What Do You Need to Become a Data Protection Officer?

Organisations or businesses store lots of crucial and sensitive information about their business, transactions, customers and employees. Contact information, including names, addresses, emails, telephone numbers, health information and financial information including bank and credit card details is some of the information a company stores. For this reason, data privacy and protection have become increasingly important for organisations to protect such data from fraudulent activities like identity theft, hacking and phishing. Many companies are looking for data protection officers to help with their data protection and privacy policies and best practices. Therefore, it has become one of the most lucrative careers. However, like any other career, it would help to know a few things about it first, especially if you are interested in venturing into it. Here's an in-depth guide on what you need to become a data protection officer.

Educational Requirements

Data protection officers' responsibilities largely revolve around privacy and data usage and protection. Generally, there are rarely any specific qualifications to becoming one. However, having background education or knowledge in related fields can go a long way in giving you an edge in your goal of becoming a data protection officer. For instance, some background in cybersecurity, information technology, auditing, privacy, compliance, information governance, privacy law, computer science, etc., will come in handy when seeking a career in data protection.

Experience in such fields can also be helpful even if you do not have the classroom knowledge. You may have done some research for some time in the area or worked in a similar field. All these will pay off in becoming a data protection officer.


Training is the most significant aspect of becoming a data protection officer. It entails several components. First, your experience in data protection may determine the training you need. For instance, if you have previously taken a foundation course in general data protection regulations, you may only need a certified training course in data protection. In some cases where you are already a data protection officer seeking a promotional advantage or position or want to be certified, you may only need to sit an exam. However, this will often depend on your experience level.

Duration and modes of training vary from one training centre to another. Therefore, compare different training institutions to choose one that works best for you. In addition, several topics are covered in data protection officer training courses. For instance, you will learn and understand privacy law history and regulations, your responsibilities as a data protection officer, international data transfers, data types including special category data and personal data, etc.

For more information on data protection officer training, contact a professional near you.