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By now, it’s evident that the speed of technological advancement makes it critical for companies to stay ahead of fast-changing trends. As the highest-level position in the corporate technology field, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) makes for an in-demand and sought-after role. There are many paths to becoming a CTO, but before we get there, we need to understand what one is and what the core responsibilities of this role are.

What Is A Chief Technology Officer?

A Chief Technology Officer is the executive in charge of an organization’s technology management. The CTO’s responsibilities vary from company to company, but they typically cover anything from technology vision to strategy.

 

CTOs must be aware of broad technological trends as well as possess the business expertise required to connect technology-related decisions with the organization’s goals and objectives. A CTO may have various functions depending on the company, including strategy planner, customer relations representative, and network supervisor.

What does a chief technical officer do?

CTOs are expected to stay on top of trends and recognize how such trends will affect their company. Other key responsibilities of a CTO include:

 

  • Developing a compelling technology vision, strategy, and organization design,
  • Explaining and sharing technology trends and business model innovation,
  • Building outstanding products and services that customers will benefit from,
  • Digitizing essential company operations and managing core business systems and infrastructure,
  • Overseeing the company’s engineering team,
  • Meeting the needs of external key stakeholders.

 

How to Become a CTO?

The CTO position is a vast one, and as such, there is not a tried and tested career path. However, a typical road leading to climbing the ladder to this position depends on these steps.

Earn a degree

Any individual who wishes to become a CTO should start with a bachelor’s degree. Like other IT careers, the path to CTO begins with a bachelor’s degree in a computer science or information technology-related field. Additionally, a recent trend is the rise of cybersecurity and protecting company data from malicious threats, so a degree in this field can be a good stepping stone. 

 

IT professionals with the ultimate objective of becoming a Chief Technology Officer should consider getting a master’s degree after working in the industry. Because the role requires a high level of complex financial, business, and management skills, many firms may require an advanced degree such as an MBA. In addition, an MBA will give you an extensive education across the full range of business areas, such as finance, marketing, Human Resources, etc.

Gain experience

A CTO must have a technical background to understand the principles of technology. It takes a long time to become a CTO, and one needs to have held some leadership positions after having held some technical roles. 

 

You can build your technical background by gaining experience in the following positions:

 

  • Software Engineer
  • Data Engineer
  • Network Architect
  • Big Data Engineer
  • Information Security Manager
  • Security Engineer
  • Web Software developer
  • Technical Project Manager
  • Infrastructure Engineer
  • Technical Business Analyst
  • UX / UI Designer

CTO qualifications and skills 

A CTO is first and foremost an expert in technology, and everything else comes second. That’s why they need a range of tech skills and be business savvy. So let’s take a look at what those are and what they mean. 

 

  • Knowledge of technology: CTOs must be knowledgeable about both new and existing technology. A vital skill is staying on top of technology advancements and determining what will provide the most business value.

 

  • Tech savviness: It’s crucial to have a solid understanding of software development, architecture, design, and programming. Almost all of the high-profile CTOs retain these fundamentals.

 

  • Business awareness: The key to becoming a good CTO is to use technology to achieve business goals. This skill will also assist you with budgeting and finance, which are important aspects of the CTO’s job.

 

  • Competence in product management: This part is a significant portion of the job. A CTO is primarily concerned with developing products and services for customers. They also collaborate with the Chief Product Owner to establish popular goods which are profitable. 

 

  • Team leadership: CTOs may provide a lot of value by helping to build, expand, and develop an elite engineering and technical team. Some of the best results are achieved when members of a team collaborate and have a great leader. 

 

In addition, they are expected to stay up-to-date and knowledgeable in topics that may include:

 

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Network architecture
  • Industry-specific disruptive technologies
  • Big data engineering and architecture
  • Cybersecurity and information security management

 

Anyone with a passion for technology, as well as ambition, dedication, and perseverance, can climb the technological managerial ladder. You’ll be on your way to becoming a CTO if you follow these steps. Start your journey by obtaining a degree in Information Technology or a graduate degree in Business Administration.

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