What is an Accidental CTO?

Andrew Weaver
April 19, 2022

We define an Accidental CTO as someone who is typically working within an early stage, fast growth company and who has fast tracked into a CTO role. One of our CTO Academy members calls it the “Ahead of Schedule” CTO and has written a blog about his own experience.

These individuals might have started as a founder or senior developer but the role and business have grown so rapidly it’s become almost by default, a more complex quasi or full CTO position.

People in this situation face a range of new challenges, many of which are outside their existing skill set so it’s a steep learning curve as they grapple with process, hiring, time management and just trying to lead a rapidly growing and under pressure team.

They can feel out of their depth and the imposter syndrome looms large as they’re suddenly in the spotlight and potentially working one of the most pivotal roles for that company.

They’re often working crazy hours, slightly offset by an equity stake in the company but that’s the promise of jam tomorrow and a lot of work today.

They’re also the tech leader persona we work with most here at CTO Academy so if you fit this category, we have the support you need. For more information visit here.

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