Chief Technology Officer CTO: Definition, How to Become One, Average Salary

Exceptional management and communication skills could encourage a chief technology officer to understand and solve technical issues. Increasingly CTOs are moving beyond the realm of traditional business technology and into product development, innovation, R&D, and enabling the future success of companies. This persona is focused on leveraging innovative technologies to transform the business model, products, and services. The most important role a CTO has is to use technology to generate value for a company and help it achieve its business objectives. At their core, they must develop a technology vision and strategy that will allow the company to thrive and build a solid competitive advantage.

chief technology officer roles

Both positions focus on the engineering, implementation, development and management of technology. However, the key difference is that the CIO role typically involves chief technology officer roles and responsibilities internal operations, while the CTO role focuses on external processes. The chief technology officer position is among senior executives in IT companies.

This type of role is commonly found in organisations with large technology teams focused on the day-to-day running of IT. In addition, you should expect them to work as the technology partner to the Chief Product Owner to develop new technology-enabled products, and doing so will improve revenue and sales opportunities, whilst also enhancing the company’s brand. They always need to keep an eye on emerging technology trends, use customer intelligence, watch competitors, and the external market. All of this insight should be used to drive business model innovation well before the company can be disrupted by competitors. Chief Technology Officers need to hire, build, grow, and develop high-performing technical teams. Building a culture where technical people can thrive and build their careers.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO): Definition, How to Become One, Average Salary

Carroll also sees a difference in how the two IT executives make their mark in the enterprise. He sees CIOs as internal team builders and promoters of working environments that emphasize speed, efficiency and quality. However, the changes made by CIOs are often gradual because they are broad-reaching and can involve not only building new technology capabilities but making and managing fundamental changes to the ways people work, which takes time. The CIO tends to work with business leaders to optimize the company’s operating model, while the CTO is more focused on the company’s relationship with markets and customers.

Not to mention, there is a lot to think about in this role that is “subtle,” such as politics, psychology, personal growth, discipline, and philosophy. With the emerging trend of the Chief Product Owner who is responsible for developing a company’s products, their partnership with the Chief Technology Officer has never been more important. The CTO is more externally focused on technology propositions for customers. The CTO, as well as being an expert technologist, becomes the external face of the technology offering.

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Chief Technology Officer role is one of the most after-sought careers in the IT industry. CTO is an executive level position in a company who usually reports to a CIO or CEO. Most larger corporations need two technology executives, CIO, and CTO, while smaller companies have one of these two roles.

chief technology officer roles

When working as a Chief Technology Officer, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are TOGAF, APPLICATION Architecture, API, Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud. Read what Chief Technology Officer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career. Learn how to become a Chief Technology Officer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Able to confidently lead and guide a technology team and drive tech strategy. Work with senior level stakeholders to identify, build and maintain partnerships across industry.

On the couch: CIO mindset vs. CTO mindset

In 2009, the White House announced the appointment of the country’s very first CTO, an official in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. This official’s main focus is to use technology to help stimulate job creation, improve healthcare and security systems, and increase broadband access. This type of CTO may envision how technology will be used within the company while setting the technical strategy for the company.

chief technology officer roles

During downtime in their office, they review technology trends within their company’s industry and identify the types of IT systems that competitors use. They use this information to draft proposals for new technologies to implement in company operations. 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.

Reporting structure

Mr. Pang built Appen’s technology teams from scratch and developed multiple product lines, which enabled rapid business growth. The CTO position represents Mercury’s emphasis on the importance of technological innovation by building high-quality software and systems using modern development methodologies. The CTO position represents Mercury’s emphasis on the importance of technological innovation by building high-quality software and systems using modern development methodologies. While the title chief technology officer has been around for decades, its definition has varied over time and across industries and types of organizations.

The dizzily increasing speed of technological change makes it critical for companies to stay ahead of technology trends and be able to anticipate disruptions. The CTO’s focus on innovations that directly and indirectly improve customer experience means they work most closely with a select group of frontline people, including salespeople, customer service teams and product managers. Carroll said CTOs tend to be more open to experimentation than CIOs and perhaps more tactical.

  • Therefore, it is important to create an Office of the CTO so they can delegate some of their strategic thinking to enable greater bandwidth.
  • Chief Technology Officers need to hire, build, grow, and develop high-performing technical teams.
  • Sharma sees the CTO job as also very tech-focused — but in a different way from the CIO’s.
  • The difference between the CIO and the CTO depends on the size and the type of your business.

Even in its most common form — chief technology officer — the title can come with powers and responsibilities that vary widely from company to company. And however the job description is written, the key priorities of the role seem to be in constant flux. While research and development have become a significant element of companies, they focus on employing chief technology officers to oversee the business’s infrastructure and intellectual property.

Mercury Insurance Creates Chief Technology Officer Role to Drive Digital Strategy

In 2022, Glassdoor indicated that total compensation for CIOs and CTOs were comparable — with CTOs earning an average of $4,000 more than CIOs. However, found average compensation was almost $37,000 more for CIOs. In contrast, Indeed indicated CTOs earned about $22,000 more for base compensation. Hyperscale data centers can hold thousands of servers and process much more data than an enterprise facility.

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

There are, however, similar characteristics needed to achieve success as a CTO. CTOs start out with bachelor’s degrees in a computer-science-related field. They often earn master’s degrees as well, again in computer sciences or mathematics fields—though more general MBAs are common as well. Many large corporations need both a CTO and CIO, while smaller companies tend to have one or the other.

So as well as being an expert technologist, they are the external face of the technology offering. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. In addition, you will participate in a team on a series of assignments that will culminate in a final presentation at the MIT campus. The 12-month program is an all-encompassing, 360° certificate program that supplies you with the necessary tools to accelerate your career. The journey to learning a department in an organization varies from professional to professional.

Yes, a CIO is a high-ranking executive responsible for managing and successfully implementing a company’s information and computer technology systems. Explore the possibility to hire a dedicated R&D team that helps your company to scale product development. Such a wide range of activities requires a CTO to have various skills, including technical knowledge, communication abilities, management skills, and analytical thinking.

As such, CTOs are among the most important hires organizations are making today, and it can be challenging finding the right person who possesses all the right skills. “So, CIOs have to approach their jobs as business and technology strategists, not just operational leaders,” Priest said. “The responsibilities that are often debated include data, analytics, and digital, all of which could be outside the CIO organization entirely,” Priest said.

Management and leadership roles are the best steppingstones to obtaining the CTO role in an organization. A chief information officer is the company executive responsible for the management and implementation of information and computer technologies. Chief technology officers evaluate new technology and implement it to launch or improve goods and services for their firm’s clientele and customers. This is not to say, however, that every leader in an organization needs to “understand technology” in the same way or for the same purposes.