Chief Technical Officers, or CTOs, provide upper-level management for a company’s computer and technical assets. Planning, directing and overseeing standard operations, upgrades, repairs and service expansions all fall within the purview of a CTO. They analyze the company’s needs and provide suggested solutions and budgets for issues that may arise. They also oversee the organization’s computer security, plan personnel needs and explore emerging technology for application in their organization.
Requirements and Qualifications
Work is typically performed in an office environment. Long hours are expected, with some overtime in most positions and 24% working over 50 hours a week. Evening, weekend or holiday work may be expected to perform maintenance and upgrades during non-office hours, keeping productivity up during the day for other departments. Keeping up to date with emerging technologies and how they’ll affect your company is of vital importance in this position. Qualities you may want to groom for this position include computer, analytical and technical skills, communication, decision-making processes, leadership and organization.
Though you may be able to find a position with a bachelor’s degree and extensive experience, most organizations look for a CTO who has a graduate degree in computer or information science, or an MBA.
Steps to Become a Chief Technical Officer
After finishing your education, you will need a number of years experience, usually starting out with basic tasks, moving into low and middle management and eventually into a CTO position, with over 15 years’ experience by that point being somewhat common. There is potential to become a Chief Information Officer (CIO) after serving as a CTO for a number of years.
Don’t want to be “The Man”? No problem, there are a lot of similar jobs to this career path – read on!
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The average annual wage for this occupation was $115,780 in May of 2010, with computer system design and related services, financial and manufacturing sectors paying slightly higher. Over 90% of workers in this category worked full-time, with most working some overtime and 24% working over 50 hours a week.
Job opportunities for CTOs are expected to rise slightly faster than average for all jobs, at 18% over the next decade. Experience in upgrading equipment and software, security and health care will have the highest growth. You can expect favorable prospects, as many organizations have a hard time finding qualified applicants.