What Does a CTO Do?

Chief Technology Officer

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is in charge of all technological needs within an organisation. Alongside this, they will be responsible for the research and development and analyse the needs of the organisation. This is to ensure that the company invests their capital sensibly, prioritising their objectives. The CTO of a startup or any company will be responsible for all the technological needs of their respective company or organisation.

This helps ensure that the company in question can be driven by technology wherever necessary and that the technology employed is fit for purpose and fulfils its requirements. This can be anything from which CRM a company uses to helping create more bespoke technologies.

The Chief Technology Officer usually reports to a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and occasionally the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company.

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What Are The Responsibilities Of a Chief Technology Officer?

The Chief Technology Officer is in charge of leading either the engineering or the technology department within a business. In addition to this, they develop procedures with the aim of enhancing their services for the benefit of external customers.

Another responsibility of a Chief Technology Officer is to increase potential earnings and carry out cost-benefit analysis’ and return on investment analysis’.

The role of a Chief Technology Officer was originally carried out by the Chief Information Officer, however due to the increase in available technology, the responsibilities started to become split between two roles to increase organisation. Most technology-based organisations now employ a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Information Officer to carry out their roles separately.

Whilst the titles of the two roles remain similar, the Chief Technology Officer has a less technology-focused role, focusing more on strategic planning. They are usually responsible for growing the business externally through technology, creating products and services which could benefit potential clients.

What Are The Different Types Of Chief Technology Officer?

The rise of Information Technology (IT) has increased the importance of the role of Chief Technology Officer, meaning the specific responsibilities of the CTO are dependent on the company. There are four types of Chief Technology Officer, and some companies have just one whilst others employ multiple. The types of Chief Technology Officer which can be employed by a business include:

  • Strategic Planner – Responsible for envisioning future uses of technology and implementing technical strategies for the company. This is done with the aim of ensuring the company’s success
  • Consumer Liaison – A Chief Technology Officer in this role is responsible for communicating between the client and the company, achieving an oversight of the target market and helping provide Information Technology projects to the market
  • Thinker – This Chief Technology Officer helps to facilitate the corporate strategy alongside fuel technological infrastructure. In addition to this, they analyse target markets and create new and innovative business models. They also work closely with the Chief Executive Officer alongside the other members of the senior management team within the company
  • Strategic Planner – Within this role, the Chief Technology Officer will be responsible for deciding how technology should be utilised within a business and assessing how they can implement newer technologies to benefit the company

How To Become a Chief Technology Officer

In order to become a Chief Technology Officer, firms will usually search for a master’s degree in computer science or something similar, such as technology management. In addition to this, Chief Technology Officers are expected to focus on customers’ products, meaning a degree or qualification in marketing, customer relations or sales are often also deemed useful.

A combination of these factors can provide a useful background for this role, as experience in marketing can benefit the customer-facing aspects of the role, but the knowledge and expertise of up and coming technology will be vital to the success of both the company and the Chief Technology Officer themselves.

Chief Technology Officers are also expected to be practical and have sufficient experience in various Information Technology organisations. Experience of over 15 years is typical for this role as it is a senior level position.