Slack is laying the foundation for a new type of job, following in the footsteps of customers like IBM and Verizon who created dedicated roles to manage their use of the work chat app

  • Slack is offering an online course in how to become an administrator for people who manage their organization's usage of the workplace chat app. 
  • The course is part of Slack's broader goal of creating an online training academy to teach skills for those managing and administering the tool or developing apps for it, while also building a community of users, said Christina Kosmowski, Slack's VP of customer success.
  • Typically, Fortune 500 companies, like Verizon, IBM, and Oracle, are the ones hiring people dedicated to managing Slack usage because the sheer size of the organization requires it.
  • As much as Slack expects to see a boom in demand for administrators, the job market doesn't seem to have caught up quite yet. However, as the company grows there will likely be more Slack-specific roles that start to pop up.
  • The new course costs $300, but Slack is also offering a scholarship to those who can't afford it. 
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Slack continues to sign on larger customers, even as it becomes a critical tool to keep businesses running amid the pandemic. That growth has created a new job title — Slack administrator — as Fortune 500 companies like Verizon, IBM, and Oracle now require dedicated manpower to managing their use of the work chat app. 

Now, Slack, the company, is ramping up its existing efforts to train those administrators. Slack started offering in-person administrator training late last year; the sudden boom in interest thanks to the remote work boom is seeing the introduction of an online course to reach even more people, with plans for more to come. 

The ultimate goal is to build an online academy to help administrators and developers alike make the most of Slack, said Christina Kosmowski, VP of customer success.

"We've got this whole new category, we've got a whole bunch of Slack administrators who are really supporting and championing within their organizations, how they utilize Slack," Kosmowski told Business Insider. "And so they've been wanting and desperate for this deeper set of knowledge and really to be recognized for that knowledge that they have." 

When the pandemic started Slack saw huge customer growth, signing on 12,000 new paid customers in the first quarter of this year. It also signed on more large customers, including Amazon and Verizon, last quarter. Those are typically customers using the Enterprise Grid version of the product, geared towards large organizations. The size alone often means there needs to be someone managing it all, Kosmowski said.

The online course costs $300, though Slack is offering a handful of scholarships right now to those who can't afford the fee. At the end of the course, participants receive a Slack certified administrator badge, which they can list on their resume or on LinkedIn. The model is similar to what Salesforce has created with Trailhead, its successful online learning platform that's helped many job-seekers start a career in administering the tool.

It's unclear what the typical salary range for a Slack admin is, but Kosmowski said she would expect the pay to be similar to general IT or Salesforce administrator roles, which in San Francisco can command a salary of around $150,000, according to data from careers site Glassdoor. 

Who is hiring Slack administrators?

The job titles vary. IBM employees in the role are called Slack Admins. Apple has a job opening for a Slack Product Integrations Manager. Life insurance company Northwestern Mutual is hiring a Slack engineer. Consulting firm Latitude is hiring a Slack Enterprise Service Manager. 

While all the job titles are a bit different, all of them want people who can set information sharing and privacy preferences for Slack users, build integrations between Slack and other productivity apps the company uses, and generally make sure people are using the product to the fullest extent, which is what the course teaches. 

As much as Slack expects to see a boom in demand for administrators, the job market doesn't seem to have caught up quite yet. As of July 6th, Glassdoor listed 11 open roles with the word "Slack" in the job title — which doesn't seem like much, but is still double the number of listings as recently as January. As the company grows, however, you can expect to see more Slack-specific roles start to pop up.

"While demand for roles specifically oriented around Slack administration is still relatively low, it's likely we'll see new opportunities be created as more employers continue to adopt new technologies like Slack in the current state of remote work," said Glassdoor analyst Amanda Stansell. 

Kosmowski similarly believes that as Slack usage ticks up in an enterprise, so too will the demand.

"It's something that customers know that they need because they picked this very transformational tool that they're using across their entire company," Kosmowski said. 

Creating a Slack ecosystem

The next step is to build the kind of ecosystem around Slack that's already enjoyed by the likes of larger rivals like Salesforce or Dropbox. 

In addition to offering an online Slack admin course, it's going to be adding courses for developers who want to build apps for Slack, and a course for experience designers who want to create custom workflows in the app. Slack sees both as burgeoning future job titles. 

Ultimately, Kosmowski said, it's all because there's already a need for this kind of training in the market, and the company just wants to build a community that can become the ecosystem it's looking for.

"There's a group of people that are really coming out of that and feeling that passion and they want to take that expertise to the next level," she said. "This is really just the beginning steps for certainly working with our customers and partners to find out what methods work best for them in terms of learning style."

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