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 professionals are becoming more important in the management of companies and are increasingly part of the executive team. If your goal is to become a CTO, enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Information Technology Management can help you prepare for this career.
Job Outlook for Chief Technology Officers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of top executives, such as 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.
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:
- Creating overall technology standards and practices and ensuring adherence
- Leading the strategy for technology platforms, partnerships and external relationships
- Building and managing the technology team
- Overseeing research and development as well as special projects
- Making recommendations to senior management through presentations and advocacy
- Managing data systems implementation and monitoring their effectiveness in meeting business goals
- Supervising software testing, and information systems security and maintenance
- Managing staff in functional areas such as LAN/WAN architecture, systems operations, and hardware and software support
- Anticipating and reacting to major technology changes
- Developing technology contingency plans to keep projects on track
- Supervising Web application and software development
- Generating new products and facilitating their entry to market
- Collaborating with the executive team to assess and recommend technologies in support of company needs
According to the Robert Half Technology 2015 Salary Guide, CTOs in the United States earn average starting salaries ranging from $137,500 to $220,250 a year. That represents a 5.8% increase over the 2014 range.
Salary levels, like employment opportunities, are typically commensurate with education, professional credentials and experience; those holding advanced degrees and with extensive experience are more likely to 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.
Professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management should be 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
Is a Chief Technology Officer Career In Your Future?
Becoming a chief technology officer may be an objective for individuals with technical and leadership skills, as well as a firm grasp on the challenges businesses face today. Earning an MBA with a specialization in Information Technology Management can position you for a rewarding career as a chief technology officer.