CIO vs CTO: Key Differences in Roles and Responsibilities

The CTO’s skill set must include solid technical understanding as well as interpersonal abilities. Combining these two aspects can create a perfect CTO that meets the best CTO job description, including your company’s requirements, and brings success to your business. While positions in the following categories may only require a few years of experience, people seeking managing or directorial positions should have about 10 years of experience and more. According to the average startup CTO job description, IT employees who wish to serve as CTOs must often spend an extra five to seven years polishing their leadership and business abilities once in a management role. One more point to consider is the CTO experience is always marked in the chief technology officer job description.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

They assist team players in selecting and correctly using the necessary tools. Many well-known startups have failed before becoming successful due to their decision to work with an in-house team on a poorly thought-out concept. So one of the CTO tasks and responsibilities is to determine which components of the work can be created and optimized by an in-house team and which would necessitate the engagement of external resources. It is critical to recognize the necessity for outsourcing services as soon as possible. Slack, for example, had a rocky start until enlisting the help of a third party, MetaLab, to overhaul its website, app, and logos. Thuan Pham is a visionary leader who keeps up with his CTO responsibilities (such as developing technology, eagerness to expand the company’s reach to new platforms).

Tools and Programs Chief Technology Officers Use

Regardless of the size, type, or maturity of the organisation, the CTO should be the most senior technology role in the business. They should hold a senior executive role, and report directly to the CEO. It relies on a deep understanding of technology and technology trends, combined with insight into how competitors are leveraging these technologies to innovate. In terms of qualifications, many organisations require an advanced degree such as an MBA, as the role involves a great deal of complex financial, business, and management skills.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world’s media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers. Sarat Pediredla is CEO of global tech consultancy Hedgehog Lab, one of many companies to combine tech and product roles into one CPTO. According to him, unifying these roles can streamline decision-making, simplify communication and foster an integrated approach to tech and product strategy.

Challenges Every CTO Faces

In some cases, those differences are driven by the personalities who have the job, and in other cases, it is a function of the industry sector, Priest explained. CTOs on average earn a salary of $163,309 per year, according to PayScale, a firm that provides a compensation platform to calculate cto responsibilities compensation rates. Total compensation for these positions ranges from $89,000 to $294,000 per year. “The role of the CTO continues to evolve,” says Craig Stephenson, managing director for the North America Technology Officers Practice at organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry.

The most important role a CTO has is to use technology to generate value for a company and help it achieve its business objectives. At their core, they must develop a technology vision and strategy that will allow the company to thrive and build a solid competitive advantage. They need to be able to understand broad technology trends and have the business knowledge necessary to align technology-related decisions with the organisation’s results and objectives. In a world driven by increasing developments and advancements in technology, your business’s ability to maintain a competitive advantage rests on the quality of your technology leadership. Usually, “technology leadership” revolves around the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Chief technology officers (CTOs) evaluate new technology and implement it to launch or improve goods and services for their firm’s clientele and customers.

The CTO Operational Management Duties

If a small startup CTO works well, the company may grow quickly and the role of CTO will change significantly. Data security and compliance – Will your CTO be required to optimize and manage organizational data? In other industries, security and compliance usually take a much higher priority. Understanding enterprise risk and standards can be painful but extremely valuable knowledge.

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A modern CTO needs to be well versed in UI/UX design, user research, agile, DevOps, and cloud-based software development methods. As a result, CEOs and boards often don’t understand or confuse the CTO’s role when they are looking to hire one. Yet, given that a lot of the business’s competitive advantage rests on whoever is hired, they should know what to expect from CTO’s. Many large corporations need both a CTO and CIO, while smaller companies tend to have one or the other.


In business, the area of product development is encouraging innovation, while building new and developing technology products for customers. The CTO’s is the public face of the technology team, so should be indicating how this technology can make their customer’s lives better. Depending on the organization, A CTO typically oversees the information technology (IT) and technology of a business.

  • The executives may offer assistance with creating goals, coming up with ideas, debating possibilities, and assessing risks.
  • This person is likely to have been with the company since its inception.
  • As a result, CEOs and boards often don’t understand or confuse the CTO’s role when they are looking to hire one.
  • A wealth of knowledge in technology will increase your probability of one day leading the technology department in an organization.
  • Today, digital transformation and innovation is at its fastest pace and a CTOs role in a company is to lead its organization in the innovation race.
  • This category of CTOs has a vision, being excellent at conveying it to the rest of the team.

In 2019, Gartner developed several CTO personas based on analysis from a large CTO study, as well as CTO profiles and job descriptions. They found that it is important to know which CTO an organisation needs and where any gaps can be filled by other technology roles. In fact, having a technical experience is seen as essential to understanding the nuances of technology strategy and delivery – and if you’re looking to hire a CTO, you should expect them to be skilled in these fields. A lot of technology leadership is about strong communication and influencing. The CTO needs to communicate technical goals to non-technical employees and make them enthusiastic about the possibilities it offers. Learn how to focus and assimilate key knowledge around emerging technologies.

Business IT

A well-versed CTO is knowledgeable in roadmapping & development, innovation, leadership, strategic planning, AI, machine learning, cloud, DevOps, and budgeting, amongst other skills and technologies. Tech now underlies whole business strategies, so it makes sense to squarely align products and services with the tech that drives wider business goals. Combining the roles also enables faster decision-making around product development and deployment. To keep their staff productive, a CTO must continuously monitor performance. The CTO should collaborate extensively with developers in a company setting to see where they are succeeding and where they need improvement.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

The CTO is also responsible for planning technology budget and resources. As one of the important executives, chief technology officers align their tech decisions with the goals of the organization. They collaborate with CIOs, if there is one, to lead the team efficiently and adopt the best strategies. As more businesses warm up to the benefits of digital transformation, the role of a chief technology officer (CTO) has never been more important.

Do businesses need both a CIO and a CTO?

A lot of innovation will come through strategic partnerships with start-ups, vendors and technology companies. Having an ecosystem of partnerships is a great way to de-risk and accelerate innovation. It is important that technology investments are governed well, policies and principles are set and resources are well managed.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities