Qualifications of data protection officers


A data protection officer ensures that a company complies with the data protection guidelines. This includes data protection in digital form as well as the security of all documents and contracts that are filed in paper form. You can find out in this article what qualifications a data protection officer should have.

Requirements for data protection according to GDPR

Legally, the job of the data protection officer is not associated with a specific training. Even specialised knowledge is not available. Instead, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulates that the activities of data protection officers depend on the processes necessary for the protection of data in the context of data processing operations.

In concrete terms, this means that data protection officers need the qualifications necessary for successful data protection in a company. The GDPR requires the appointment of a data protection officer in the company on the basis of three factors. These three factors are:

professional qualifications
Expertise in data protection related to law and practice
the ability to perform the tasks listed in Article 39 GDPR

These three factors are the basis for success as a data protection officer. The tasks defined in the GDPR specify the requirements placed on data protection officers.

Article 39 of the GDPR

Article 39 defines 5 tasks for data protection officers:

Advising and informing those responsible and employees who process data. This advice is based on the requirements of the GDPR, the rules of the EU and the Member States.
Monitoring of compliance with the requirements in the GDPR or other data protection regulations. This includes the allocation of responsibilities and training for the topic, including the review.
On request, consultations on the impact assessment of data protection.
Cooperation with the supervisory authority
Contact point for the supervisory authority in case of questions about data processing in the company

These tasks should be mastered by a data protection officer. The expertise comes primarily from study or through self-appropriation and further training.

Requirements for data protection officers

The tasks of data protection officers are known. The activities, on the other hand, depend heavily on what the individual job requires. The more data is collected in a company in different ways, the more demanding the job of a data protection officer becomes.

However, there are certain minimum requirements which basically describe the qualifications of data protection officers. At the very least, a data protection officer should have these prerequisites:

Data protection officers should have extensive knowledge of data protection law. This also includes the implementation of technical and organizational measures to ensure data protection.

The technology used to ensure data protection must be mastered by a data protection officer. This is one of the technical requirements for data protection, because without the technical know-how, the measures cannot be implemented.

Specific knowledge related to the company and its departments is also important. Which types of data are collected depends heavily on the company. Where a lot of customer data is collected, the effort is higher than in companies that, for example, only collect the data of their employees.

Data protection officers must be able to analyze log files and verify data.

When searching for a data protection officer, you should pay attention to these requirements.


Data protection officers should have certain qualifications to ensure data protection in a company. This includes, among other things, the handling of the technology necessary for the implementation of the data protection measures.