How to Become a CTO

Step 1: Understand the job description and responsibilities of a CTO

What does a CTO do?

The CTO directs the strategic design, acquisition, management, and implementation of an enterprise-wide technology infrastructure. Responsible for the long-range direction of an organization's technology function. Being a CTO establishes technology standards and communicates technical information to the organization. Monitors and analyzes technology and trends that could improve the company's products and performance. In addition, CTO typically requires an advanced degree in Computer Science or Engineering. Typically reports to Chief Information Officer or Chief Executive Officer. The CTO manages a business unit, division, or corporate function with major organizational impact. Establishes overall direction and strategic initiatives for the given major function or line of business. Has acquired the business acumen and leadership experience to become a top function or division head.

People's Opinions on CTO responsibilities

A CTO should have the business knowledge necessary to align technology-related decisions with the organization's goals.

11/01/2019: Atlanta, GA

The CTO position often overlaps with other jobs, in particular, that of the CIO (Chief Information Officer) and CSO (Chief Science Officer).

12/12/2019: Chicago, IL

As a rule, the CTO reports to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer).

12/23/2019: Poughkeepsie, NY

Specifics of the CTO's job responsibilities vary from one organization to another.

12/29/2019: Lorain, OH

In mid-to-large size companies with higher executive budgets, the C-suite may include a CIO and a CTO.

12/03/2019: Fayetteville, NC
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Step 2: Learn best tips to become a CTO

Best tips for those who want to become a CTO

Here are some tips to become a CTO.

People's Opinions on best tips

Understand the business – know your product, know your customer.

11/18/2019: Fort Collins, CO

Be prepared to take your first break.

11/08/2019: Springfield, OH

Don’t think of a lack of qualifications as a barrier to you progression.

12/10/2019: Tampa, FL

Use social media as a customer support channel.

11/02/2019: Grand Forks, ND

Manage your capacity wherever it resides.

10/31/2019: Little Rock, AR
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Step 3: View best colleges and universities for CTO

Best colleges and universities for CTO

  • Butler University
  • Carroll College
  • Cooper Union
  • High Point University
  • Princeton University
  • Providence College

Step 4: Think about whether is it worth to be a CTO

Is being a CTO Worth it?

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Camille Fournier, former CTO of Rent the Runway, also views communication as a critical skill.

10/16/2019: Miami, FL

"CTOs must communicate highly technical information to non-technical audiences, and they must communicate business information to their technical teams in a way that they can appreciate.

11/26/2019: Houston, TX

Many CTOs start as engineers and work their way up, so they begin with technical skills built in.

11/30/2019: Bremerton, WA

Fournier notes, "While technical skills are not the most important element to being a good CTO, spend plenty of time early in your career honing your engineering and technical architecture skills because these skills form the basis for your credibility with your team.".

11/29/2019: Dayton, OH

"Great CTOs are curious and eager to learn new things, and they aren't afraid of change," says Fournier.

10/30/2019: Florence, AL
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Step 5: Prepare relevant skills for being a CTO

What skills do you need to be a CTO?

This role is not a beginner's role, as such, there are many skills required.  It is vital to the role to command: Business Process Modeling/Improvement, Change Control, Data Governance, Information Governance, Infrastructure Management, IT Administration, IT Consulting, IT Governance, IT Management, IT Performance Management, IT Program Management, IT Risk Management, IT Strategy, IT Transformation, Strategy Development, Trend Analysis, Operational Policy Development.  Management isn't easy, if it were, everyone would have the competenticies to execute the role with success.

People's Opinions on CTO skills

With a deep understanding of technology trends and target markets, a CTO plays a significant role in developing the corporate strategy regarding the infrastructure and capital needed to achieve business goals.

11/23/2019: Charlotte, NC

Aspiring CTOs must build a strong educational base and gain experience in entry-level positions before taking the next step toward becoming a CTO.

12/15/2019: Tuscaloosa, AL

Organizations depend on their CTOs to have the experience to understand these complexities and to ensure that the right people are in place to address any concerns.

11/29/2019: Danbury, CT

CTOs gain this experience and understanding by working in a number of IT areas, such as.

11/22/2019: Cleveland, OH

CTOs can increase their chances of landing speaking gigs and finding new positions by listing the right skills on their online resume.

11/30/2019: Biloxi, MS
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Step 6: View average salary for CTO

How much does a CTO make?

The average salary range for a CTO is from $208,700 to $291,100. The salary will change depending on your location, job level, experience, education, and skills.

Salary range for a CTO
$208,700 to $291,100

Average salary for CTO jobs

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Step 7: Find relevant CTO jobs, and apply.

Looking for CTO jobs?

Here are some CTO jobs in the United States.

Search CTO Jobs in the United States

Step 8: Explore Career Path of CTO