Expert Insights

What is Experts Exchange?

Insight into what "EE" actually is & why so many different types of tech professionals have found value in "EE" over the years. 

5
 min
April 8, 2022

Introduction

If you're a technology professional, you've probably encountered Experts Exchange while searching for the answer to an IT question. Chances are, one of the first things you did was get a kick out of our name - we get it it's honestly hilarious - but that's one reason why we like to call ourselves "EE."

The next thing that happened was you probably wondered something like, "What is this place? Who are these people? Why are they making me pay to be a member? Couldn't I just use Stack Overflow?"

These are all valid questions! And all of them have answers. This article will help explain what EE is and why so many different types of tech professionals have found extreme value in EE over the years. 

History

You've probably seen our tagline, "The Original Technology Community" (we're very proud of it!). To fully understand EE, it is crucial to understand the platform's history.

EE was founded in 1996 & was designed to be a simple knowledge-sharing forum - it was one of the first "Q&A" sites ever. It quickly grew into a gathering place for IT professionals, as they made up the majority of the people using the internet back then. 

As one of the oldest active online communities - EE has evolved dramatically in the past 25 years. Nevertheless, the core value remains the same: we're a gathering place for tech professionals to share knowledge and help each other solve problems. Many of our members from the early 00s are still active today. 

Since 2001 - The EE organization has been a small, privately owned operation that has subsisted without help from outside investment. We aren't a large tech corporation - we're a small business, just like many people who use the site.

Why do people join EE? 

This concept is often the hardest for non-members to understand about Experts Exchange - and rightfully so! It can be a bit confusing at first.

From a large-scale perspective - many people join EE because our members value positivity and fair treatment regardless of experience. Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, and it's humiliating when your courage is met with ridicule.

Unlike other communities & forums - EE has a culture of respect and patience above all else. 

As with many communities - there are multiple different member types on EE, and all of them get a slightly different value out of their membership. Although they're here for different reasons, all of them are equally as important to the community as a whole.

Most EE members find value in getting help with occasional tech questions. These members know that EE is full of subject-matter experts who are ready to help walk alongside them as they solve complex problems. These members are often growing professionals who work for themselves or on smaller tech teams. 

Other EE members are less concerned with solving specific problems, and more concerned with simply engaging with the broader community. They know the value of surrounding themselves with other trustworthy individuals. They know that they occasionally will have a critical project that requires insight from multiple sources and like being able to turn to the EE community for non-biased opinions.   

Some members - mostly our Certified Experts - are typically more concerned with giving help than receiving help. This group mainly comprises industry veterans and consultants who understand the value of learning by teaching. Even though some share information they would typically charge high consulting fees for, they know they're keeping their skills sharp by helping others for free on EE. 

Additionally - many members use the EE community to amplify their voice. Many enterprise technologies offer high-ranking statuses (Microsoft MVP, Oracle ACE, VMware vExpert, Citrix CTP). Skill-level isn't the only criteria for obtaining these statuses - these organizations also take into account whether or not a nominee is sharing their knowledge with the broader tech community. Many EE members utilize our article feature to share their insights with a larger audience than they could obtain on their own.

How does it work?

The reason people stay on EE is because of the authentic connections they form with other technology professionals. That's our "why." But the "how" matters too! With that in mind, let's dig into the actual "functionality" of the platform. 

EE has evolved from a simple Question & Answer site into a full-scale knowledge-sharing platform that supports multiple content types and ways to interact. Here are the primary ways that members connect: 

Question & Answer

Because the core of our platform has always been Q&A - it's still the primary method our members use to connect. Members can ask three different 'types' of questions - Troubleshooting, Research, and Opinion - in over 450 topic areas.

A member who answers a question has the opportunity to earn "points," - which lead to rewards & recognition within the community. Any member can ask or answer a question on EE, but answers are often provided by our Certified Experts - members are verified for their subject-matter expertise.

For more information about our Q&A experience - check out this full breakdown.

Articles

While EE is a great place to connect via Q&A, it's also great for gathering insights from experts on very specific issues. Many of our members enjoy sharing their thoughts & insights via long-form articles. Often - members utilize this function when they're interested in creating tutorials around highly specific issues in a particular technology topic. 

For example, Certified Expert & VMware vExpert Pro Andrew Hancock produced this X-part series detailing how a professional can start from scratch in VMware. 

We encourage our members to write articles in order to grow their personal brands - that's why we offer a team of in-house editors to help them produce quality content & offer all articles free of charge. To explore all of our article content - click here

Groups

One of the best ways for our members to connect is to utilize the "Groups" function. Members can create and join public or private groups centered around any subject they wish.

Groups are an excellent way for members to facilitate long-form discussion about a larger topic area. 

Other Resources & Future Plans

In addition to these three - members can also post tutorial videos and create individual posts on our feed to share with the entire community. 

Currently, our development team is hard at work creating a centralized feed that will allow members to see trending and curated content of all types from every member on the site.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now understand what EE is, how it works, and who our members are. No matter what category you fit into - you're welcome on EE. If you're interested in joining, you can click here sign up.