Data privacy in the digital economy: A valuable skill in the tech era

Concerns over data privacy has been growing in recent years.

By U2B Staff 

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Receiving push-notifications on your phone about discounts whenever you’re in a certain location. Scanning a QR code to key in your personal information. Writing down your personal details prior to entering a restaurant or supermarket in light of COVID-19. These are just a handful of examples of how our personal data are being collected or used on a daily basis, giving rise to the importance of data privacy by consumers, businesses and policymakers. 

As data privacy awareness grows among consumers, both small and large organisations will have to bolster efforts to secure their customer’s trust by ensuring that they collect, store or use data correctly. Not everyone has expertise in the area, and this practice can give organisations a competitive edge when done correctly. 

This makes it advantageous for professionals to upskill in data privacy and security to improve their literacy in the field as technology is woven into a myriad aspects of business, whether or not it affects customers to individuals and teams within an organisation. 

An understanding of data privacy laws or issues and the ability to apply them is an asset for professionals across a range of roles, be it marketers to human resource professionals.

If you’re interested to upskill in the field, here are some options for you:


Postgraduate studies

Depending on your area of work or specialisation, many universities offer postgraduate programmes in cybersecurity, privacy law and data protection management, to name a few, that professionals can build their skill set in.

Whether you have a background in IT or law, programmes in the field can help you develop a specialisation in the field, while some are interdisciplinary in nature to equip you with the legal and technical aspects of data privacy. Some programmes can be done on a part-time or full-time basis.


Continuing studies

Professionals without legal or IT-related backgrounds who want to gain some knowledge in data privacy can apply for certificate programmes in universities that offer continuing studies.

For instance, York University offers a certificate programme in information privacy, a six-month long course for individuals of any backgrounds. The course equips students with fundamental knowledge in information principles, legal concepts, operational methods and emerging technologies that define privacy practice today. It aims to improve your privacy awareness and contribute to better the privacy practices within the organisations you serve or work within. 


Online learning

Online learning platforms such as Coursera offer numerous privacy-related courses online for professionals to upskill in. 

For example, Some of the subjects offered on Coursera include Privacy Law and Data Protection, Data Privacy Fundamentals and Data Science Ethics. edX also offers programmes such as Data Privacy Awareness and Digital Security and Human Rights.

If you need to develop a basic understanding in data privacy or a related field, these short online courses can give you a taste of what the course entails, and help you decide if further study in a particular area is right for you. 

Without a doubt, as data privacy grows in importance, gaining some foundational knowledge in the field can prove useful for professionals across industries.