Chief Technology OfficerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Do you have a passion for technology and an ability to effectively lead others? You don’t have to sit behind a computer all day just because you work in technology. Instead, you can become a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and be able to interact with others and lead a team of problem solvers. You will be the backbone of the entire technological infrastructure!

A CTO is responsible for managing all technology and information systems within a business. They are to keep the business moving in a successful direction based on their ability to stay ahead of the technology curve. This includes cyber security, customer management systems, vendor software, sales programs, and more. It is up to the CTO to manage the constant changes in these systems and to minimize the technical difficulties that often appear when businesses are growing and changing. 

The CTO should be able to adapt and overcome when challenges arise. The ability to diagnose issues and critical thinking under pressure are common necessities in order to be successful as a Chief Technology Officer. They also provide continuing education to team members to ensure that everyone is up to date on these changes and make sure that everyone is working toward the same goal as efficiently as possible. They’ll maintain friendly usability to the employees and personnel that will be using the technology.

Sample job description

As Chief Technology Officer, you will be overseeing the chief information center and ensuring that it performs efficiently for customers, vendors, clients, employees, and others who have involvement in [Your Company Name]’s business. You will set the technology requirements, work to optimize our technology systems for efficiency and productivity, as well as maintain any cybersecurity requirements. Development of new systems, and changes to existing systems, will be key in order to stay up to date with constant industry changes.

Remaining up to date on current security measures, new software, and the technological changes with peripheral businesses in our network will be a must. There will be a need for constant integration with other technology platforms to keep everything online and up to date. You will also be working with other executives to collaborate on the direction of the company and to align our technology with the goals and aspirations of the company as a whole. Training of these systems will be required to ensure that employees understand the changes and will be able to work with the technological changes accurately.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Operate the departments budget 
  • Aid in onboarding new employees, recruiting, and training.
  • Oversee technology, science, and engineering production
  • Work alongside the Chief Information Officer 
  • Direct the company’s strategic development
  • Establish the technical vision/architecture 
  • Maintain technical infrastructure upgrades

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required in a computer science or related field
  • Three years of experience in data engineering, security engineering, information security management, network architecture, or any IT industry field. 
  • Master’s degree preferred

Required skills and qualifications

  • Good customer engagement 
  • Ability to work under pressure 
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines and direct the team to meet them
  • Capable of managing large budgets 
  • Stay up to date with the best information security practices 
  • Works well with others
  • Extensive IT management experience
  • Effective leadership skills
  • Proficient management skills
  • Knowledge of all IT systems within the country

Preferred qualifications

  • Hybrid degree in business management or business technology
  • Master’s degree in related field
  • 8 to 10 years of experience in IT leadership

Average salary and compensation

The average base salary for a Chief Technology Officer is $202,000 per year in the United States and an average of $290,000 with a yearly bonus included. Salary will vary depending on where you are located, your education, and your prior experience. 

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$198,000$271,200
Los Angeles, California$224,000$312,300
Denver, Colorado$187,200$264,500
Washington, DC$230,000$3158,800
Miami, Florida$188,000$262,000
Orlando, Florida$173,400$244,800
Tampa, Florida$175,000$247,200
Atlanta, Georgia$183,700$253,000
Chicago, Illinois$211,200$292,500
Boston, Massachusetts$228,300$310,400
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$182,000$250,000
New York City, New York$240,300$330,000
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$195,700$268,000
Dallas, Texas$190,500$261,000
Houston, Texas$189,700$260,000
Seattle, Washington$219,700$298,500
Overall$171,700$237,000

Typical work environment

Chief technology officers normally work in an office setting and spend most of their time in front of a computer. They usually sit for extended periods whether at a desk or in meetings. CTOs also monitor the IT department and schedule weekly meetings to make sure everything is correctly implemented. CTOs frequently communicate with their team members and help manage.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a chief technology office are during normal business hours between 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. They do sometimes have to work after hours and weekends in emergency situations or to meet upcoming deadlines.

Available certifications

  • Google Developers Certification. This is an online coding course that was developed by engineers from Google. It allows you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge of web development.
  • ScrumMaster Certification. The CSM certification is made available by the Scrum Alliance, which shows you the management techniques and values of scrum. This is an entry-level certification but is important for those who will be working in IT.
  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library Certification. This certification is designed to help improve the overall cycle and structure of IT services. It allows you to manage IT frameworks in an expert manner.
  • PMI Agile Certification. The PMI certification proves that you are successful in being strategic, knowledgeable, experienced, and organized in agile methods.
  • CompTIA Project+ Certification. This certification is for business professionals who manage smaller spectrum projects and will help them gain the skills required to become successful. For example, some skills include how to manage the life-cycle and stakeholders, establish communication skills, and retain project documentation.
  • Associate in Project Management Certification. Having this certification will distinguish you from other candidates in the job market as it shows your ability to successfully perform in project management. Candidates who typically manage larger projects will have this certification.

Career path

While you can become a certified technology officer with a bachelor’s degree, most prefer you to have a master’s degree with a background in computer science or a similar field. CTOs do not offer on the job training as they expect you to have five to ten years of experience in IT. There is an advantage to being certified in ScrumMaster, PMI agile, CompTIA Project+, Project Management Associate, Information Technology Infrastructure Library Certification, and the Google Developers, as it proves you are knowledgeable in this field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3021

2020 Employment482,000
Projected Employment in 2030534,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 11% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift52,700

Chief technology officer jobs are one of the fastest-growing jobs amongst all other c-level positions. There is a high demand for CTOs in corporate leadership. Also, the base salary for CTOs is expected to increase in a few years as it is becoming more competitive.

Sample interview questions

  • How would you describe your management style?
  • Tell us about your professional journey.
  • What assets can you bring to our company?
  • What’s your preferred software stack?
  • How do you measure your success?
  • What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What software design patterns do you think are underrated?
  • Do you use/are you familiar with TDD?
  • How do you handle when unexpected situations arise with your team?
  • Can you describe your current role for us?
  • Why do you want to work here?

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