Know how: Data steward in the job profile

from | 9 July 2024 | Basics

The role of a data steward cannot be overemphasised in today's information age and in view of the increasing need for big data. This is particularly important for companies that want to utilise their data effectively. 

A data steward guards and protects data and ensures its security, quality and integrity. They play an important role in ensuring that the data within an organisation is not compromised. In this way, the organisation's data remains accurate and fully accessible. 

What is a data steward?

A data steward (or data manager) enforces the security guidelines and the use of data bywhich are used in the Data governance strategye of the organisation. They combine technical, data science and communication skills to ensure seamless collaboration with teams across the organisation. They continuously champion new ways to optimise the use of data.

They also act as Liaisons between the business and IT departments of the organisation. Data stewards are adept at data management and versatile in building interpersonal relationships, which enables them to collaborate with various stakeholders.

A company can employ different data stewards depending on the tasks they are to perform. 

A Domain Data Steward For example, manages the reference data and attributes, such as customer data, for a business domain unit. He works together with managers in all departments to manage important Data to track and monitor the progress of the project.

A Business Data Steward manages the relevant transaction and reference data for an individual business function. They optimise the data in their function to ensure compliance. Examples of this are sales and marketing data managers who take care of ROI.

A System Data Steward manages data across IT systems. They are responsible for a company-wide data warehouse. As a function, they also set priorities for the data life cycle in their systems and for the use of data by other applications.

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Data governance enables functioning frameworks and standards for the management, access control and use of big data to optimally exploit the potential of data analytics.

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Tasks of a data steward

The most important tasks and responsibilities of a data steward include the following:

  • Data quality managementEstablish and enforce data standards and policies to ensure data accuracy, consistency and reliability
  • Data governanceCompliance with regulations and the responsible use of data within the organisation, testing further innovative ways to improve the company-wide Data Culture to promote
  • Data integrationData integration from different sources and data harmonisation to ensure consistency across the company
  • Data documentationMaintenance and comprehensive documentation of data sources, definitions and utilisation for support, data transparency and Traceability
  • Data securityImplementation of security protocols and data access controls to protect sensitive information
  • Cooperation in data management (Data Stewardship Collaboration): Solving data problems and improving data stewardship practices through collaboration with data owners and users
  • Training and support: Managing and training staff in data management practices and in the use of data tools and systems
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Skills of a data steward

The skills of a data steward can be divided into two categories: Hard Skills and Soft Skills. 

Hard Skills

Data managementRequires a solid understanding of data management principles, including data lifecycle and architecture.
SQL and databasesThe data steward must have knowledge of SQL and an understanding of relational Databases for the management of data.
Data governanceThe data steward must understand data governance frameworks and best practices.
Data qualityThe data steward must have extensive experience with Data quality and profiling tools. Examples include, but are not limited to, Informatica, Talend and Trillium.
Regulation and complianceA data steward should be familiar with Data protection laws and regulations such as the GDPR, Data Act and GDPR.
ETL toolsThis includes sufficient knowledge in dealing with ETL tools (Extract, Transform, Load) for data integration and conversion.
Hard skills of a data steward

Soft skills

Data managers need some soft skills to complement the hard skills mentioned above. An important soft skill is a good Communication skillsto collaborate with stakeholders. Excellence is essential to maintain data accuracy and integrity. You also need good analytical skills to understand and interpret complex data and gain actionable insights. 

In addition, strong problem-solving skills are crucial for recognising and solving data-related tasks.

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How do you become a data steward?

The profession of data steward requires a solid education in computer science, information technology or data management. Although some roles in data infrastructure management require a master's degree or specialised certifications, a bachelor's degree is also common. Some of the most important courses in these programmes include data management, database systems, data governance and data security.

There are several ways to become a data steward, from universities to online courses to professional certifications. 

  • University degreesThese include a Bachelor's or Master's degree in relevant fields such as data science, information systems or business analysis. The programme takes around three to four years for a Bachelor's degree and one to two years for a Master's degree.
  • Online coursesFor self-paced learning, online platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udacity offer courses and certifications in the areas of data management and data governance. Depending on the intensity of the course and the experience of the learner, these courses require different amounts of time, ranging from a few months to a year.
  • Professional certificationsThese programmes offer certifications such as the Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) or the Data Governance and Stewardship Professional (DGSP). They are essential for enhancing credentials and portfolios, especially for the self-employed. Professional certifications require several weeks to months of studying and passing exams.

Regardless of the path taken to become a data steward, it is essential to educate yourself and keep up to date with the latest trends and advances in data governance and management in order to build a career as a data steward.

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Career paths: The job market for data stewards

The labour market for data administrators has developed rapidly in recent times. The reason for this is the Increasing importance of data for decision-making in companies across all industries and that companies recognise that they need dedicated professionals to manage data assets and comply with data protection laws. As a result, the demand for data stewards is increasing in many industries. These include healthcare, finance, manufacturing and information technology.

The career paths of data stewards lead to positions such as Data Governance Manager, Data Quality Analyst or Chief Data Officer. These paths enable data stewards with advanced skills and experience to take on strategic positions and shape an organisation's data policies and procedures.

As they have a wealth of skills and expertise, data steward salaries are competitive. For example, data stewards in entry-level positions can start at €60,000 per year. Experienced professionals in larger organisations, on the other hand, can expect to earn €100,000 or more per year.

Alexander Thamm GmbH also regularly employs and is looking for Data Steward (m/f/d) and various roles in the areas of data governance, compliance and data security at all career levels. Find out more in our Job openingswhat vacancies we currently have - maybe we'll see you soon in person at your new workplace.



Pat has been responsible for Web Analysis & Web Publishing at Alexander Thamm GmbH since the end of 2021 and oversees a large part of our online presence. In doing so, he beats his way through every Google or Wordpress update and is happy to give the team tips on how to make your articles or own websites even more comprehensible for the reader as well as the search engines.

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