Chief Information Officer Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Chief Information Officer Do?

Along with chief operating officer and chief financial officer, the chief information officer (CIO) is one of the principals at a firm under the chief executive officer.

Chief information officers oversee all of a firm’s IT, computer, and networking functions. They must be well-versed in the current technologies available, and able to analyze and decide which are best for the firm to invest in and utilize to meet its short- and long- term goals.

CIOs must also be intuitive in thinking about their firm’s evolving technology and cybersecurity needs in the future, and in finding and acquiring the right systems and personnel to be ready to support those needs.

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National Average Salary

Chief information officer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Chief Information Officer is:


Chief Information Officer Job Descriptions

It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring a chief information officer. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.

Example 1

Do you have the ability to adapt quickly? Are you great at anticipating and satisfying needs? If so, you might be the perfect fit as a Chief Information Officer.

Chief Information Officers use a combination of excellent business acumen, technical prowess, strategic thinking, and project management to manage a company’s IT and computer systems.

This invaluable position must respond quickly to trends and anticipate the technological needs of their company. They have to have great business sense, excellent people skills, and a good understanding of the limitations of the technology available.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Plan, purchase, coordinate, and manage a firm’s technology infrastructure
  • Monitor related project metrics
  • Directly manage IT staff
  • Oversee IT operations, network administration, service desk, IT security, telephony, and related applications
  • A key advisor to the President and CEO
  • Liaison with external technology vendors

Education and experience

The career path for a Chief Information Officer (CIO) entails obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, IT management, or a related field; an MBA is a plus. To become a CIO, a candidate must have multiple years of experience in technology management in a strategic leadership role, preferably at a law firm.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Deep and up-to-date knowledge and understanding of IT and related topics
  • Strong organizational and project management skills
  • Experience leading and managing people
  • Highly organized, and able to multitask
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Expertise in time management
  • Keen attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • 10+ years managing a team
  • Strong knowledge of system infrastructure and implementation
  • Understanding of budgets and business-planning
  • Ability to conduct technological analyses and research
  • Excellent communication, strong leadership skills, and organizational abilities

Example 2

The Chief Information Officer will establish and implement strategies that have long-term impact on business results in alignment with organizational objectives. This individual will collaborate directly with the CFO, other members of the Senior Leadership Team, and key decision makers to identify, recommend, develop, implement, and support cost-effective technology solutions for all aspects of the organization. The CIO will be responsible for building and managing the IT infrastructure, technologies, and data that enable digital transformation. This includes how to best leverage and deploy new and emerging technologies including public cloud, data and artificial intelligence, automation, eCommerce, and cyber security.

The Chief Information Officer will have responsibility and leadership for all aspects of ABC Company’s Information Technology including business analysis and project management, application development and integration, cyber security, infrastructure, hardware and systems. The ability to clearly communicate and garner support for IT strategic plans will be essential.


  • Internalize and model our company core values that support our mission of making tomorrow a little bit better than today for our employees, our customers, and our community
  • Build relationships and create strong connections with functional leaders to establish a forward thinking and common IT vision and roadmap
  • Serve as a visionary agent to drive process improvement across the organization
  • Promote the use of information technology in a practical and strategic manner to support decision-making and business growth, and provide broad and strategic guidance to leadership team in all areas relating to the use of technology
  • Attract, develop, and inspire talent within the Information Technology department

Strategy and innovation

  • Develop a multi-year strategy and roadmap for IT to anticipate and securely scale to support and enable a company with double-digit growth
  • Develop vision and strategic plan to identify IT applications, information security, and digital solutions to support business objectives or to create new strategic options
  • Keep abreast of the development of relevant IT systems, hardware, and software applications within the industry
  • Provide leadership and direction relative to information and data collection, reporting methods, tools and standards
  • Participate and lead business transformation and integration efforts
  • Assist, as needed, in due diligence analysis for M&A opportunities


  • Manage the end-to-end network infrastructure lifecycle of endpoint user equipment, servers, switches, WIFI, firewalls, (etc.) and IT networks
  • Meet metrics for service availability, performance, and security

