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Data management specialist: Role and skill set for success – VentureBeat

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The world is overflowing with information and with that comes the rise of a job with the responsibility for keeping it straight: the data management specialist. Someone must organize the files, curate the databases, synchronize the feeds and handle all of the tasks essential to building trust in this data. 
The job itself is new and it shares the role with a number of other titles that sound similar, such as data scientist, customer data analyst or business intelligence specialist. There are often subtle differences and the roles are evolving, but all bear responsibility for making sure that their enterprise is able to make sound decisions from accurate information. 
Many surveys show that jobs with titles like “data analyst” or “data scientist” are some of the hardest for organizations to fill, making data management specialists an in-demand skill. 
The need for data management specialists arose when businesses realized that they needed more people to take responsibility for the quality and permanence of the data. Their relationships with their customers and suppliers are stored in the data files and preserving these details is essential for maintaining the enterprise. 
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At the same time, many new ventures for companies begin with finding better ways to analyze the data. The marketing team wants to understand how customers are making decisions by looking at all of the digital clues available. The websites, advertising companies and storefront systems generate many digital details that marketing teams want to use to find the best way to inform end users and convert them into customers. A good data management specialist often sits in the nexus that supports these efforts. 
New products and services often have a substantial data storage role that’s part of the product. Many of the devices that are part of the internet of things (IoT) report back to their home company with telemetry, and the data management specialist must find efficient ways to store and analyze the information. Often, a substantial part of the value of the product depends upon the extra insight that comes from the data storage. 
Another important function of the data management specialist is maintaining the infrastructure of the enterprise. Warehouses and assembly lines depend upon good data management specialists to track all of the company’s assets. Supply chain management and manufacturing support are essential functions because these jobs can’t be done without software that organizes and guides the workflow. 
In many companies, there are often different types of data management specialists that are taking on the responsibilities. Some are more technical than others. Some have a long career working with marketing teams. All bring something to the table. 
There are also often people who play a key role, but work in other parts of the organization chart. Data management specialists must often work closely with the other parts of the IT structure, including programmers and devops teams. 
“I see the development community as being an absolutely essential stakeholder to all of this,”  explains Ryan Fleisch, director of product marketing for profile and activation at Adobe. “It’s not like marketers are doing these things, start to finish.” 
Also read: Don’t take data for granted
As the role of data management specialists evolve, the required skill set is also changing. Many need to grow into the role by acquiring these skills on the job. Here are 12 desirable skills for the role: 
This is a long wishlist and no one person can deliver all of these skills. Managers would want to assemble a team that complements each other so they can work together to get the best data to help make better data-driven business decisions.  
Enterprises are also encouraged to work with outside vendors to pair their data management specialists with the best tools available. This allows the in-house team to focus on better using and applying their data. 
“I think the ability for a [marketing team] to actually do these sort of more advanced things with the data, though, is often very limited by the resources that they have available,” noted Kevin Yang, co-CEO at Idiomatic, a company that specializes in using AI (artificial intelligence) to understand customer data. “To do what we do in-house would require a team of machine learning people and other engineers. Some people have built classifiers in house to do what we do, but that’s only at the very largest companies.”
Read next: How AI could help enterprises to reduce data storage costs
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