What Is a Digital Transformation Specialist?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

With technology advancing rapidly, companies need digital transformation more than ever. Learn what digital transformation specialists are, what they do, and how to become one.

[Featured Image] A digital transformation specialist stands at her desk and uses her laptop to brainstorm ideas for reimagining a product for her organization.

Digital transformation is essential for businesses to keep up with consumer expectations and the evolving landscape in the business world. When companies need to modernize, a digital transformation specialist can help incorporate technology into the business. 

Explore this exciting job role and learn about daily duties and responsibilities, required skills, average salary, and what steps you need to become a digital transformation specialist.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation involves updating a business by integrating digital technology into specific areas. The process of digital transformation can benefit a company in many ways. These include: 

  • Enhanced customer experiences

  • Improved company culture

  • Better operational efficiency

  • Lower operating costs

  • Higher product or service quality

  • Tightened company security

What does a digital transformation specialist do?

Using expertise in business and technology, a digital transformation specialist assesses the technological needs of a company based on their knowledge of the company's culture, policies, practices, and operations. The digital transformation specialist then recommends strategies for incorporating necessary changes and assists in making changes as needed. 

Digital transformation specialist duties and responsibilities 

A digital transformation specialist can either work for a company as a full-time employee or consult with a company as an independent contractor or a member of a digital transformation firm. Some everyday duties you might encounter as a digital transformation specialist include:

  • Surveying company processes and recommending more efficient methods

  • Analyzing organizational data and making relevant recommendations

  • Consulting with department heads to determine digital needs

  • Identifying tools and methods that can help a company achieve its digital goals 

  • Recommending flexible digital changes that can grow with a company

  • Recommending changes to products or services to lower manufacturing costs

  • Assisting a company with the integration of digital technology

Essential skills of a digital transformation specialist

Various workplace and technical skills can benefit you in a digital transformation specialist role. Workplace skills involve those that help you interact with other people at work, and these skills transfer from job to job. Technical skills involve those that help you perform your specific job duties.

Workplace skills employers might look for when hiring a digital transformation specialist include:

  • Excellent oral and written communication

  • Ability to collaborate with others

  • Ability to think critically and strategically

  • Flexibility

  • Leadership skills

  • Problem-solving skills

Technical skills employers might look for when hiring a digital transformation specialist include: 

  • Experience with computer programming languages like C/C++, Java, Python, and SQL

  • Knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing

  • Experience with software development using Agile and DevOps methodologies

  • Familiarity with blockchain technology

  • Familiarity with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies

  • Knowledge of data analytics

Digital transformation specialist salary and job outlook

To get an idea of what you could earn annually in a digital transformation specialist position, consider the broader category of business operations specialist. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a business operations specialist makes a mean annual wage of $82,870 [1]. Although the BLS doesn't offer a job outlook for digital transformation specialists, they expect higher-than-average growth for business jobs in general from 2022 to 2032 [2]. 

Where do digital transformation specialists work?

As mentioned, digital transformation specialists may hold a full-time position with a company or work for a company in a consulting role. Since all businesses need to stay abreast of current technological trends, companies across a variety of industries benefit from the skills of a digital transformation specialist. Types of industries might include:

  • Agriculture

  • Banking

  • Energy

  • Government

  • Health care

  • Insurance

  • Retail

  • Manufacturing

  • Telecommunications

  • Wellness

How to become a digital transformation specialist

For success in the job, a digital transformation specialist requires knowledge and skills in business and technology. The template below provides an example of one pathway for getting the education and work experience you'll need for the position. 

Earn a bachelor's degree. 

A computer science or business administration degree provides a solid educational foundation for a digital transformation specialist role. Since this job requires knowledge in both fields, you may want to consider a minor in whichever field you don't choose. Depending on your bachelor's choice, a master's in an area like business administration or digital transformation can also enhance your knowledge and career prospects. 

Acquire professional certificates.

For an alternative that might cost less than a master's degree, consider acquiring professional certificates. A certificate offered by educational institutions, professional organizations, or corporate experts confirms that you've gained the skills and knowledge to complete specific tasks or job duties. It differs from certification, which refers to training a specific industry requires to work in or advance to a particular position, like a certified public accountant (CPA) or project management professional (PMP).

The time it will take to finish a certificate program will likely vary from six months to two years, depending on the specific course. To gain knowledge for a digital transformation specialist role, consider certificates in digital transformation, data analytics, AI and cloud computing, project management, and user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) design. 

Get relevant work experience. 

Many employers require at least five years of work experience for a digital transformation specialist position. Roles that offer relevant work experience include:

  • Business analyst

  • Customer experience (CX) designer

  • Digital innovation coordinator

  • Digital project assistant

  • IT consultant

  • Project manager 

Learn on your own.

Various learning strategies can help you build digital transformation skills on your own. Stay abreast of industry news by reading blogs and magazine articles, and enhance your knowledge of change management with books. Build on your leadership abilities by seeking opportunities to lead at work or through volunteer projects. Sign up for digital transformation webinars and follow the latest thought leaders in the industry. 

Build your business knowledge and technical skills on Coursera.

Digital transformation is essential to remain competitive in today’s business environment. Sharpen your skills with beginner-friendly courses like Digital Transformation with Google Cloud to learn more about the business side of a digital transformation specialist role with the Business Foundations Specialization offered by the University of Pennsylvania, both available on Coursera. Throughout this six-course online series, you can learn about critical aspects of business like accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and operations management. 

For the final capstone project, you'll apply all the knowledge and skills you learn to a real-world business problem. Then, you'll receive a certificate of completion to share with college admissions boards or prospective employers. 

To further your technical skills for this role, consider taking courses like Computer Science: Programming With a Purpose offered by Princeton University or Introduction to Data Analytics from IBM on Coursera. 

Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022: 13-1199 Business Operations Specialists, All Other, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/ oes131199.htm#nat." Accessed March 10, 2024.

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