Who is a Subject Matter Expert and why you should become one ?

February 4, 2021
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A subject matter expert (abbreviated as SME) is a person who has an overall understanding of a specific subject. It can be an overall understanding of the process, technology, function, material, equipment, or any other thing involved in the entire process. The job of a Subject matter expert is to utilize their expertise in solving problems and other challenges faced in their area.

Subject matter experts are designated by many industries for multiple domains. Many of them have professional and advanced degrees in their area of specialization. They have developed their expertise by immersing in the topic for a long period of time. Subject matter experts are hired in different industries, but we will tell you about the concept of subject matter experts in online tutoring jobs trending in the education industry.

Top universities and teaching professionals across the globe have embraced technology in education. In the world of the internet where everything is done online, students are also looking for smart study solutions with flexible timings, subject expert tutors, and an assortment of services to serve the specific needs of students. Students all around the world are looking for such easy solutions which can make their study simple and convenient. In such a scenario, smart solutions like online tutoring jobs or subject matter expert jobs are sure to come into focus.

A subject matter expert in the education industry means- “A person who has enough and sound subject knowledge about a topic. The one who can provide genuine writings on it.  In today’s high paced world, where everything operates online. Education is no exception, the education sector has evolved tremendously, ranging from online tutors, online tutors, online learning, online live classes, online textbook solutions, satellite classes…. everything is online. This ever-booming sector has given us an extremely booming opportunity too, to become an online subject matter expert.

The education sector has witnessed the importance of online teaching tools very recently during the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Students across the globe have now opted for various remote learning classes. Tectonic shifts happen in society when an unexpected event occurs. Therefore, people are showing more interest in work from home jobs. Jobs of an online tutor or a subject matter expert in education technology are in high demand nowadays.

But there are various questions that pop out in our minds when you think of this. Like… What is a subject matter expert? Who all can become a subject matter expert? How to become a subject matter expert? What will be the salary? What is the qualification eligibility? Is there any investment required? Is it important to have subject knowledge? Etc.

Here’s all you would like to know about the subject matter expert.

Who can become a subject matter expert?

subject matter expert jobs

Well, Anyone! A freelancer, housewife, teacher, college student, working professional, retired person, businessman… required educational qualification, and enough time is all you need in order to become a subject matter expert.

Above all, Chegg India hires subject matter experts for various subjects, people who have required specialization. People having in-depth knowledge of a specific subject can provide quality answers and are eligible to join Chegg as a subject matter expert.

Let’s deep dive to know more about the subject matter expert’s roles and responsibilities.

a. Qualities of a professional Subject matter expert

sme roles and responsibilities

Apart from subject knowledge, you must also have a few qualities which can help you flourish in this opportunity. Only subject knowledge is not enough to earn more money in online tutoring. If you want to earn more and be a notch above you must put in something extra. Therefore, there are many people who want to become a subject matter expert. Below given is a list that makes you stand out and excel in this field:

  • Love for teaching
  • Make things simple and fun
  • Write your answers as informative as you can
  • Never stop reading and learning
  • Create your own writing style
  • Keep on adding to your knowledge, a subject matter expert today and a book writer tomorrow… (Who knows?!)
  • Talk to other subject matter experts, communicate and build your own network
  • Participate in different online conversations. For instance: Quora, is an engaging network for writing about your studies, experiences, and opinions on a specific topic.
  • Have a positive attitude (Always).
  • Last but not the least, Keep your student first. Understand the question and answer accordingly.

b. Expand your reach
The online tutoring process help students and teachers (subject matter experts) to share a network through a study platform. Nowadays, students and online tutors can collaborate, share, connect as per their convenience. It enables them to engage beyond traditional instructions. Chegg Study is a portal where students sitting in various parts of the world can ask questions about various subjects. In addition, our team of highly efficient subject matter experts is always there to answer them online. SMEs provide a written answer on the Chegg study portal of the question asked by the students sitting in different parts of the world. It’s amazing how technology connects all of us just through a small screen. In other words, the entire cycle of exchange of questions and answers is an online process.

You can become a subject matter expert on any subject you are good at. You need to have a formal education and a college degree in the same area with good subject knowledge and a zeal to teach. However, many E-learning companies prefer subject matter experts with qualifications that are specific to their subject. Every company has its own norms about the employment of subject matter experts. Therefore, it depends on you how you perform.

Example: Chegg India asks for a formal relevant college degree with in-depth subject knowledge. We also have a subject test as one of our criteria to become a subject matter expert. Moreover,  experts earn for every correct answer.

How can I earn after becoming a subject matter expert?

The world of Edtech gives you plenty of opportunities to work from home without compromising your earning potential. But, before you think of making money online from a subject matter expert job. You must remember that apart from the knowledge it takes patience, consistency, and hard work. In addition, this will help you to earn a handsome amount from this opportunity. Chegg has a bunch of subject matter experts who earn lakhs every month. We have assorted few expert tips from them to know how?!

a. Be specific and focused
Putting up good quality content is the easiest way to start off your career as a subject matter expert. If you want to earn more, you need to stick to a specific area out of your interest zone. Therefore, being focused and specific in one area is a great idea to start with.

b. Stay informed
You really need to know everything going on in your chosen field. You must pay attention and be consistent in it. Keep looking for new information sources and therefore, try to be the first to write about it. In other words, stay updated.

