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Technology / AI and automation

How to become a chief data officer

With the proliferation of Big Data and business analytics, more companies are looking to hire a chief data officer (CDO) to ease the responsibilities of the chief information officer.

CBR takes a look at how you can gear your career and CV towards becoming a CDO.

What the job entails

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The CDO is the executive of data and analytics for a company, so is at the head of using information as an asset to drive the company forward.

There are two different types of CDO evolving:

The first is basic level CDO, who is focused on data, data management and look at procurement and the cost side of data by taking a technology focus.

The second is the CDO looks at how to use data to drive the business with a growth agenda, and improve productivity within organisation.

Some CDOs now go further and look at data outside the organisation and use it to help the business make better decisions.

Skills required

John Morton, CTO UK and Ireland, SAS, who has closely followed the rise of the role of the CDO, tells CBR that the CDO tends to evolve their set of skills depending on issues within the business.

Hard skills

– Background in specific region – as the data subset is intrinsic to the organisation, it helps to understand how people have used data within the industry in the past.
– Programming – when building up information asset registers to understand where data is and the value of data, this can be helpful to understand data accuracy.
– Business analysis skills – it is essential to understand the risks surrounding data, particularly if working in a high-risk sector, such as finance.

Soft skills

– Collaboration – often working alongside CIO and CTO to streamline the business use of data .
– Understanding stakeholders – it is important to be able to understand the direction the company wants to go.
– Communicate on different levels of security – security is a hot topic when it comes to data, so it is vital that it is covered end-to-end.

Experience required

Morton says that ideally, CDO candidates will have a data analyst background. That doesn’t necessarily mean data science, but experience of looking at data and what data means. They must also have held a business analyst role within a large company and have some sort of managerial experience.

Salary Range

Depending on the size of the company, the salary of a CDO can range anywhere between £45,000 – £60,000, according to
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