The Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, is a relatively new executive position that become popular during the dot-com era of the early nineties. A CTO is responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of a corporation, from the IT department all the way to research and development. Unfortunately, the precise job duties of a Chief Technology Officer haven’t been laid in stone as corporations seek to develop a standard.
If you want to become a Chief Technology Officer, you must have at least ten years of experience in the world of technology and management. Many CTOs assume the roll after working as software managers, information systems managers and other IT careers. In some cases, CTOs maintain the position without the title for years before a corporation brings their company into the next generation.
While its true that the roll of the Chief Technology Officer is ill-defined, it is also true that most CTOs make a very good living. Six-figure incomes are not uncommon and the average CTO makes between $85,000 and $350,000, depending on the size of the corporation and the duties he or she assumes. In most cases, this large salary is complemented by a handsome benefits package and yearly bonuses for performance.
In many cases, the Chief Technology Officer reports to the Chief Information Officer (CIO), who is usually responsible for research and development. The CTO takes ideas to the CIO concerning future products, better management techniques, new technological advances concerning production and ways to make the corporation run more smoothly.
Much of a Chief Technology Officer’s day is spent brainstorming new ideas to bring to the CIO or CEO. He or she will evaluate current methods of running the business, then compare them with new ideas that might make things work better. For example, the CTO of Microsoft Corporation works with the CEO (Bill Gates) to determine which products are most crucial to the public. He evaluates the current line of products, then decides which of those to focus on.
Data collection is another important part of being a Chief Technology Officer. Data is collected from both the company and its customers to evaluate their current level of success regarding technology. For example, the CTO of a cell phone company might be responsible for evaluating the consumers’ response to a new device that has just been released. If the response is favorable, he works with the research and development team to expound upon that discovery and create new products.
Most Chief Technology Officers work in large offices in the corporate center of a corporation. They work with other executive officers to ensure the company is running smoothly and that consumers are satisfied with the products they issue. The CTO will have a great number of support staff to aid in his research and evaluation, and the precise duties will vary considerably depending on the company.