Applications and technology operations

  • Oversee IT policies, standards, practices and security measures to ensure effective and consistent information processing operations while safeguarding information resources
  • Oversee the design, development and maintenance of internal systems, applications, and systems software to meet the needs of the business
  • Develop and maintain an appropriate IT organizational structure that supports the needs of the business
  • Select and manage IT consulting and managed services providers, optimizing the mix of in-house staff and consulting services
  • Review all hardware, software, cloud service, and IT managed service acquisition and maintenance contracts, soliciting involvement and participation of other management team members as appropriate
  • Develop and implement IT service management processes and SLA’s for both infrastructure (HelpDesk) and Applications Support
  • Develop performance objectives and define IT metrics that support our business objectives
  • Develop and manage annual IT operating and capital budgets

Cyber security

  • Maintain security of all data proprietary to the company and provide for the complete backup of all computer systems in case of system failure or disaster
  • Progress an Incident Management Program that includes key stakeholders and bi-annual desktop control exercises
  • Develop and implement IT policies, standards and guidelines that continuously increase cybersecurity & IT program maturity
  • Oversee a third-party cybersecurity assessment program to identify business risk and communicate risk to executive leadership
  • Collaborate with IT stakeholders to define and implement IT controls designed to meet cyber insurance compliance requirements
  • Oversee risk register program to continually identity, prioritize and mitigate IT risk
  • Coordinate strategic vendor partnerships that support all cyber security efforts and programs

What you need to succeed (minimum qualifications)

  • Strategic thinker with creativity and vision
  • Proven ability to successfully build and manage a high-performance IT team
  • Robust experience supporting the deployment of new systems and optimizing existing platforms; strong portfolio management skills to deliver business initiatives on schedule and within budget
  • Positive, high-energy leader with the ability to collaborate with and quickly gain the confidence of senior management and internal customers
  • Experience with mergers and acquisitions as well as multiple business entities/divisions
  • Understanding of SASE concepts including zero-trust, SD-WAN, CASB, and next-gen Firewalls
  • Experience in the selection, implementation, and integration of a cloud-based eCommerce platform
  • In-depth experience in technology strategy, analysis, and planning
  • Excellent communication skills, which include active listening and the ability to present complex ideas in concise written and verbal descriptions which are easily understood by both technical and non-technical audiences
  • Ability to travel, less than 10%.


4 Year Degree required; BS Computer Science preferred


MBA desired


  • ERP Systems experience (JD Edwards system experience a plus)
  • CRM experience ( a plus)
  • Proficient in utilizing Microsoft tools, including Excel, Word, Visio and PowerPoint.

Example 3

We have a great opportunity for a Chief Information Officer. Under the direction of the Senior Vice President, Business Transformation, the CIO is a key leadership role and is responsible for developing and promoting all company’s technology platforms. The ideal CIO is a forward thinking, strategic advisor who provides visionary and strategic leadership through the utilization of technology. This person understands the role of technology in the organization and translates strategic direction to tactical plans and manages those plans to successfully implement technology solutions while thoughtfully planning the change management activities required to accompany the implementations.

As part of the Essential Leadership Team, this person exhibits a high level of teamwork and a fundamental understanding that IT is a service provider to the organization. The CIO will be an individual with a focus on innovation, continuous improvement and efficiency, driving change, and accountability throughout the organization.

Essential duties

  • Provides thought leadership and counsel to the Board, CEO and executive leaders to execute on a strategic plan, showcasing IT strategic value and IT capabilities as a driver of the future
  • Responsible for strategic planning for technology infrastructure, information system assets, data management, and enterprise security
  • Responsible for the protection of IT infrastructure, edge devices, networks, and data; prevention of data breaches, monitoring, and response to cyber-attacks
  • Establish the objectives for operations, maintenance, and enhancement of the IT systems and a plan for continuous improvement of the service levels
  • Provide expertise and leadership in the selection and management of vendors to provide low-cost, high-efficiency solutions
  • Based on business requirements, identifies new technology applications and platforms to support corporate growth and scalability; managing all new implementations and change management activities
  • Understands and optimizes IT investments based on a regulated utility model, understanding regulatory accounting principles
  • Oversees internal and contracted IT staff, building redundancy and succession planning into the organization
  • Ensures that IT and network infrastructure adequately support the company’s computing, data processing, and communications needs
  • Develops and manages all technology budgets and forecasts
  • Ensures compliance with government regulations that apply to systems operations


