Providing direction for the technical arm of the company and initiating a strong mission and vision are vital for a chief technology officer (CTO) CTO job description. Planning for strategic growth that aligns with the overall goals of the business is essential for a CTO. The first step towards this career path is to understand what this person does. So what is a CTO? This article will detail all aspects of a CTO job description including responsibilities, skills, working schedules, education, experience needed, and their job outlook.

What Does a CTO Do?

CTOs are responsible for managing all technical parts of a company and instilling leadership in the technical team. Additionally, they need to communicate with other executives how the company should use different technologies. A part of the CTO responsibilities used to fall under the purview of the chief information officer. However, increasing developments and usage of technology have dictated a need for its’ own branch of executive leadership. A CTO job description provides insight into what these people do.

make a cto salary

The median CTO job salary is $151,754. The vast majority of these professionals need a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is often preferred. Not all companies use a CTO, but it is becoming a more common position. There are no strict hours, but they need to work full-time. They may have to work evening or weekend hours to accomplish everything the company needs.

CTO Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

Overseeing the technical unit of a company will lead to multifaceted and varied job duties. Therefore, all of these CTO roles and responsibilities will be at a high level and involve some degree of leadership, management, or strategic decision-making.

  • Work with a team to establish the mission and vision for the technological arm of a company.
  • Set the direction for the team by deciding important projects, programs, and directions.
  • Use strategic decision-making and assess the status of various aspects of technology to improve for the future.
  • Lead and assign the research and development team in projects that will produce valuable findings.
  • Conducts regular meetings with the executive team to provide updates and presentations of the work of the technology team.
  • Provide leadership to the team through professional development activities.
  • Delegate responsibilities as needed so that the focus of the position stays on higher-level directions.

The Society for Human Resource Management includes a related list of responsibilities.

CTO Required Skills

  • Fast learning skills. The CTOs should have a good grasp on multiple aspects of technology. However, it is impossible to know everything, especially in the world of rapid change. Therefore, a chief technology officer who knows when, what, and how to learn quickly will be invaluable.
  • Independent worker skills. CTOs have independence in their work day, priorities, and how they carry out the mission of their team. Additionally, they need to be ethical in their work and commit to working an appropriate amount without direct supervision.
  • Innovative skills. Technology constantly changes. The chief technology officer needs to have the bravery to be innovative. Also, they should have the knowledge of research and development to know which innovations are likely to succeed. Knowledge of the diffusion of innovations can be very helpful.
  • Leadership skills. This position sets the leadership tone for everyone who works on technical aspects for the company. Thus, valuing the input of employees and setting a strong strategic direction will make a positive difference in the productivity of the team.

How to Become a CTO

The right candidate for a CTO job needs to have extensive experience and, at the minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Many positions prefer someone who has a master’s of business administration or a doctorate. Some chief technology officers will advance to their position from within the company while others get hired from outside.

Education & Training Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for a CTO is a bachelor’s degree. There are, of course, rare exceptions to this rule. For example, Steve Jobs was a huge force in technology and never even earned a college degree. Preferable majors are finance, business, information science, and technology, or computer science.

The typical career path is to earn a bachelor’s degree in information or computer science and then a graduate degree in a business concentration. Your coursework should cover topics like databases, emerging technologies, electronic marketing, data and privacy security, and systems analysis.

There are optional certificates that can prepare you for various technologies. Self-paced modules and tutorials introduce a variety of software from Microsoft Excel to Adobe Captivate to Articulate Storyline. In addition, a certificate or degree in project management is an added qualification. A popular project management strategy is Agile.

Work Experience

Part of fitting into the CTO job description implies extensive work experience. Gaining expertise in a variety of technology fields will make the person a better suited for the job. It is not abnormal for an executive in a company to advance from within. They need to have lower level management experience before progressing to the role of a chief technology officer. Characteristics such as initiative, risk-taking, and innovation should are of high value.

Work Schedules

Virtually all CTOs need to work full-time. There are no 40 hour work weeks. They work as long as needed and considered non-exempt employees. The most important consideration is to maintain a semblance of work-life balance. A typical work day consists of several meetings, checking email, dealing with possible personnel issues, and making sure that the technology strategy matches the business strategy.

Career Prospects

Even though the CTO job is relatively recent, there is a lot of optimism around the job. Technology continues to become an essential part of a business strategy. Having someone responsible for managing all technical aspects of the company has become increasingly important. The overall growth rate for chief executives is 6 percent. The job can be volatile because, while tech start-ups are numerous, they can go away almost as quickly as they formed.

The median CTO salary is $151,754. Larger companies will tend to offer a higher salary. These professionals have significant bonuses and profit shares. Both of these additional sources of income can reach upwards of $50,000 each. Also, stock options can lead to more money. There is fierce competition for the job of CTO because there will be many qualified applicants who desire to progress to this position. Networking and building connections are very crucial for getting the opportunity to interview for one.


A CTO job description shows that this is a very well-respected and esteemed profession. This high-level position comes with a lot of responsibility and expectations. The success or failure of technical aspects of the company will be credited to the chief technology officer. Therefore, staying aware of everything that is happening and setting a strong strategic direction for the company will be vital to your reputation as a CTO. It will imply many responsibilities, including working with a team of IT experts, software engineer, and anything to do with the technological aspect of the business.