What does a Chief Technology Officer do?
A chief technology officer (CTO) is tasked with managing the technical aspects of an organisation to ensure that they're in line with the company's growth targets. They'll also manage technical resources and ensure they're geared towards technological development.
Some CTOs will also play a role in researching an organisation's technology requirements. They must balance the long-term needs of a company alongside its immediate ones.
Most CTOs will report directly to the company's CEO.
Until recently, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) would perform many of a CTO's tasks as part of their job description. However, the number of CTO centric tasks has risen to the point where a separate job role has become necessary.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) responsibilities
- Managing the company's technological plans.
- Overseeing data security and management.
- Maintaining a company's network.
- Envisioning how different forms of technology will be used throughout the company.
- Researching ways the company's technological assets can be improved.
- Creating networking safeguards that prevent security breaches and keep client information confidential.
- Assessing whether new technologies are appropriate for the company to use.
- Ensuring technologies currently in use are efficient and making changes wherever necessary.
Who does a CTO report to?
CTOs are individuals who hold senior executive roles in their organisation. Because of this, they usually report directly to the CEO. They may also be expected to make presentations to the board of directors.
In some cases, a CTO may also be a board member. However, this will vary between companies.
What skills does an Chief Technology Officer (CTO) need to have?
- Effective hiring practices so that they can build the right team to work for them and further the company's aims.
- An ability to constantly educate themselves so that they're up-to-date with the latest technological advances.
- Diplomacy skills as they negotiate what they feel is best for the company's IT systems.
- An ability to liaise well with others and source information efficiently.
- Communication skills with people of all levels throughout the organisation they work for.
- An ability to research and predict the ways that different technologies can impact an organisation's development.
- Budgeting skills are also important, as CTOs usually need to work within a budget.
- The ability to mentor others who are further down in their team.
- An ability to respond well to constructive feedback.
What qualifications does a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) need?
Most people who become a CTO hold a bachelor's degree in computer science or another relevant field. They also have extensive managerial experience, as this is a senior position.
The more competitive posts may require a master's degree, especially when they're at a top organisation. Those who are already working as IT professionals can increase their chances of reaching CTO level by seeking out a post-graduate education. This includes taking steps such as studying an MBA with a relevant technology specialisation.
What is the career path for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?
Most CTOs need a bachelor's degree in a relevant computer science field. From there, they can start a number of entry-level positions where they gain on-the-job experience. Such positions may include:
- Big data engineering
- Network architect
- Web software development
- Security engineering
- Information security management
Ideally, prospective CTOs will gain between five and 10 years of experience before entering a managerial position. Once in a managerial role, they'll need to gain a further few years of experience before they can realistically apply to become a CTO. In total, CTOs require around 15 years of experience before they can enter their role.
How much does a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) earn?
Depending on their level of experience and seniority, CTO's can earn between AUD150,000 and AUD300,000 per year in a permanent role.
This salary guide is a compilation of salary and market information provided by Hudson consultants, clients, candidates and other sources across Australia. Information was gathered by drawing on the extensive knowledge of our specialist recruitment consultants across Hudson's specialist practice groups. Salary ranges are approximate guides only.
They relate to base salaries and exclude superannuation/bonuses/incentive schemes/stock options.