Becoming A Data Protection Officer: All You Need to Know

8 July 2021
 Categories: Business, Blog


The increased use of digital technologies and the processing and sharing of personal data by organisations globally have made data protection invaluable. That's because data breaches have far-reaching consequences, including identity theft, fraud, lawsuits, losses, etc. Therefore, organisations continually strive to remain compliant with existing data protection regulations. With that in mind, data protection officers have become some of the most highly sought-after professionals. If you are thinking of building your career as a data protection officer, here are some crucial things you need to know first.

Understanding The Role of Data Protection Officers

The first step to kickstarting your career is to know what your responsibilities as a data protection officer will be. Generally, data protection officers are independent experts who advise organisations on compliance with data protection regulations. Their tasks may include, among other tasks, ensuring that organisations apply the existing data protection laws effectively and follow legislations appropriately, conducting regular data security risks assessments and audits, designing organisations' data protection guidance documents, informing and advising people in organisations of their data privacy rights, and training staff on data processing, protection, and privacy.

Education and Qualifications

Like all professions, you require specific qualifications and training to become a data protection officer. Generally, there are no formal qualifications you need to be a data protection officer. However, it would be best to have background education in information-related fields such as information security, cybersecurity, and data management. It's also crucial to have a strong background in data protection laws and other related legislations.

Besides education in the mentioned fields, it is also best to enrol in data protection training schemes or courses. In most cases, you will need to undertake a course in data protection regulations. Your experience can also make a difference regarding the kind of course to take. In most cases, this is when you already practise as a data protection officer and want to undertake accelerated or advanced certified courses. Depending on the number of years you have been working as a data protection officer, you may skip the required training and only sit certification exams. Your selected training school or centre will be able to guide you on this.

Guiding Principles

A few guiding principles come into play when thinking of training as a data protection officer. One of the most significant of these guiding principles is that data protection officers have to work independently. Therefore, if you are an employee seeking to train and work as a data protection officer for your employer, you will need to work without any instructions from your employer, which isn't always practical.

Look into data protection officer training courses for more information.