Required educationBachelor's degree in information technology, business administration, data science or a related field.
Skills needed
  • In-depth knowledge of data modeling, data integration and data configuration.
  • Strong understanding of database concepts.
  • Proficiency in data governance and quality tools and SQL scripting and macros.
  • Analytical and problem-solving abilities.
  • Effective task prioritization.
Experience2-5 years in data management, governance or analysis roles, with a preference for additional experience in business or a related industry.
Key responsibilities
  • Oversee the development and implementation of data standards and policies.
  • Ensure the accuracy and integrity of data.
  • Facilitate collaboration between IT and business units.
  • Manage data compliance with regulations.
  • Promote ethical data handling practices.
Annual wage (2024)$60,000 to $99,000 in the U.S., depending on experience and location.

A data steward plays a crucial role in data governance, ensuring the quality, accessibility and security of data within an organization. They are guardians of data quality who are responsible for the management of data resources within an organization. The role is crucial for upholding data accuracy, facilitating compliance with stringent regulations and enabling informed decision-making processes.

Data stewards collaborate closely with IT departments and business units, translating complex data governance policies into practical, actionable steps. As businesses increasingly rely on data-driven decision-making, the need for skilled data stewards has never been more pronounced. For those considering this career path, it’s essential to understand the role’s responsibilities, the current job market and the skills required for the job.

Current data steward job market

According to Mordor Intelligence, the data governance market itself is on a rapid growth trajectory, with projections indicating a leap from a valuation of around $3.27 billion in 2024 to an impressive $8.03 billion by 2029, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 19.72%. This expansion highlights the increasing investment in data management and governance infrastructure, further emphasizing the critical need for skilled data stewards across all sectors.

Companies at the forefront of technology, finance, healthcare and more are actively seeking data stewards to navigate the complexities of modern data ecosystems and leverage data as a strategic asset. As a result, the job market for data stewards is witnessing a significant upswing into 2024 as the demand for data governance and management expertise widens.

SEE: Explore the differences between data governance and data management.

According to Glassdoor, the salary for a data steward in the United States ranges from $60,000 to $99,000, with an average salary of approximately $71,941 per year, reflecting the role’s growing importance in ensuring data quality and compliance. This salary range can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location and the specific industry sector.

Companies such as Veeva Systems, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Santander, which represent a cross-section of industries, from technology and pharmaceuticals to banking, are among the top payers for data steward roles, offering salaries ranging from $92,164 to $112,323 per year.

Key responsibilities of a data steward

Data stewards are tasked with a broad range of responsibilities, including:

  • Developing and implementing data standards and policies: They establish guidelines that govern data management practices, ensuring consistency and compliance across the organization.
  • Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of data: Data stewards conduct regular audits and quality checks to maintain high data standards, addressing discrepancies and errors to uphold data reliability.
  • Facilitating collaboration between IT and business stakeholders: By acting as intermediaries, they ensure data strategies align with business objectives, fostering a cohesive approach to data governance.
  • Managing data compliance initiatives: Data stewards navigate the complex landscape of regulatory requirements, ensuring that data handling practices adhere to legal standards and industry regulations.
  • Championing ethical data handling practices: They advocate for responsible data use, emphasizing privacy, security and ethical considerations in all data-related activities.

What skills and experience do data stewards need?

To excel as a data steward in 2024, a blend of educational background, specialized skills and practical experience is essential. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Educational background: A bachelor’s degree in information technology, business administration, data science or a related field is a typical requirement. Advanced degrees or specialized certifications in data governance, data management or related technologies can significantly enhance a candidate’s profile.
  • Certifications: Certifications such as the Certified Data Management Professional or certifications specific to data governance platforms and tools can provide a competitive edge.
  • Technical skills: Proficiency in database management systems, SQL and data warehousing is crucial alongside understanding of data modeling principles and practices. Experience with data governance and quality tools like Informatica, Collibra or Alation is highly valued, while familiarity with programming languages such as Python, R or SQL is key for effective collaboration with developers and data scientists.
  • Analytical skills: Strong analytical capabilities to identify data quality issues, interpret data trends and provide insights for data-driven decision-making.
  • Collaboration and communication: Effective communication skills to liaise between IT and business units, translating technical data concepts into business insights. Collaborative skills are essential for working with cross-functional teams to implement data governance policies and standards.
  • Experience: Two to five years of experience in data-related roles, with a focus on data management, governance or analysis. Hands-on experience with data standards, policies and compliance regulations is highly valued.

Next steps toward a data stewardship role

For a successful transition into a data stewardship role, the journey involves continuous learning and active engagement with the field of data governance. To remain competitive, it’s important to build a solid foundation in data management principles, stay updated on industry trends and constantly seek opportunities for hands-on experience in data projects.

Aside from the technical aspects, don’t underestimate the power of networking with professionals in the field, including DevOps engineers, cybersecurity professionals and CIOs, and participating in relevant forums and conferences, as these can also provide valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities.

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Learn the latest news and best practices about data science, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, data security, and more. Delivered Mondays and Thursdays