c. Know your earning potential
It is very important to know your potential to earn by teaching online. It mostly depends on various factors like subject selection, the number of answers, answering speed, the authenticity of your answers, etc. Work from home subject matter expert jobs pays you around 150-200 rupees on an average, per question. So even if you answer 8-10 questions in a day and work for just 5 days in a week, you can easily earn in five digits. Few e-learning companies also pay on per hour basis. The payment varies from Rs. 150-200 per hour for beginners and subsequently increases to Rs.500 or more as they gain experience.

d. Create a work schedule

subject matter expert responsibilities

Divide your time and be disciplined enough to follow it. Make two slots, one for researching and the other for answers. Be on top of your efficiency level. For instance: Chegg Study portal allows you to answer a question of your subject in 2 hours (120 minutes) and pays for every right answer. Every subject has different pay-out for subjects like engineering, mathematics, economics, etc. These are some of the highly paid subjects on the list. You can similarly, answer as many questions as you want. The monthly payment is credited on the 15th of every month.

e. Deliver quality content
Focus on writing good quality content so that your answers are appreciated by the students. Most of the online study portals have a rating option where a student can rate their experts according to the answer delivered by him. Therefore, one should use this as a tool to understand what exactly they want. Delivering quality content is one of the major subject matter expert responsibilities. Focus on reading more so that you can write more. The more you explore the topic, the more understanding you will have. It will, therefore, help you deliver good content.

f. Add an example, diagram, illustration if required
Your writing skills are the only tool you have when you are a subject matter expert. A student who is sitting far away will be able to understand the answer given by you only through your written words. Make sure they are informative and easy to understand. You can add illustrations, diagrams, examples to make the answers more informative and clear. It will, therefore, make your work more informative.

g. Create your own style of writing
You must know what works! You need to stand in the shoes of your student and understand his/her need. Read the question carefully before you start answering to avoid any kind of confusion. Start with jotting down some points and then start writing.

Can a full-time employee be a part-time subject matter expert?

Yes! It is all about your capabilities to earn extra money and supplement your current salary while being a part-time subject matter expert. If you are engaged in a full-time government job, a private job, you can use your empty hours every week, as a subject matter expert. But we would still suggest you check your current employment bond before you look for any part-time role.

a. Balance your time
 Worry about finding a balance between your full-time job and a Part-time job is obvious. But trust me, you are not alone. There are plenty of people who choose to have multiple sources of income and balance their time accordingly. In addition, the advantage of choosing to become a part-time subject matter expert with Chegg is freedom. It allows you to work as per your time schedule. In other words, Chegg Study is a 24*7 portal that allows you to answer questions anytime.

b. Boost your creativity
The act of sharing knowledge by writing forces you to think more deeply. It opens creativity in your head which we usually miss in our 9-5 full-time job. Creativity makes you more particular about the way you write. In addition, it creates a positive impact not only on your students but also on you. This opportunity of teaching, therefore, helps you to push yourself inch by inch every day towards your passion. And therefore, will help to discover a creative YOU. You strive to deliver quality answers, reading more, learning about untapped topics. In other words, you will boost your creativity.

Benefits of becoming a Subject Matter Expert

The support extended by online tutors to their students improves their grades and performance. Therefore, it helps them to perform better in their exams, tests, and assignments. In addition,  the online tutors / subject matter experts use their subject knowledge in order to help them. The kind of appreciation that you get in return gives you a sense of pride and fulfillment for yourself.

a. Become a part of a reputed community
Using this opportunity you similarly, get an opportunity to become a part of a community that includes brilliant people. This will help you to see yourself better. Above all, you will be able to explore yourselves, your interests, and your passion. You will connect with people all around the world. You will be able to see a bigger picture which helps you TO explore more opportunities for yourself. For instance, You can join/create/follow official/unofficial subject matter expert groups on Facebook, Instagram. Therefore,  become an active contributor to spaces of subject matter experts on Quora, etc. In short, these are some ways to connect with people over the internet

b. Extra earnings
Earning/Remuneration/Salary is an important motivation to perform something. Subsequently, various EdTech companies have their own payout criteria. Some pay on a per answer basis, and some on a per hour basis. You need to figure out what suits you best. Therefore, earn extra by utilizing your time.

c. Work from home
As a subject matter expert, you will be expected to work from the comfort of your home. It will help you divide your time between your family and work. No traveling, no prolonged working hours, you can work in your comfort zone. You can similarly, choose what days of the week and how many hours you want to work. In conclusion, it is the most convenient job.

d. Giving back to society
You can support the younger generation by giving back your knowledge and time. You will, therefore, get a high level of satisfaction by shaping young minds worldwide. The subject matter expert job is undoubtedly a fabulous profession. It offers a brighter future to the world. In other words, you are guiding students who will become professionals tomorrow.

e. Not a 9 to 5 Job
No more sticking to the standard time 9 to 5 for work. Work anytime, anywhere at your convenience. The online portals work 24*7. you may log in anytime and start answering questions posted by your students. In other words, you can have your own working hours. In addition, you can even have some cheat days where you can skip work.

f. Family time- Anytime!
As you have flexible working hours you can accommodate yourself anytime around your family. You can easily have time for your personal commitments. Moreover, this will help you to maintain a better work-life balance. Above all, it will save you time.

Subject experts and students sitting far away in different time zones can unite by sharing a vision of education. In conclusion, this flexible job opportunity of being a subject matter expert comes with a number of advantages. Therefore, all you need is love for the subject and passion to teach students online.

Happy Tutoring! 😊

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