is a role in data governance right for you

Data governance is a critical function in any organization that deals with data. It involves creating and maintaining policies, procedures, and standards that govern how data is collected, stored, used, and shared. In a data-driven world, the role of data governance becomes increasingly important. But is data governance the right role for you?

Responsibilities of a data governance professional

First, it's important to understand the responsibilities of a data governance professional. These can include:

  • Creating and enforcing data standards, policies and procedures
  • Establishing and maintaining the business verbiage (i.e. the business glossary)
  • Ensuring data quality and accuracy
  • Working with the data security and privacy teams
  • Overseeing data lineage and data provenance
  • Developing the data governance framework
  • Establishing, leading, taking part of, or supporting the data governance council (depending on the data governance role)

It also involves collaborating with different teams and departments, such as IT, legal, and compliance, plus all major business departments to ensure data governance best practices are followed.

Skills and qualifications

To be successful in a data governance role, you'll need:

  • Strong understanding of data management and data governance best practices
  • Effective communication ability with different teams and departments
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Familiarity with data governance tools and technologies (data catalogs, data dictionaries, business glossaries, and data governance platforms)
  • Good business acumen and understanding of business needs and requirements
  • Collaboration with interdisciplinary teams and departments

Data governance requires a lot of meetings, a lot of conversations, a lot of creative ways to moderate discussions, get buy-in and basically introduce change in the organization when it comes to working with data. As such these are some great soft skills to have:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation

Interests and skills alignment

If you're considering a career in data governance, it's important to consider whether the role aligns with your interests and skills. Do you enjoy working with data and have a strong understanding of data management best practices? Are you comfortable working with different teams and departments, and have strong communication and analytical skills? If the answer is yes, then data governance may be the right role for you.

However, it's important to note that data governance is not just about ensuring data quality, security and privacy, but also about how data can be used to drive business value. Data Governance professionals need to understand how data can be used to improve decision-making, drive innovation and support strategic objectives.

Adaptability and continuous learning

Data Governance is a constantly evolving field, as technology and regulations change. Data Governance professionals need to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments, and be able to adapt their strategies and procedures accordingly. Not only in the data governance and technology and data fields, but also in the business industry that the organization is in. 

Willingness to continuously learn and a mindset that embraces change are essential for success in a data governance role. This is great news if you enjoy:

  • Attending conferences or workshops
  • Reading industry publications and books
  • Participating in online communities or professional organizations like DAMA international
  • Learning from courses such as the ones offered here at LightsOnData.com

Career path and opportunities

As organizations continue to collect and use more data, the demand for data governance professionals is expected to grow. There could be different roles in data governance, such as:

  • Data Governance Lead
  • Data Governance Coordinator
  • Data Steward
  • Data Governance Analyst
  • Data Custodian

Roles in data governance can also lead to other career opportunities in data management, data analytics, data science and more.

Conclusion

In summary, data governance is a critical function in any organization that deals with large amounts of data. It's a role that requires a combination of technical skills, communication skills, and business acumen. If you're interested in data management, enjoy working with different teams, and have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, then data governance may be the right role for you.

There are hiccups along the way and maybe having to deal with some more difficult personalities, but when you see the results and how those are tied to the success of the organization, data governance becomes a very fulfilling job.

If you want to learn more on how to setup or improve a data governance program, checkout my online course on Practical Data Governance: Implementation. Spoiler alert, it comes with a bunch of templates, too so it doesn't get easier than that.

Do you want to learn more?

Practical Data Governance: Implementation - online course

Learn how to implement a data governance program from scratch or improve the one you have.

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About the author 

George Firican

George Firican is the Director of Data Governance and Business Intelligence at the University of British Columbia, which is ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. His passion for data led him towards award-winning program implementations in the data governance, data quality, and business intelligence fields. Due to his desire for continuous improvement and knowledge sharing, he founded LightsOnData, a website which offers free templates, definitions, best practices, articles and other useful resources to help with data governance and data management questions and challenges. He also has over twelve years of project management and business/technical analysis experience in the higher education, fundraising, software and web development, and e-commerce industries.

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