What is a CTO? The exec who sets tech strategy

Besides making critical decisions alongside other company leaders, a CTO must develop policies regarding technology so that organizations run smoothly. A well-versed CTO is knowledgeable in roadmapping & development, innovation, leadership, strategic planning, AI, machine learning, cloud, DevOps, and budgeting, amongst other skills and technologies. The tech team lead already knows how to interact with their teams and manage them. Above that, R&D leaders are supposed to interact with stakeholders, albeit not on a daily basis, so the business side is partially covered.

What are the tasks of a CTO

The Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer are senior-level company Executives who operate on the same level, but they have different areas of focus. The main difference between a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Operating Officer is that the Chief Technology Officer focuses specifically on how IT software and related technologies influence company operations. 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.

What does a CTO do for a business?

The CTO is a vital executive role focused on developing long-term technology goals, staying abreast of industry tech trends, and working with other executives on a company’s direction. While not every company needs a CTO, this role can enhance the alignment between a product or service’s strategy and a company’s technology strategy. CTOs typically need at least 10 years of experience in IT and cloud service cto responsibilities management. They usually start in entry-level roles in technical support, development and programming, database and network administration or engineering. After several years, they typically enter a management or leadership role, where they get the necessary leadership skills. Since CTOs need knowledge of every department role, experience in several different technology positions is valuable.

See below for detailed information on the average chief technology officer salary. On a typical day, a Chief Technology Officer starts by reviewing their email and voicemail to check for any missed messages from executives, company stakeholders or managers. They meet with executives to discuss the company’s current financial stability, business opportunities and other news. They also meet with operations personnel and IT Managers to strategize ways to implement new technology systems throughout the company. Although there is overlap between the two positions, since both deal with IT, CTOs generally look outward, using technology to improve the company’s customer experience—the use of the goods and services.

The Infrastructure Commander

As a senior executive focused on an organization’s technical requirements and challenges, the CTO’s role can be similar to that of the CIO. The chief technology officer (CTO) is the senior executive who focuses on the technological requirements, opportunities, and challenges within an organization. The CTO role has emerged as a key player in the enterprise C-suite, especially with digital transformation being such a high strategic priority for so many organizations. Chief technology officers are executive leaders who design and oversee technology strategies, procedures and practices.

  • This will help delegate tasks and decide on further steps properly.
  • This means attending conferences to not only learn more about important technology news, but also to represent the company’s technology initiatives within a certain market.
  • What’s more, CTOs need to create an environment that fosters innovation, creativity and collaboration.
  • Here’s what to know about a CTO’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.
  • Generally, the more years of experience and knowledge in an industry, the higher your chances of reaching a C-suite position.
  • Meanwhile, CTO’s with more than two decades of experience in the position received an average wage of around £124,000.

Either way, here’s an alignment of tasks to give you a clear distinction. While the exact form these roles take depends on a company’s size and position in their industry, the right CTO is one of the most important hires for your business. Use this CTO https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ job description framework to craft a customized tool for finding the best candidates for your organization. Although a four-year or advanced degree will lay the foundation for the CTO role, future CTOs will have to work their way up the IT ranks.

What is the difference between a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Operating Officer?

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. Generally, a chief technology officer has a degree in computer science or engineering, has a strong knowledge of software architecture, design, and programming. Since a CTO should solve engineering problems, a solid development background is required. This executive will improve a business’ products and services that focus on external customers by making the most of technology and developing a number of procedures and policies.

CTOs, on the other hand, preside over the overarching technology infrastructure. This includes developing marketable technology, suggesting new technologies to implement, interacting with external buyers and budgeting. CIOs primarily work with a company’s IT staff as a managing leader. They are typically in charge of discovering and analyzing how technology processes affect the business, as well as identifying potential areas of improvement. CTOs play an important role in the C-suite, as they are often in positions that enable them to embrace newer and innovative technologies and help steer organizations toward better efficiency and performance by adopting new tools. Depending on company structure and hierarchy, there may also be positions such as R&D manager, director of R&D and vice president of engineering whom the CTO interacts with or oversees.

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Another leading technical role often confused with a CTO is the technical director. First things first, a TD is not strictly a software development title. This is a role of someone who provides technical support, manages production teams, and serves as the main tech expert for the team to refer to. In smaller teams, a CTO can overlook all tech decisions and management. A Chief Technology Officer (sometimes called Chief Technical Officer) is the most skilled technology person in the company. If it’s a tech startup, a CTO is usually a cofounder, the main thinker behind the product.

What are the tasks of a CTO

You must stay on top of the latest trends and gain valuable time on the job. CTOs need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or a related field, according to Indeed. Many CTOs have at least a master’s degree, and some even have PhDs in IT or business administration fields. Knowing how technology works is crucial, but it’s also important to be able to explain the business value of a particular technology to C-level colleagues who might not be technically inclined.

Chief Technology Officer Career Path

The CIO focuses distinctly on IT and ensures those issues are in line with company goals. The CTOs of yesteryear tended to be geeks (in the most complimentary sense of the word). The prototypical CTO had a technology engineering background and battle-hardened experience in the trenches of various IT implementations. But I predict that the skill set of future CTOs will be somewhat different. While a company’s technical visionary certainly needs to have a grasp on what makes technology tick, tomorrow’s CTO is likely to be less hands on and more theoretical.

What are the tasks of a CTO

Chief technology officers oversee technology or engineering departments and often report to the CEO. As high-ranking tech executives, they collaborate with executive leaders in various departments to ensure teams across the company are following technology strategies and standards. Which style best suits a given company bears some relation to the kind of industry the company is in. Enablers are more managerial, tasked with driving efficiencies in multi-business-unit organizations with a high degree of overlap in technologies and projects among the business units. We believe that a major reason for this lack of preparation is that many companies today have no one on the executive team who owns the responsibility for navigating these shifts.


Helpful courses exist that can help you become a better leader, however. The best way to hone your leadership skills is through experience. 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.

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