There is a contradiction: Consumer data is a valuable commodity. Many companies partner with advertisers and various third parties that package and resell data. Yet their customers also worry about their privacy from such uses. Friction between the privacy team and business development types exists in some cases, Hughes concedes.
Where the privacy jobs are for IT
If you're looking for a privacy-related position, look beyond jobs that say "privacy" in the subject line of a posting, advises Hughes. A quick search of Dice.com, a large IT-focused job board, suggests he's right.
If you set the Dice's search engine to only look for jobs with "privacy" in the title, a mere 35 slots pop up. But search for "privacy" in the job descriptions and you'll get more than 900 hits. For example, listings like one for an OnBase administrator for MemorialCare Health System require familiarity with HIPAA privacy regulations, while a job in Texas for a SharePoint administrator demands knowledge of best privacy practices.
It's worth noting that some of those listings mention privacy only in passing, while others position privacy as a notable skill.
The IAPP has offered privacy-related certifications since 2004 and has awarded more than 10,000 across six categories. The CIPT cert is designed for IT professionals seeking privacy training and certification and, based on demand from the IT industry, was recently relaunched in September 2014, the organization says. Since its inception, nearly 2,000 professionals have received CIPT certification.
However, it isn't clear how much of a difference these certifications will add to your paycheck, says David Foote, principal at Foote Partners, which tracks the value of IT certifications and skills.
"The marketplace is not recognizing privacy certs and skills at a level where we can produce statistically significant data to report them. In others words, not enough of the 2,648 employers who contribute benchmark data are paying extra for these skills and certifications," he says. But Foote qualified that a bit in our discussion, noting that because IT is only one component of privacy-related jobs, it is harder to separate out privacy-related IT's value.
The bottom line: Look to privacy-related skills as a way to enhance your career in IT. Because some of the definitions in this area are squishy, it might make sense to schedule informational interviews with companies that seem to be making privacy a selling point or that have been singled out as good examples of consumer-friendly privacy practices.
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