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2018 will most likely go down in history as the year where online privacy finally got the due attention it deserved, both legislative and socially. Two separate events facilitated this; the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Cambridge Analytica expose.

While the GDPR was not the first data protection regulation globally, it was by far the most robust and strict. Not only did it afford all users certain data subject rights, but it obligated all data collectors to adhere to certain data protection principles. . Not to mention the penalties for failing to comply were incentive enough for organisations to make data privacy compliance a crucial part of their strategic decision-making.

On the other hand, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco only served to highlight just how rampant users’ data was being misused with real-world implications. The implications of this fiasco were that data privacy became a social issue rather than a corporate issue.

Naturally, lawyers have been a critical part of this equation. Whether it’s working at a regulatory authority investigating corporations accused of breaches and non-compliance with data protection regulations or at an organisation, ensuring the data collection practices are following regulations, lawyers have a pivotal role to play.

It stands to reason that the more well-equipped a lawyer is in terms of knowledge and technical expertise, the better they’ll be able to perform their jobs. Privacy certifications are the most effective way to achieve such knowledge and technical expertise.

It’s a Brave New World

The days of teams within an organisation working in silos, disconnected from one another, are over. Thanks to the leaps in technology and mostly the introduction of frameworks such as DevOps, AIOps, and PrivacyOps, teams are required to work much more collaboratively than ever before.

PrivacyOps, in particular, has taken on special significance in the past couple of years since this approach allows organisations to take a proactive approach in ensuring all their practices, products, and services are compliant with the relevant data protection laws.

Expectedly, privacy professionals are an essential piece of the overall puzzle in such a setup. Lawyers with the appropriate certifications and expertise are now expected to have a leading role in inter-organizational discussions owing to the need to remain compliant with data privacy laws.

Whether it’s working closely with the dev team to ensure the website has the proper cookie consent management system implemented or with the marketing team to ensure users’ data privacy is not compromised in creating a better user experience, privacy professionals and their skills are in high demand.

IAPP’s certifications such as the CIPP, CIPM, and CIPT are designed to educate and train privacy professionals for various aspects of data privacy-related jobs within an organisation.

A Promising Field

The IAPP began around 22 years ago. Back then, most of its certified professionals consisted of privacy officers, lobbyists, and the occasional attorney. However, that scenery has changed almost entirely. Today, professionals from varying backgrounds such as HR, marketing, and IT are signing up to begin their certifications.

This is because data privacy is still a field that is in its relative infancy. But make no mistake, as new laws and practices continue to come into effect, the need for privacy professionals will keep on increasing.

For lawyers, this represents a chance to branch out into a niche that will grow in both stature and relevancy in the coming year. Not to mention, due to their educational background, lawyers will hold a natural lead over the rest of their competition to understand the various legal jargon presented by data protection regulations.

Adaptability

This area may offer a general appeal to a lawyer of any kind. While some lawyers may find themselves naturally suited to privacy-related positions especially those practicing corporate law or corporate compliance advisory, another lawyer practicing family law may not have this predisposition.

This is where the privacy certifications offer a level playing field. Whether it’s a lawyer that wants to further hone their skills or someone that wants to switch over to being a data privacy professional, privacy certifications would allow a lawyer to make that step in their career flawlessly.

Monetary Value

To put it plainly, monetary rewards and the promise of better compensation is a great driver for most employees. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be the case for lawyers. By IAPP’s own estimates and surveys, privacy professionals with the proper credentials have seen regular surges in their yearly compensation, regardless of their region.

Furthermore, since privacy consultancy is emerging as a viable option for corporations globally, lawyers with the right credentials no longer have to remain tied in contracts with a single firm. They may offer their services on a project-by-project basis to businesses, provided there is no conflict of interest.

Certifications and credentials are likely to play an enormous role in such a world. For hiring managers, these credentials and certifications can be the critical element in distinguishing ideal candidates for their projects. In a way, the IAPP has done precisely that within the privacy world. It is considered the premier privacy certification provider, with its certifications guarantee of the right blend of knowledge and expertise.

Final Words

The world is going through a tremendous period of change right now. Traditional ways of work and jobs themselves are being reimagined and, in some cases, reinvented. Certifications have had a major contribution to this change. Over the past couple of years, independent certifications have emerged as a potent tool for individuals looking to make the next big leap in their careers or someone simply looking to add a new array of skills to their skillset.

Lawyers can do the same with privacy certifications. More importantly, for lawyers already within the world of data privacy, doing these certifications is a professional necessity. Not only does it help them ensure they’re equipped with the right set of tools and technical know-how to deal with any tasks handed to them, but it also helps them carve out a proper career plan for themselves.

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