What is Subject Matter Expert (SME) and How to Become One – 10 Simple Steps


What is a subject matter expert? SME is a person who has expertise in a particular subject. This term is used for the person who is involved in developing content for a book, examination, etc. SMEs are also involved in creating training materials. They are considered as an authority of their subject. Subject matter experts are now in high demand. Over a period, more people are realizing the importance of an SME.

SMEs are educated, experienced, observant, and inquisitive. These are the people who are precise and principled. A truly great SME is a freethinker and innovative. Some other traits of SMEs include Perceptive, cooperative, helpful, and articulate.

The best and trusted platform to start your career as a subject matter expert is Chegg.

The subjects you may find here are Business, Mathematics, Engineering, Health Care, Science and Earth Science.

What is the subject matter expert role at Chegg India? You can work here part-time and you are free to invest as much time you want. The more time you spend, the more money you earn. Earning potential completely depends on how many questions you are choosing. The price per question is different for different questions. For example, the highest is approximately Rs 197 per question of advanced subjects and the lowest is Rs 75 per question of basic maths.

So on average, if you are solving 5-6 questions of Rs 100(say) each day, you can earn more than Rs 15,000 per month. At the end, it all depends on you. You can solve any number of questions at comparatively higher/lower rates as per your interests and subject of expertise.

To become a subject matter expert, you need to possess some basic qualities like Knowledge management, Communication, and Time management.

Seems interesting right? Here are 10 simple steps to become a subject matter expert!

what is subject matter expert
January 20, 2022
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Table of Contents

Build a foundation

To start your career as a subject matter expert, you first need to educate yourself on exactly what is subject matter expert. The subject you are planning to choose should be well-learned before applying to the company. There are people who fake their knowledge at the beginning but get caught very easily. Since you will be sharing your knowledge with other experts in the company, faking your education potential will not work. Hence, you must know the subject and its topics very clearly. Also, you need to know how to present your answer in a way that is understandable to the students.

Sign up and register

After having a good amount of knowledge in your hands, you can sign up for the subject matter expert position in the company. You need to add your basic details like contact information, created password, and subject of your interest. Also, you will be asked to verify your e-mail and phone number.

Online screening

There will be a written test first. It is an open book test so you can keep your books with you. Answer the questions very carefully and maintain high accuracy. After the test, a behavioral interview will be scheduled to check your overall personality and behavior. Be genuine and honest. After these two rounds, the final round will be an HR interview. Once you clear all these levels with perfection, you will be moved to the next stage. So, prepare well for each level to pass.

Document verification

The next step is document verification. Your documents like your IDs and the degree of your qualification will be verified. You will be expected to provide authentic documents otherwise you will get disqualified from the position.

Solve questions with accuracy

After the registration, online screening, and document verification, you will be all set to start solving questions. Make sure that the questions you answer should maintain high accuracy and consistency. People who repeat the mistakes, again and again, can be removed from the position by the company. Writing in a manner that is understood by the students is an art that you must learn and apply.

Stay updated

You need to continue educating yourself in your subject and this determines what is subject matter expert responsible for. You must stay updated about the new patterns of answering the topics you have chosen. You should know about the latest happenings in the space to become and stay in the position of an expert. You can attend conferences, seminars, participate in discussions in person or Twitter chats. You can also apply to industry publications to stay updated.

Be punctual and make a routine

Set a goal for yourself and stick to it. Suppose if you decide to answer 3 questions daily, then you must ensure that the target is completed. This will develop a feeling of satisfaction and will help you in earning the minimum amount you have decided for yourself. Also, you can fix a time of doing the work which suits you the best. Generally, early morning is the best time to answer questions since your mind is fresh and there are fewer people answering questions.

Try out your own ideas

To become a good understanding of what is subject matter expert role, you need to know how to come up with your own ideas. To do this, you will have to be completely indulged in your subject. Creating innovative ways to answer the questions will keep you motivated. This can turn into a big disaster sometimes so remember to take suggestions from other people before applying your ideas on the platform.

Keep learning

You must read about the topics you are skipping every time. The topics you skipped once will create an urge inside you to learn about them and answer them next time whenever you get a chance. This will help you in answering more questions in less period of time. SME is a platform where you will compete with yourself, where your knowledge in the subject keeps on increasing. There is no limit to education. You must be enthusiastic enough to work through it.

Try increasing your working hours

As a beginner getting more ideas on what is a subject matter expert duty, you will have to spend more time solving a question as compared to those who are already working in this field for years. It will take regular practice and consistency to reach a desired level of speed. Once you reach a good level, start increasing the number of questions you do every day. Don’t stop growing. Stepping up the ladder is the key. Since there is no upper limit, you can solve as many questions as you wish to do. The more questions you answer, the more money you earn.

Final Thoughts

Hope you have much clarity on this career opportunity among various online jobs. Many SMEs have years of experience and high degrees in their subjects. They prefer continuing their study by choosing SME as a career. SME is a job that has a learning curve.  At the initial stage, it will take some time to get inhabit the format. Things like what kind of topics you are going to engage in, what is the best and acceptable way for it, and what time of the day will be best for you to work.

But, after working as an SME and understanding what is subject matter expert role for a while, you will be confident enough to say that you know much more about your subject than others. Becoming an SME adds value to your own self. An SME is a go-to person, he is the one that can be trusted as an adviser.

Many SMEs around the globe have also published books on their topics. In some companies, the people who maintain high performance and work regularly are rewarded for the same. Just make sure that you are writing about things you are 100% sure of and follow the guidelines given by the company. Failing in this can result in disqualification. The performance of SMEs is regularly tracked by organizing meetings with other experts and members of the organization.

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