What Does a Data Steward Do?

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  • Written By: L.K. Blackburn
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2020
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A data steward is employed by a business to provide management and advocacy for data. They serve as a liaison between the information technology, marketing, sales, and accounting departments. Beyond coordinating the use of data, data stewards also manage programmers, database administrators, and network security specialists. Every business collects a large amount of data that needs to be distributed, analyzed, and protected. Data stewards ensure every piece of information gathered by a company is used effectively and efficiently.

The collection of data is supervised by a data steward. They work with software developers and website administrators to ensure all needed information is gathered uniformly and is easily accessible by other departments. In practice, this means working with database administrators to build an end-user accessible system of storage and reporting methods. Data stewards also set the standards for data models and data dictionaries within a company.

Beyond gathering data, another function of the data steward is to extrapolate conclusions from collected facts and statistics. These conclusions are then presented to company management with the steward's plans and recommendations. For example, website traffic data and activity patterns collected by a website administrator may be presented to other departments along with the data steward explaining trends and plans for improvement.


Data integrity is also a responsibility of the data steward. Working alongside system administrators, they supervise the movement of data from one system to another during equipment and software upgrades. Stewards also coordinate and supervise the testing and troubleshooting of data systems before they are released to users.

Standards for data backup, duplication, and secure storage can be managed by data stewards. They also work with network security specialists to protect collected information from potential malicious outside interference. Auditing of data collection and internal data usage is another role fulfilled by data stewards functioning as data custodians. Stewards also consult with database administrators to achieve optimal performance of all database systems. Websites, internal software programs, and company email are all run by databases.

An individual may become a data steward after first working in the information technology field as a database administrator, software developer, or network systems specialist. Significant experience within the field or within a company may be necessary to obtain a job. A college degree in a relevant field is also usually required. Organizational skill and problem solving ability is important to have as a data steward. Leadership ability and public speaking also serve a crucial role because data stewards manage others and present collected information.


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Post 1

Are there any other titles for a data steward? Maybe a metadata analyst?

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