap? In this post, we’ll discuss how to become an event tech expert and these four qualities you need to have to excel in this role:
- You’re an Event Expert with an Understanding of Both Event Operations and Technology
- You Have Excellent Project Management Skills
- You're Comfortable with Data
- You're Proactive and Enjoy Research
Although the event technologist role is still emerging in the events industry and isn't clearly defined, the role generally involves overseeing all tech and data aspects of an event. If you work in events—or even if you don't currently—and have a particular interest in or a knack for the tech side of things, you should consider the event technologist role.
The Rise of the Event Technologist Role
Tech has become so integral to events that basic tech knowledge is no longer competitive in this field. Planners who want to grow their roles are going to need additional support if they're not comfortable with tech and data themselves, particularly with new demands and challenges surrounding virtual events and hybrid events.
For planners excited by tech, the event technologist role represents another growth path. Many new event technologists are just people who fall into a de facto role within their organisation, and more and more companies are looking to hire an event expert for this role as the demand for tech grows.
Is the Event Technologist Role Right for You?
Although the event technologist job description is still evolving and being formalised, there are some common roles and responsibilities that you can expect from this job. Here are four signs you should consider pursuing an event technologist role:
1. You’re an Event Expert with an Understanding of Both Event Operations and Technology
One of the hallmarks of the event technologist role is the marriage of a deep knowledge of technology with a solid understanding of the event planning and execution process. While planners will continue to manage the overall event planning and strategy, event technologists will manage the tech stack, including sourcing optimal tech based on the goals of each event as well as of the organisation.
An event technologist greatly simplifies logistics and reduces costs, as they source a tech stack to be used across various events and teams. This means less onboarding and more tool consistency across the board. Event technologists also help simplify and improve discussions and negotiations with vendors regarding customisations or special use cases.
As such, if you already have tech experience within the events industry, you may be a great candidate to become an event technologist. If you're passionate about event technology but lack experience in one of these areas, check out the tips in the next section on how to get started in this role.
2. You Have Excellent Project Management Skills
As an event technologist, you need to be good with tech, but you also need project management and organisational skills. This isn't a traditional data or coding position where the majority of your interactions will be with a computer. You’ll need to collaborate with various internal teams, source vendors, review RFPs, and lead overall event tech strategy.
Event technologists allow planners to focus on their areas of expertise while becoming the project managers for tech deployment. With an understanding of internal departments and processes, event technologists help streamline workflows to move projects forward and gain necessary approvals more easily. With the need to source new kinds of technology, including virtual event solutions, this role is becoming increasingly important.
As an event technologist, you'll evaluate success using different KPIs than planners. This is generally in the form of engagement and adoption success metrics such as mobile app downloads and survey response rates. However, you'll also need to understand how planners and different departments measure success to provide meaningful insights on ROI.
3. You're Comfortable with Data
Data and feedback collection is a key part of modern events as it helps planners gain insights and make informed decisions. As an event technologist, you'll need to be very comfortable with data collection and analysis tools. In addition, you'll need to be able to generate reports in order for planners and stakeholders to understand event ROI and make necessary improvements.
A key part of the role is being able to translate technical concepts and data into actionable insights for event stakeholders. This ties into the discussion from the previous point, as the stakeholders' success metrics will likely be different from your own. As such, you'll need to be able to evaluate the data from all angles and use it to tell different stories based on who you're sharing it with.
Implementing more consistent tools will also facilitate cross-company data benchmarking for event technologists to lead and analyse. If you’re currently the go-to data event expert on your team, this role may be for you.
4. You're Proactive and Enjoy Research
Given that the event technologist role is still new and that the event tech industry is rapidly developing, constant innovation and testing are essential for anyone in this job. The position is largely independent, so taking initiative and continuously learning is also important.
You'll need to be able to adapt to changes and apply your knowledge to solve event challenges and make relevant recommendations. Event technologists are the resident tech experts for their organisations, so your team will look to you for any and all tech-related questions or issues. You need to be able to keep up with potential event needs, foresee issues, and more effectively resolve any that do come up.
You should also be ready to learn enough about coding and interfacing with APIs to have meaningful conversations with vendors and work efficiently with them, even if it's not your area of expertise. Building a strong and effective working relationship with vendors is key to being able to more easily convey your requirements and gain better tool utility and customisations.
It will also give you a better handle of the process for resolving potential issues with the tools you use, such as what troubleshooting makes sense or what the developer needs from you to resolve any bugs more quickly.
How to Pursue a Job in Event Technology
Whether you already work in events or you work outside the industry and are interested in event technology, there are several steps you can take to get a job as an event technologist. Here are five ways we recommend getting started:
Build up your skills
If you're looking to be an event technologist, you'll need certain core skills to be successful. The first of these is analytical thinking skills. You'll need the ability to not only analyse data but to use it to prepare meaningful key takeaways for planners and stakeholders. Experience with event tech tools and an understanding of HTML and APIs is a plus.
As in any team, soft skills are equally as important. To be an effective event technologist, you need to be a good team player and be able to delegate tasks and build relationships with suppliers. This is where good negotiation skills will also be helpful, as you'll be in charge of sourcing tech and may not always have the budget required for it.
Attend industry events
Attending an event for planners can be useful to learn about event management and technology, especially if you're not currently working in the events field. These kinds of industry events are a great opportunity to also talk to planners to identify their event technology needs and any gaps you could fill.
Once you gain some insights on the topic, you can use them to focus your job search or to help shape a new position within your current company, which is discussed in more detail below.
Work for an agency or tech provider
If you don't yet have much experience with event tech, try getting a job at a technology provider or agency first to learn more about the event technologist position and what it entails.
If you already work for an agency, aim to work on any tech implementations that it may manage. You may also consider volunteering as a way to gain as much knowledge and experience as you can before pursuing another role. This will allow you to hone your tech skills and learn about the implementation of event tech before eventually moving into a more strategic in-house event technologist position.
Organise a special Interest group
If interested in moving into an event technologist role — either within your organisation or at another company — try getting a group together at your company to discuss event technology. You'll glean valuable insights on what's currently being done, where there may be a need for a more specialised tech role, and what duties you could perform to fulfill that need.
If you host meetups or develop content around the group, you may also be able to get recognition that will help you when it’s time to apply for jobs, or when you approach your manager to discuss the idea of adding to your responsibilities (and title).
Create the job description
If you already perform event technologist-like duties and want to transition to an event technologist role within your organisation, try writing your own job description if your employer doesn't already have one.
You should be prepared to articulate everything you currently do as an event tech expert, but more importantly, what else you could be doing and the value of filling that gap. It's a good idea to use as much concrete evidence as possible, which is why performing some research and talking to other planners in the process can be helpful. This can be a great way to carve out the role for yourself and justify to your employer why it's needed in your company.
Becoming an Event Tech Expert
Event technologists represent a growing field in the event space, and now is an exciting time to help shape this new role. As our industry continues to face challenges, and new technology is being introduced, events professionals may be a great fit for the role. Still, those in other jobs can pursue the role given they have the right skills or are willing to learn.