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Become A Subject Matter Expert

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Working As A Subject Matter Expert

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Processing Information
  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $102,277

    Average Salary

What Does A Subject Matter Expert Do

Computer systems analysts study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help the organization operate more efficiently and effectively. They bring business and information technology (IT) together by understanding the needs and limitations of both.

Duties

Computer systems analysts typically do the following:

  • Consult with managers to determine the role of IT systems in an organization
  • Research emerging technologies to decide if installing them can increase the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness
  • Prepare an analysis of costs and benefits so that management can decide if IT systems and computing infrastructure upgrades are financially worthwhile
  • Devise ways to add new functionality to existing computer systems
  • Design and implement new systems by choosing and configuring hardware and software
  • Oversee the installation and configuration of new systems to customize them for the organization
  • Conduct testing to ensure that the systems work as expected
  • Train the systems’ end users and write instruction manuals

Computer systems analysts use a variety of techniques such as data modeling to design computer systems. Data modeling allows analysts to view the processes and data flows even before programs have been written. 

Once programs have been written, analysts conduct in-depth tests and analyze information and trends in the data to increase a system’s performance and efficiency.

Analysts calculate requirements for how much memory and speed the computer system needs. They prepare flowcharts or other kinds of diagrams for programmers or engineers to use when building the system. Analysts also work with these people to solve problems that arise after the initial system is set up. Most analysts do some programming in the course of their work.

Most computer systems analysts specialize in certain types of computer systems that are specific to the organization they work with. For example, an analyst might work predominantly with financial computer systems or engineering computer systems.

Systems analysts help other IT team members understand how computer systems can best serve an organization by working closely with the organization’s business leaders.

In some cases, analysts who supervise the initial installation or upgrade of IT systems from start to finish may be called IT project managers. They monitor a project’s progress to ensure that deadlines, standards, and cost targets are met. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Many computer systems analysts are general-purpose analysts who develop new systems or fine-tune existing ones; however, there are some specialized systems analysts. The following are examples of types of computer systems analysts:

Systems designers or systems architects specialize in helping organizations choose specific types of hardware and software systems. They translate the long-term business goals of an organization into technical solutions. Analysts develop a plan for the computer systems that will be able to reach those goals. They work with management to ensure that systems and the IT infrastructure are set up to best serve the organization’s mission.

Software quality assurance (QA) analysts do in-depth testing and diagnose problems of the systems they design in order to make sure that critical requirements are met. They also write reports to management recommending ways to improve the systems.

Programmer analysts design and update their system’s software and create applications tailored to their organization’s needs. They do more coding and debugging than other types of analysts, although they still work extensively with management and business analysts to determine what business needs the applications are meant to address. Other occupations that do programming are computer programmers and software developers.

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How To Become A Subject Matter Expert

A bachelor’s degree in a computer or information science field is common, although not always a requirement. Some firms hire analysts with business or liberal arts degrees who have skills in information technology or computer programming.

Education

Most computer systems analysts have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Because these analysts also are heavily involved in the business side of a company, it may be helpful to take business courses or major in management information systems.

Some employers prefer applicants who have a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. For more technically complex jobs, a master’s degree in computer science may be more appropriate.

Although many computer systems analysts have technical degrees, such a degree is not always a requirement. Many analysts have liberal arts degrees and have gained programming or technical expertise elsewhere.

Many systems analysts continue to take classes throughout their careers so they can learn about new and innovative technologies. Technological advances come so rapidly in the computer field that continual study is necessary to remain competitive.

Systems analysts must understand the business field they are working in. For example, a hospital may want an analyst with a thorough understanding of health plans and programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and an analyst working for a bank may need to understand finance. Having knowledge of their industry helps systems analysts communicate with managers to determine the role of the information technology (IT) systems in an organization.

Advancement

With experience, systems analysts can advance to project manager and lead a team of analysts. Some can eventually become IT directors or chief technology officers. For more information, see the profile on computer and information systems managers.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Analysts must interpret complex information from various sources and be able to decide the best way to move forward on a project. They must also be able to figure out how changes may affect the project.

Communication skills. Analysts work as a go-between with management and the IT department and must be able to explain complex issues in a way that both will understand.

Creativity. Because analysts are tasked with finding innovative solutions to computer problems, an ability to “think outside the box” is important.

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Do you work as a Subject Matter Expert?

Subject Matter Expert Jobs

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Subject Matter Expert Career Paths

Subject Matter Expert
Senior Business Analyst Senior Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Business Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Analyst Quality Assurance Analyst Business Systems Senior Analyst
Business Systems Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Management Consultant Change Management Consultant
Change Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Team Manager Finance Analyst Marketing Analyst
Customer Relationship Management Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Program Manager Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Management
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Quality Assurance Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Project Management Office
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Project Manager Program Manager
Global Program Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Analyst Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Infrastructure Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Product Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Management Consultant Senior Business Analyst Implementation Manager
Integration Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Solutions Architect Product Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Business Analyst Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Manager, Project Management Office
12 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Specialist Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
13 Yearsyrs
Contractor/Consultant Contracts Administrator Subcontracts Manager
Senior Managed
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Team Manager Sales Consultant Solution Specialist
Solutions Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Subject Matter Expert?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Executive 3.7 years
Principal Analyst 3.2 years
Project Analyst 3.0 years
Program Analyst 2.8 years
Solutions Analyst 2.4 years
Expert 2.4 years
Project Consultant 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Consultant 7.8%
Manager 5.9%
Instructor 5.0%
Supervisor 4.1%
Internship 3.6%
Analyst 3.5%
Director 3.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 10.3%
Manager 4.9%
Supervisor 3.9%
Instructor 3.7%
Analyst 2.9%

Do you work as a Subject Matter Expert?

