Career Development

What Does a Data Governance Specialist Do?

Find out what a Data Governance Specialist does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Data Governance Specialist.

The Data Governance Specialist plays an integral role in ensuring that an organization’s data assets are managed and utilized effectively, while also adhering to regulatory compliance and business requirements. This position involves the development and implementation of data governance policies and procedures, aiming to improve data quality and accessibility across the organization. By serving as a liaison between data stakeholders and technical teams, the specialist facilitates the alignment of data initiatives with strategic business goals. Their efforts support informed decision-making processes, enhance operational efficiency, and mitigate risks associated with data management. Through their expertise, the Data Governance Specialist ensures that data as a resource is accurately cataloged, securely stored, and appropriately used, fostering an environment where data-driven insights can thrive.

Data Governance Specialist Job Duties

  • Develop and implement data governance policies and procedures to ensure the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of organizational data.
  • Coordinate with data stewards and other stakeholders to establish and enforce data quality standards, including accuracy, completeness, and reliability.
  • Facilitate the creation and maintenance of a data catalog that documents data sources, data lineage, and metadata to enhance data accessibility and understanding.
  • Oversee data compliance activities, ensuring adherence to legal and regulatory requirements related to data privacy and protection, such as GDPR and CCPA.
  • Lead data governance meetings and committees, fostering collaboration among business units to align data governance initiatives with organizational objectives.
  • Design and implement data classification schemes to categorize data based on sensitivity and importance, guiding appropriate data handling and security measures.
  • Monitor and report on the performance of data governance initiatives, using metrics and KPIs to assess progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Advocate for the strategic use of data by promoting data literacy and data-driven decision-making across the organization.

Data Governance Specialist Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Data Governance Specialist’s salary include industry experience, proficiency in data governance frameworks, knowledge of compliance regulations like GDPR, expertise in data quality tools, and the ability to implement data privacy policies. Additionally, soft skills such as communication and leadership can significantly impact earning potential.

  • Median Annual Salary: $89,250 ($42.91/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $128,000 ($61.54/hour)

The employment of data governance specialists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by the increasing volume of data, heightened privacy concerns, and stringent regulatory requirements across industries, necessitating experts to ensure data accuracy, privacy, compliance, and effective management, making Data Governance Specialists critical for organizations to navigate these complex challenges efficiently.

Data Governance Specialist Job Requirements

Education: A Data Governance Specialist typically holds a Bachelor’s Degree in fields like Computer Science, Information Technology, or Data Management. Advanced roles may require a Professional degree, emphasizing specialized knowledge in data protection laws, ethical data use, and strategic data management. Coursework often includes database management, data analytics, cybersecurity, and legal aspects of information governance. Majors in related disciplines that focus on data integrity, privacy, and compliance are also common pathways for aspiring professionals in this field.

Experience: Data Governance Specialists typically emerge from backgrounds rich in hands-on experience with data management, policy development, and compliance adherence. Ideal candidates have progressed through roles that demanded increasing responsibility in data stewardship, showcasing their ability to implement governance frameworks and ensure data quality. On-the-job training, often through mentorship or specialized internal programs, plays a crucial role in honing the necessary skills. Experience in collaborating across departments to align data governance with business objectives is also crucial, as is a proven track record in managing data assets effectively.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications beneficial for a Data Governance Specialist include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP), and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP). No specific licenses are required for this role.

Data Governance Specialist Skills

Data Quality Management: Policies and procedures are meticulously implemented to maintain high standards of accuracy, completeness, reliability, and timeliness in organizational data. Tools and methodologies are employed to monitor, assess, and enhance data quality, influencing decision-making processes and operational efficiency.

Metadata Management: Strategies are developed and executed for the accurate categorization, storage, and retrieval of data across systems, ensuring information remains accessible and understandable. This involves detailed documentation of data sources, content, and lineage to support efficient data utilization and meet regulatory compliance.

Data Privacy Regulations: Compliance with domestic and international legal frameworks is ensured, protecting against legal and reputational risks. Awareness of evolving legislation, such as GDPR and CCPA, guides the implementation of policies and procedures that uphold data integrity and confidentiality.

Master Data Management: Policies, procedures, and technologies are implemented to manage critical data across multiple systems and platforms consistently and accurately. A unified, reliable view of business-critical information is created, enhancing decision-making and operational efficiency.

Data Lifecycle Management: The integrity, accessibility, and security of data from creation to retirement are managed meticulously. Policies and procedures are leveraged to align with regulatory compliance and business objectives, protecting data assets against misuse and loss.

Data Policy Development: Guidelines and standards are crafted to dictate the secure, ethical, and effective management of data assets. Collaboration with stakeholders across departments ensures policies are comprehensive and practical, safeguarding data integrity and supporting its strategic use.

Data Governance Specialist Work Environment

A Data Governance Specialist typically operates in a modern office setting, often within the tech departments of larger corporations or specialized data management firms. Their workspace is usually equipped with high-performance computers and multiple monitors to efficiently handle large datasets and complex data governance software. The nature of the job demands a quiet environment to facilitate concentration, with noise levels generally kept to a minimum.

Work hours for this role can be standard, but project deadlines may necessitate flexibility, including occasional late hours or weekends. Many organizations offer remote work options, acknowledging the digital nature of the tasks. Interaction with team members and departments is frequent, necessitating good communication skills, though much of the work is independent.

The culture within these teams leans towards collaboration and continuous learning, with a strong emphasis on professional development through workshops, conferences, and courses. This environment supports a balance between work and personal life, recognizing the importance of downtime for overall productivity.

Advancement Prospects

A Data Governance Specialist can advance to roles such as Data Governance Manager or Chief Data Officer (CDO), focusing on broader strategic objectives and policy development. Progression often involves taking on larger projects, demonstrating leadership in data governance frameworks, and contributing to significant improvements in data quality and compliance.

To achieve these advancements, specialists should excel in implementing data standards, policies, and practices. Gaining experience in data management tools and technologies is crucial. Demonstrating success in cross-functional team leadership and project management can pave the way for higher responsibilities.

Engaging in high-impact data governance projects showcases one’s ability to handle complex data ecosystems. This exposure is vital for moving into roles that require oversight of an organization’s data governance strategy and implementation.


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