Data collection continues to grow as a priority for organizations to support their mission and activities. It takes the right kind of professional who can manage data as an asset and use it to put an organization’s vision into motion. This dream professional is called a Chief Data Officer (or CDO).

Want to know more about what it takes to be a CDO? Then this article is for you! Read further to find out more about this data science career and the skills and training you’ll need to excel.

What is a Chief Data Officer (CDO)

CDOs develop an organization’s data and information strategy that support business decisions and growth. They are responsible for collecting and analyzing data that helps their company meet its objectives.

A CDO also leads teams to improve and streamline data systems within the company, and drive innovation. A CDO works with an organization’s executive leadership to plan for growing data assets and transform these assets into emerging products or services.

A Chief Data Officer’s salary can range between $135,000 to $265,000 a year. The Occupational Handbook from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in this data science field will grow over 11 percent by the year 2026.

Chief Data officers can are in a variety of industries in both public and private sectors. Fortune 1000 companies have long hired CDO’s to absorb the duties to manage and protect data on their massive lists of products. CDO’s are a new concept for public sector agencies that have their own list of best practices to use data to improve services.

Fortune 1000 media and technology companies used to be the best place to land a job as a CDO. These businesses were the first to use web and mobile technology to create awareness of their services and products. Other consumer businesses now also offer these jobs to help manage data on their huge product inventory lists as well as for services such as hospitality or travel.

Common Paths to Promotion

Most CDO’s you meet will have over 10 years of working experience in either a Data Science or Senior Data Analytics position in a business environment. The public sector CDO will likely have the same number of years of work experience at similar positions as well as experience promoting analytics to diverse audiences. Once hired as a CDO, this position usually becomes a member of the organization’s executive leadership team.

Job Responsibilities

Typical responsibilities you’ll find in any CDO job description include the following:

Draft Policies and procedures

CDO’s organize and put in place policies and procedures to manage information assets. These policies cover topics such as collecting, managing and protecting data. A CDO also establishes standards for a uniform system development that covers minor details like uniform abbreviations used throughout the system

Ensure Data Quality

The CDO must safeguard the company’s current data quality. The CDO will supervise staff find data defects and their root cause. Armed with this knowledge, the CDO can the lead their teams to clean up corrupt data and install defect prevention efforts.

Protect Data Privacy and Security

Another important data-related responsibility for a CDO is to safeguard data privacy. Once data becomes a company asset, it’s important to protect anyone’s access to it. CDOs are up to date on privacy laws that protect data and how to recover it if security is broken

Create Business Intelligence platforms

CDOs lead teams to build intelligence platforms that provides their company with easy access to business data. Easy access to this data will help company leaders know where to cut costs or increase spending.

Analyze Business Performance Metrics

CDO’s also know how to analyze performance metrics. These metrics help show a company if they are making progress towards their business goals. When CDOs analyze these metrics, they can find ways to improve their products or make better long-term decisions.


A CDO works with a variety of statistical techniques that examine past and present facts to make predictions about the future. They are familiar with using data mining and predictive modeling to validate analytics.

Most CDO’s are in charge of other data analysts or data science departments. So it’s important that these professionals are able to convey information with clarity to their direct reports so that they can reach company goals.

A CDO should also have a collaborative nature because he/she will have to interact with stakeholders, and leadership to make changes throughout an organization. They must be open to hearing all suggestions and able to explain complex details to non-technical department personnel. This level of collaboration will ensure the efficient application of data analytics across the entire organization.

Education Requirements

Most chief data officers have a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or a related field. Some professionals may choose to pursue a graduate degree in fields like Management Information Systems, Statistics or Data Science to complement their expertise.

Online degree programs are also now a rising trend to meet the educational needs of these professionals. A study from the University of California at Riverside reported that US businesses will be 50 percent short of the number of qualified data science professionals needed in this country before the year is over. That’s why the race is on to create accessible online graduate programs that align with time commitments and career goals.

Learn More

Does a Chief Data Officer job sound like the career for you? Then your future starts here today! Companies are looking high and low for a leader who can manage their organization’s data that supports their company’s growth. You might be the person they’re looking for.

Decide if you want to dedicate your talents to the private or public sector. Best practices and industry standards are bound to differ. Be sure to check our website for more information on how data science jobs might be the dream career that’s waiting for you.

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