  • MBA or relevant advanced degree; Bachelor’s degree in IT or relevant area
  • 15+ years of related experience
  • 5-10 years of experience with IT leadership roles across several functional areas of IT
  • Demonstrated leadership success in cross-functional projects that required building alliances and fostering cooperation and collaboration among different parts of the business

Knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Demonstrated ability to foster strong relationships around the organization to gain business insight on technology needs and manage expectations around IT support of those needs
  • Strong foundation knowledge of core IT verticals and how to maximize the value of each division (PMO, Infrastructure, Info Sec, Applications, Service Desk, Administration)
  • Strong awareness of utility business model (rate base, financing, rate cases, etc.) not required, but very helpful
  • Solid technical understanding of technology architecture – compute, storage, networking, voice, mobile, app development, security
  • Solid experience with cybersecurity risk programs, industry best practices, threat intelligence tools, controls platforms, etc.
  • Complex IT project management understanding and skill set
  • Highly proactive and results-oriented with excellent critical thinking skills

Example 4

What you will be doing:

  • Overseeing all day-to-day IT operations
  • Monitoring hardware running at the manufacturing facilities across the world, on-prem and cloud-hosted servers and virtual machines, and the virtual private network that keeps the company secure
  • Interacting with other department heads to define, develop, and implement requested changes
  • Ensuring timely communication with ownership and key stakeholders concerning issues so they can properly prepare their teams (including but not limited to system outages and/or major performance issues)
  • Maintaining staffing levels through both hiring and terminations as needed
  • Meeting regularly with direct reports to ensure their and the company’s needs and expectations are met
  • Analyzing methods to efficiently address software system requirements
  • Creating code that meets system standards
  • Ensuring monitoring of all systems
  • Ensuring IT tickets are responded to and resolved in a timely and accurate manner
  • Examining and approving all purchase reqs or invoices related to the IT department and ensuring any additional approvals that are required are communicated properly
  • Monitoring licensing and communicating with ownership and users to ensure adequate licensing is available
  • Examining ongoing operational expenses and ensuring unnecessary costs are eliminated
  • Serving as main escalation point for on-call should a critical IT notification be missed

What you need to have:

  • 5-10 years of experience working in IT
  • Excellent communication and dynamic team leadership skills
  • Strong project management skills
  • Resourceful, results-driven attitude
  • Even-keeled temperament and ability to operate well in a fast-pasted environment
  • Certification is a plus
  • Degree in IT, Computer Science, or a related field a plus

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Project Manager Professional. One of the key areas that define the success or failure of a manager, especially at the executive level, is their ability to manage a project. By obtaining this certification candidates demonstrate their ability to apply the best practices and methods of project management from start to finish. Candidates will obtain a thorough understanding of the six domains: Initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and finally closing. 
  • Certified Information Security Manager. One of the largest threats to companies is the breach and theft of data by malicious actors. Being able to provide confidence to a candidate’s employer by demonstrating their knowledge and experience with internationally recognized best practices and elite designation by obtaining this certification is as much assurance as can be provided. 
  • PMI Risk Management Professional. CIOs arguably guide and make the most vital and long-term decisions for companies in the 21st century. Every year businesses put a million or billion-dollar bet on their CIOs to get their job done correctly, and that understandably comes with a bit of anxiety. By obtaining this certification, candidates can demonstrate excellence in managing and mitigating risk in project management. A future employer will know they are more than capable of minimizing risk and capitalizing on opportunities.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Would you be able to describe your experience leading a technology organization?
  • Do you have experience developing and implementing technology strategies?
  • What do you do to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advances and industry trends?
  • Can you discuss your experience with technology budgets and resource allocation?
  • What is your approach to technology risk management and security?
  • Would you be able to describe a particularly challenging technology project that you have managed and how you approached it?
  • How do you manage vendor relationships and negotiate technology contracts?
  • What is your experience with technology infrastructure design and deployment?
  • Can you describe your experience with technology integration and migration projects?
  • How do you handle conflicts or challenging situations with technology teams or stakeholders?
  • How do you manage technology change and communicate with stakeholders?
  • If you were to implement a new technology, how would you approach it?

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