Chief Technology Officer Career and Salary Profile

By University Alliance

As businesses expand in scope and become more global, their technological management becomes more important. Chief technology officers (CTOs) are responsible for the overall technological direction of an organization. These managers are becoming more important in the management of companies and are increasingly part of the executive team. If your goals include a career as a CTO, enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Information Technology Management can help you achieve it.

Job Outlook for Chief Technology Officers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of top executives – including chief technology officers – will grow steadily in coming years. Job growth will occur as businesses’ technology needs become more complex. Individuals with strong business management skills and experience should have the best job prospects. Competition for jobs at the highest management level will be strong and candidates with advanced degrees may have an advantage.

Job Duties

CTOs generally report to the chief executive officer. They are responsible for establishing a company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of technology development, according to its strategic direction and growth objectives.

Specific duties include leading the strategy for technology platforms, partnerships and external relationships as well as building and managing the technology team. These professionals frequently oversee research and development as well as special projects.

Establishing technical standards and ensuring adherence is an additional responsibility for CTOs. They often supervise software testing, and information systems security and maintenance. CTOs also lead their organizations in anticipating and reacting to major technology changes. They may be required to develop technology contingency plans to keep projects on track.

Additional chief technology officer job duties may include supervising web application and software development as well as generating new products and facilitating their entry to market. They often collaborate with the executive team to assess and recommend technologies in support of company needs.

CTOs usually work in offices. Depending on the employer, travel, including frequent travel, may be required. While a 40-hour work week is standard, at certain times, CTOs may put in extra hours to meet deadlines.

Salary Potential

According to national salary data on, as of December 2010, chief technology officers had a median total income of about $155,809 per year, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $111,682 and $199,936 in total pay.

Salary levels are typically commensurate with education, professional credentials and experience; those holding advanced degrees and with extensive experience often earn salaries at the top end of the range.

Education and Training Requirements

Most CTO positions require at least a bachelor’s degree with extensive IT management experience. Competition for positions at top employers is strong, and preference is often given to candidates with a master’s degree.

IT professionals who seek to advance their careers to a chief technology officer position can improve their prospects by earning an MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management. Coursework typically includes managerial economics, management information systems, global information technology management and strategic management of technology and innovation.

Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management are able to:

  • Engage in case study analysis to gain insights into real-world business challenges.
  • Apply solid business skills to run an IT department or high-tech firm.
  • Evaluate technology problems and create manageable solutions.
  • Assess organizational competencies and capabilities.
  • Leverage advanced knowledge and skills to succeed as a chief technology officer.

Is a Chief Technology Officer Career In Your Future?

Becoming a chief technology officer is a viable objective for individuals with technical and leadership skills, with a firm grasp on the challenges businesses face today. You can obtain the skills and knowledge top employers need to remain competitive by earning an MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management. An MBA can give you the boost of confidence that will position you for a high-paying, rewarding chief technology officer career.

Category: Information Technology