Is one of your biggest career goals to become a chief technology officer?
If yes, you’re not alone. The truth is most professionals pursuing IT careers would love to rise to the top and occupy an office in the C-suite. Being a CTO is a major achievement.
But how do you become a CTO?
While there’s no standard path to becoming a CTO, there are steps you need to take to give yourself the best chance of ascending to this position.
In this article, we’re sharing what you need to know about the job of a CTO as well as what it takes to get the job.
Break into the IT Industry
Of course, no sane employer is going to hire a CTO who has a background in law, finance, or other field that isn’t related to IT. As such, the first step to becoming a CTO is to get a job in the IT industry.
There are tens of IT jobs you can pursue. For example, you could get started as an IT analyst, software developer, database administrator, computer support specialist, programmer, or web developer, just to mention a few.
Pick the job you want to pursue and take the necessary steps. If you’re looking to start out as a software developer, for example, you typically need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in software engineering.
Once you get the job, focus on racking up plenty of industry experience. Remember, CTOs are experienced IT pros.
Pursue Courses in IT Management
A chief technology officer doesn’t just take care of an organization’s IT infrastructure. There are also managers in charge of supervising IT teams. This means a CTO must be an adept manager and competent leader.
To prepare yourself for a career in IT management, it’s important to pursue management courses. While no one will fault you for pursuing courses in general leadership and management, most employers are always looking for CTOs with a strong educational background in IT management. For this reason, you want to pursue courses such as a master’s degree in IT project management.
Build Your Management Skills
Generally, a CTO provides IT leadership in an organization. Their goal is to ensure the organization is tech-forward.
This doesn’t mean you’ll find a CTO writing code or building computer programs for the organization’s use. A CTO builds and manages the teams that deliver on an organization’s IT goals.
Therefore, to excel in a CTO position, you need more than IT skills. You need strong management and leadership skills. If your people skills aren’t too good, now is the best time to build them.
A CTO is a problem-solver; a pro with strong analytical, organizational, and communication skills. Ensure you’ve nurtured these skills before you go looking for a CTO job.
Land the Job
CTO positions are few and far between because an organization typically only needs one CTO and it’s a position you would find in large organizations, some mid-sized companies, and a few high-value startups.
Since the job is rare, you need to know how to find it. A good way is to position yourself as a potential candidate for CTO employment. Utilize LinkedIn and other social networks, and attend industry events, where you can also learn more about industry developments on various topics, from cloud computing to cybersecurity.
You Can Become a CTO
The road to becoming a CTO isn’t straightforward. There are only a few positions available at any given time, which means only candidates who are well-qualified and know how to get employed will be the lucky ones. With this article, you’ve got helpful tips that will be invaluable along the way.