Subject Matter Expert Demographics

Gender

Male

61.9%

Female

35.9%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

58.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

10.7%

Unknown

4.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.1%

French

12.3%

Arabic

10.1%

German

5.2%

Chinese

4.1%

Russian

3.5%

Japanese

3.5%

Dari

2.7%

Mandarin

2.5%

Korean

2.5%

Italian

2.5%

Carrier

2.2%

Portuguese

2.2%

Persian

1.9%

Hindi

1.6%

Urdu

1.6%

Filipino

1.4%

Croatian

1.4%

Kurdish

1.1%

Swahili

0.8%
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Subject Matter Expert Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.2%

Strayer University

6.9%

University of Maryland - University College

6.3%

Community College of the Air Force

6.1%

American University

6.0%

Capella University

4.7%

George Washington University

4.5%

Walden University

4.1%

Liberty University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.5%

Texas A&M University

3.5%

Webster University

3.5%

Troy University

3.4%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%

University of Arizona

3.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.0%

Michigan State University

3.0%

The Academy

2.8%

George Mason University

2.8%

University of Texas at Austin

2.6%
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Majors

Business

27.4%

Computer Science

9.1%

Management

6.9%

Computer Information Systems

5.1%

Information Technology

4.9%

Accounting

4.5%

Criminal Justice

4.3%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Psychology

3.6%

Project Management

3.3%

Finance

3.3%

Nursing

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Communication

2.9%

Computer Engineering

2.6%

Human Resources Management

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Political Science

2.2%

General Studies

2.2%

Information Systems

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.1%

Masters

26.2%

Other

19.0%

Associate

8.3%

Doctorate

5.3%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.1%
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Real Subject Matter Expert Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Business Consultant and Subject Matter Expert Maxisit, Inc. Metuchen, NJ Jan 11, 2016 $240,000
Supply Chain Subject Matter Expert Execution Specialists Group LLC Boca Raton, FL Jun 25, 2015 $208,700
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Irving, TX Aug 19, 2016 $184,751
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 09, 2016 $179,176
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Savannah, GA Aug 21, 2015 $179,176
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Rolling Meadows, IL Apr 06, 2016 $179,176
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Alexandria, VA Jan 23, 2016 $179,176
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Milwaukee, WI Jul 14, 2015 $179,176
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Golden, CO Jan 03, 2016 $177,644
Subject Matter Expert Axon Solutions, Inc. Edison, NJ Jul 23, 2015 $168,793
Subject Matter Expert Starry Associates, Inc. Rockville, MD Apr 16, 2015 $141,500
Application Subject Matter Expert IV Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 14, 2016 $138,550
Subject Matter Expert PMO Symphony Corporation Linthicum, MD Jul 15, 2016 $133,046
Application Subject Matter Expert III Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 10, 2015 $116,000
Application Subject Matter Expert III Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 26, 2015 $116,000
Application Subject Matter Expert III Farmers Group, Inc. Simi Valley, CA Jan 26, 2015 $116,000
Application Subject Matter Expert III Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 22, 2016 $115,000
Application Subject Matter III Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 09, 2016 $115,000
Application Subject Matter Expert II Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Apr 20, 2016 $115,000
Subject Matter Expert-Lead Automation Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 02, 2015 $115,000 -
$135,000
Application Subject Matter Expert II Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 16, 2016 $114,837
SAP Specialist Subject Matter Expert BP America Inc. Whiting, IN Dec 16, 2015 $103,600
Application Subject Matter Expert II Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 02, 2015 $103,000
GPP Systems Engineer/Subject Matter Expert Fundtech Corporation Pittsburgh, PA May 20, 2016 $101,899
Application Subject Matter II (Financial Applications) Farmers Group, Inc. Wilmington, DE Dec 05, 2016 $101,525
Application Subject Matter Expert I Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 25, 2016 $101,000
Subject Matter Expert (SME) II (SAS Statistical Programming) Quanticate Inc. Wake Forest, NC Oct 17, 2016 $100,500
Application Subject Matter Expert II Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 21, 2016 $100,296
Application Subject Matter Expert Farmers Group, Inc. Wilmington, DE Jan 01, 2015 $100,040

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Top Skills for A Subject Matter Expert

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  1. Matter Expert
  2. Procedures
  3. SME
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Subject matter expert and skilled presenter at major international conferences attended by high-level U.S. and foreign government officials.
  • Directed system testing and validation procedures between multiple suppliers and project engineers to ensure product compliance with OEM specifications.
  • Conducted network penetration testing, ethical hacking, vulnerability assessment, and security audits.
  • Performed Section 508 compliance and accessibility testing on company website; submitted findings and recommendations.
  • Provided customer service to assist in operation, restoration, and configuration of information systems.

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