Constant developments both in business trends and technology have inevitably driven companies toward strengthening their technological capabilities and solutions.
Moreover, these developments have spurred the growth of tech companies, which has consequently led to a demand for building bigger teams that handle this field of work, and with great teams comes the need for good leaders in charge of the latter.
Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) are the people who lead these teams since they are a high-level management role or a C-level position, who typically report directly to the CEO. But what is a CTO’s role within a company, and what does a chief technical officer do exactly? If you are a tech-savvy individual with ambitious career goals, this is a challenging yet gratifying role to strive for in your career as a tech professional.
Chief Technology Officer Job Description
This top technology executive role comes with great responsibility and several duties, as it is, after all, a job that requires extensive expertise and experience. The CTO of a company or organization is the individual in charge of the overall technical vision; they orchestrate the teams behind technical solutions by leading them in projects that seek to align technology with a company’s business strategy.
As the people in charge of the tech team, their responsibility lies in assembling skilled individuals who will work together to deliver a product or service. They support these teams through their guidance and expertise and set standards in multiple aspects of work, be it in tools, overall product delivery, or performance criteria.
Being a Chief Technology Officer is usually the peak of a career in technology; therefore, it is a role that typically requires years of experience, especially when it comes to larger companies and enterprises. In smaller companies and start-ups, however, the number of years of experience required for this role is usually lower.
Moreover, current technological advancements have led to a 10% growth rate projection for the next years regarding the demand for people working in the computer and information systems industry. Therefore, CTO positions are likely to be a step closer for enthusiastic and knowledgeable candidates who may not have the common 15-year mark of experience required for this role.
Chief Technical Officer Responsibilities
The role and responsibilities of a CTO may vary depending on the nature of the company they will work in. Tech companies are usually oriented toward delivering a product or service; therefore, the CTO leads those efforts. Whereas, in companies with a broader scope of work, they oversee the overall technological plans and strategies. Regardless of the type of enterprise, the seniority role of a CTO comes with several responsibilities and duties, some of the following being the most prominent ones listed in job listings:
- Creating and managing the company’s technological vision and plans so they align with its business goals.
- Supervise and maintain the system infrastructure.
- Researching and discovering new technologies that can be implemented to accelerate work processes.
- Discovering and assessing the right tools, testing options, and IDEs (Integrated Development Environments.)
- Overseeing and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of employee productivity, processes, tools, and overall product delivery.
- Creating safeguards to prevent security breaches in networks and protect confidential information.
- Communicate technological strategies to staff, partners, investors, and stakeholders.
If the company is of a smaller scale, the CTO’s responsibilities may involve a more hands-on approach and additional tasks such as:
- Writing, improving, and testing source codes.
- Recruiting and finding new acquisitions for the tech team of the company.
Their responsibilities can always overlap with other tech roles within the company since their expertise may be needed to suggest and introduce solutions in another scope of work that may profit from a CTOs strategic thinking.
CTO Job Requirements
The road to becoming a CTO is often a long journey, but that doesn’t make it any less rewarding and reputable. If this job is a goal of yours, be it the near future or a long-term one, here are the steps you are more or less expected to take and skills to develop in order to make it as a CTO.
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A solid education in a technology-related field forms the foundation of a CTO’s professional training. Typically, CTOs come from an educational background in Computer Science, Information Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. A bachelor’s degree in these fields is usually the minimum requirement for education, whereas an MBA, MSc, or any other graduate degree can be a requirement or an additional plus, especially in positions where employers are likely to attract a lot of competition.
As a C-level position, a good Chief Technology Officer must primarily be someone who is always eager and willing to learn and keep up with new technologies and developments. Moreover, their job responsibilities call for a range of skills they must possess and hone over time.
While they don’t have to concern themselves with coding tasks (with the exception of start-ups and smaller companies), CTOs must have a solid background in development and knowledge of software architecture. They are also expected to be skilled in security and privacy management, as they must work to prevent data leaks and breaches within the company.
CTOs should be strategic thinkers and focus on the bigger picture when it comes to their vision of the entire technological approach to the company’s work. They should also have great communication skills in order to articulate these ideas to staff, other C-level executives, and partners. They should additionally be able to effectively delegate tasks to a team they have helped build and that they trust will do the work accordingly.
Moreover, a good Chief Technology Officer ought to be a multitasker, as they will have many duties and several tasks or people may require their attention. For this reason, they must have great organizational skills and be able to coordinate the work of their team with efficiency.
The role of a CTO comes with great responsibility, and it may take a longer way to get there. Still, with a solid educational background, a clear understanding of the job’s demands, and by developing the skill set that it requires, this position is an attainable goal for those who are willing to dedicate themselves to it.