Chief Technology Officer (CTO) roles and responsibilities are very different from those required as a developer and engineer.
The job description needs to shift away from technical skills and towards managerial skills. Suddenly all those softer skills you’ve neglected and/or kept under wraps will need to emerge as you become an effective tech and digital business leader.
Leadership, communication, strategic planning and managing people become the priority, not always a comfortable shift for those of us from a technical background.
A CTO or tech leader has to step away from day to day technical involvement and the technical leadership they have become used too during their career and focus instead on everything else, from negotiation to finance to representing the technology department at board meetings to becoming a strategic thinker and futurologist. You need to handle the technology budget, developer teams and related tasks that means you need to delegate and move away from coding.
What they can’t do is stay focused on development work, which needs to the team they’re now in charging of building, managing and motivating.
It’s a big step to take and is why skills gaps sometimes exist between talented engineers and senior management roles. But a failure to bridge these gaps can impact on company growth, particularly as the technology strategy is often the business strategy in the 21st century company. The growth roadmap dependent on tech leaders who own the business vision as well as the technical vision.
Start Up / Fast Growth
Fire Fighting, Rapid Learning
If you’ve launched a tech startup or become one of the early hires, then your roles and responsibilities are going to change rapidly, as probably will the business model. If you’re a fast growth company then, hold onto your seat as you will need to grow at the same speed and hire a capable development team who can help you transform that business idea into a fantastic tech product or software product.
Steady Progression & Learning
Alternatively working within large companies will enable you to follow more of a career path, take less risk and build a learning programme that enables you to build up strong expertise and grow more organically into senior tech roles. You can assess what skills you need to make that transition from team player to tech leader by shadowing others, taking time out to learn new skills
Work, Life Balance
The speed and nature of the change ahead in your career must be predicated by what you need in your life.
Do you know yourself sufficiently well to understand what you need to find the perfect work-life balance?
We have seen many people apply for positions where they are qualified candidates but for roles or companies that are not aligned with their own purpose and career goals.