What is a CTO? The exec who sets tech strategy

In large organisations it’s common for the CTO to have little experience in, and new to working in a technical position. In smaller and more early-stage companies the, CTO has a more hands-on technical and engineering role. Many startup CTOs are the ones coding and working with the product owner to get the first product quickly to market. They will wear multiple hats and will require the hands-on experience of a range of skills including development, DevOps, risk, governance, and security.

chief technology officer cto

Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. Being a CTO is not an individual contributor role; it’s highly collaborative. You are your network, which is why, even as I retire, I will stay active in mine. Executives and other leaders—collectively known as upper management—hold the primary decision-making power in a company. But the responsibilities and role of the CTO also depend on the company. There are typically four different kinds of CTOs, whose main duties may differ.

Hey, I share a lot of interesting insights with my people every month,

The title first developed at dot-com companies in the 1990s and then expanded to IT departments. The CTO role became popular as the information technology industry grew, but it is also used in other industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, telecommunications, and government. This type of CTO may envision how technology will be used within the company while setting the technical strategy for the company. This CTO will also look at how to further implement new technologies within the company to ensure its success.

In particular, the ability to communicate with clarity and precision to non-technologist stakeholders, be they colleagues, investors, customers, or even the CEO, has become key to success. You also need to become an influential people manager and understand that people’s problems are no longer ‘other people’s problems because if they’re your team you need to manage them. “The role of the CTO continues to evolve,” says Craig Stephenson, managing director for the North America Technology Officers Practice at organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry.

Role of the Chief Technology Officer:

The program’s immersive, 12-month learning journey covers three core modules and two asynchronous short courses . The core modules are delivered primarily through The Forum — Berkeley’s state-of-the-art virtual platform that simulates an interactive classroom chief technology officer cto environment allowing you to engage in real-time with your faculty and classmates. This highly transformative learning journey concludes with an in-person networking and graduation event on the UC Berkeley campus when safety and travel guidelines allow.

chief technology officer cto

Unfortunately, when judged by the bottom-line monitoring CIO, these activities can appear reckless, costly, and as wastes of time. CIOs mediate between internal IT teams and other departments, and CTOs develop relationships outside the company. The greatest benefit is the network of executives that you meet and interact with throughout the program journey.

The Next-Gen Chief Technology Officer

Helpful courses exist that can help you become a better leader, however. Management and leadership roles are the best steppingstones to obtaining the CTO role in an organization. A wealth of knowledge in technology will increase your probability of one day leading the technology department in an organization. Depending on the industry to which your company belongs, it might be best to focus on technology that influences your industry. In that case, it is essential to be knowledgeable in technology such as AI and IoT, as those are fundamental elements in the future of automobiles.

  • There is also a vast difference when operating as CTO in a start-up vs. CTO in a large organization – the former is often bogged down with fire fighting, the latter with managing stakeholders and corporate politics.
  • In business, the area of product development is encouraging innovation, while building new and developing technology products for customers.
  • CTOs need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or a related field, according to Indeed.
  • In any case, versatility and flexibility will be key intangible attributes, because the role of CTO continues to evolve just as fast as technology itself.
  • CTOs are vital C-level executives who share many similarities with other leadership roles.

The effective CTO is in high demand as companies of all sizes have tech major tech functions and are becoming increasingly digitalized. The salaries at a startup of a Chief Technology Officer will not be equivalent to a larger company. This can be a stepping stone for gaining experience and moving forward in your career. It is estimated that the salary hike in 2028 will be $ 2,77,740 with a 21% of increase over 5 years. However, the different circumstances that are to be considered are the size of the company and the location of the organization.

Project Manager – East Coast

Advise the chief deputy director/deputy state CIO and director/state CIO in the formulation and implementation of state IT policies to ensure they are properly formulated and implemented. Function in a consultative role with the chief deputy director/deputy state CIO relative to state and OTech initiatives, policies and standards in support of the Department of Technology’s goals and objectives. Advise the chief deputy director/deputy state CIO and director/state CIO regarding major issues confronting the department. You need to prove the capacity to execute plans, lead teams, and communicate well with others.

chief technology officer cto

Since CTOs need knowledge of every department role, experience in several different technology positions is valuable. In non-technical organizations as a corporate officer position, the CTO typically reports directly to the chief information officer and is primarily concerned with long-term and “big picture” issues . In technology-focused organizations, the CIO and CTO positions can be at the same level, with the CIO focused on the information technology and the CTO focused on the core company and other supporting technologies. CIO and CTO are both executive-level roles in organizations, however, they operate in different functions, with other daily responsibilities and goals. After spending some time working in the technology field, IT professionals with the ultimate goal of becoming a CTO should consider pursuing a master’s degree. A CTO needs to have the technological expertise and a keen business sense to be successful in a leadership role.

As with most jobs in the IT industry, the path to CTO starts with a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science-related field . In this role, a CTO will act as a liaison between the customer and the business by taking on the responsibilities of customer relations, getting a grasp on the target market, and helping deliver IT projects to market. Becoming a CTO often involves at least 15 years of IT experience, along with a graduate degree and certifications in computer sciences and business administration.

Even though I’ve got a few years under my belt as CTO I always want to be up to date on tech, both generically and within my immediate area of expertise. Data theft can be malicious with somebody hacking in a security breach, but it could be something as innocent as an API that you’ve provided to users where somebody has worked out how to get more information than they should do. Having the tracking mechanisms and automatic stops in place will prevent that. It was picked up very quickly and everything was shut down, all the API keys were changed and it was confirmed that nobody had actually used that API key whilst it was in the wild for a few minutes.

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) roles and responsibilities

Critical thinking A CTO should be engaged in thought leadership where possible. A CTO who has a specialized understanding of technology trends and target markets and harnesses this knowledge to inform the development of corporate strategy is set up for success. Besides making critical decisions alongside other company leaders, a CTO must develop policies regarding technology so that organizations run smoothly.

What is the Pay by Experience Level for Chief Technology Officer (CTO)s?

In addition to the salary, the other available benefits are Dental and Health Insurance, Bonus, Paid time off, and much more. The selected cities like Las Vegas, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have higher pay scales than the other cities. Return-to-office health and safety protocols and related software and data.

Chief Technology Officers typically work for corporations across industries to ensure the companies have the right technology to contribute to daily business operations. They work closely with Executives and IT personnel to remove outdated systems and replace them to maintain a competitive edge in their industry. Their job is to hire and train IT Directors or Managers to oversee the IT department and its employees. They may also be responsible for creating training programs to help employees adapt to new technology systems in their daily work environments. A Chief Technology Officer, or , is responsible for overseeing the effectiveness of technology resources within an organization like phone systems or software programs. Their duties include communicating with other executives, performing research on new technologies that could enhance their business and monitoring the use and implementation of new and existing technologies across departments.

For example, the CTO Team works to harness the benefits of artificial intelligence for the American people while identifying and mitigating its pitfalls. It also works to ensure the U.S. government has the capacity to use data and technology to equitably and efficiently deliver services to achieve key policy priorities. Crucially, the CTO Team coordinates across the U.S. government to establish clear policies governing public and private sector use of technologies, and to ensure all administration policy is tech-informed. Amid the alphabet soup of C-roles, is the CTO title destined to be pushed out and fade away forever? Because companies still need an executive whose job it is to keep an eye on the technology horizon and ensure the organization stays current, relevant and, ideally, ahead of the pack. A chief technology officer is a high-ranking executive-level position in a company, part of the senior-level, “c-suite.” So applicants may need more than 15 years of experience in the IT field before being considered for a CTO job.

These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. The CTO title has been in use for over 10 years, but there is still confusion about the role and how it differs from the CIO.

You will have moved up the next level of decision making and strategy, most of which needs detailed consideration, research and argument. With more complicated technologies and/or high-value sales, there could be close liaison with the sales team and you might even be brought into the sales process itself. You want a close relationship with the CEO, it will make your life a lot easier. Most days will feature some contact with the CEO and being pulled into occasional meetings where your technology insight is needed. Successful tech leaders are able to master a range of softer skills such as empathy , emotional intelligence, continuous reasoning, and a coaching mindset. A Chief Technology Officer could be described as the poster boy or girl for the technology side of a business.