CTO: Meaning, Duties, Salary & How to Become One

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If you want to be a CTO, you must like challenges and change, be willing to work hard, and have the will and strength to move up the IT leadership ladder. Usually, you need at least 15 years of IT experience, a graduate degree, and certifications in computer science and business administration to become a chief technology officer (CTO). This guide outlines who a CTO is, the job description of a CTO, their salary, CTO vs. CEO, and how to become a CTO.


A chief technology officer (CTO) is a top executive that oversees the whole IT department and is in charge of ensuring that business goals and requirements are addressed in IT strategy and operations.. It’s important to tell their job apart from that of chief information officers (CIOs), whose job is to manage a company’s infrastructure and focus on the technologies that make it possible for the company to work on the inside. In their job descriptions, chief technology officers are told to focus on making technology to sell to customers and expanding the company from the outside. CTOs and CIOs often work together to help the whole company with their engineering and technical knowledge. 

What’s the difference? Even though they have different names, the CTO’s job is more about planning and looking outward, while the CIO’s job is more about running technology. Usually, a CIO is in charge of the technologies that run the internal operations and business procedures of the company. The CTO is in charge of the technologies that help the company grow on the outside by implementing services and products that benefit customers and clients. Large companies often need both a CTO and a CIO, but smaller businesses usually only need one or the other. The decision will be based on the company’s goals and budget.

CTO Job Description

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) position was first seen in the top management of high-tech and dot-com companies in the middle to late 1990s. Technology continued to change how companies in all fields ran, forcing leaders to look at how technology affected their businesses in areas other than typical IT ones like buying computer hardware, getting access to a network, and buying software licenses. Today, leaders of all sizes and in all industries realize the importance of having a big-picture view of technology’s impact on their businesses today and in the future.

To ensure growth-driven technology investments, the CTO combines technological skills with strategic business knowledge. The precise roles of the CTO are determined by the company’s size and position in its industry. However, hiring the right CTO is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

Using this job description, come up with a way to help your company find the best CTO candidates.

[Intro paragraph] In the introduction to the CTO job description, you should give an overview of the company. Write about your company’s customer service, what makes it unique, and its overall values and culture. The introduction is also a place to sell your company to candidates, so make the most of these three or four sentences by highlighting any awards, leadership positions, and customer recognitions your company has received. 

Lastly, this part of the CTO job description is a great place to make a general statement about a big thing you hope the CTO will do for your company. Goals such as “guide the organization through digital transformation projects” and “create best-in-class digital production and IT strategies that assist employees and customers” can be included.

#1. CTO Job Responsibilities:

  • Set clear priorities and goals for IT management and production with the leadership team, balancing long-term and urgent needs.
  • Create and oversee yearly and quarterly budgets.
  • Manage the protection, management, and control of data.
  • Maintain relationships with strategic vendors and technology partners.
  • Control the allocation of IT resources, goal/KPI setting, and performance indicators.
  • Establish the overall IT strategy for the corporation to support business objectives.
  • Make infrastructure decisions while assuring technical excellence, adaptability, safety, soundness, robustness, and scalability in product solution architecting and engineering, and controlling all technical delivery.
  • assist in the creation and execution of plans for IT security failure and crisis recovery.
  • To drive strategic initiatives, and ensure strong communication across departments, including an awareness of the alignment between technology strategy and various technological road maps.
  • Set strategic plans and timetables for all technical, web, and mobile services evaluation, development, and deployment.

#2. Work Hours and Benefits

The CTO is part of the executive team, so anyone who wants the job probably knows that work hours need to be flexible. Also, depending on the kinds of projects the company does, the CTO may have to work early in the morning, in the evening, or on the weekend to oversee IT projects that would get in the way of business during normal business hours.

There are different ways to pay C-level employees, but most of the time it is a mix of salary and performance-based bonuses. Benefits and perks vary by company, but they usually include health insurance and retirement plan contributions made before taxes are taken out, paid time off, parental leave, and money for professional development and networking opportunities. In a market for IT leadership that is very competitive, it can help your company’s chances if your CTO job description highlights benefits that aren’t typical.

#3. CTO Qualifications/Skills:

  • In thia part of CTO job description, strong department leader with expertise in strategic planning, goal setting, process development, budgeting, and generating professional development opportunities within technology teams.
  • outstanding communication, leadership, and strategic thinking skills, as well as problem-solving talents.
  • excellent awareness of broad technological trends, as well as the ability to link innovation with corporate objectives.
  • excellent communication skills, including the capacity to communicate technical concepts in simple business terms, as well as work cooperatively with cross-functional teams and external partners.
  • Strategic intelligence, which includes the capacity to find new opportunities, drive clarity, establish focus, and make difficult decisions in complicated and dynamic environments,
  • capability to track and identify emerging technologies that can be used to solve difficult business problems.

#4. Requirements for Education and Experience:

  • In this part of CTO job description, a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, information systems, or a related discipline is required (a master’s degree is desirable).
  • Prior experience as a CTO, director, or other similar position of leadership.
  • Previous experience as a senior engineering leader in charge of architecture and engineering for enterprise-wide technology platforms, as well as leading SaaS technology platforms.
  • A broad understanding of software engineering is required, including languages, frameworks, techniques, and industry trends.
  • Expertise leading complex, major changes, and initiatives; demonstrated organizational and interpersonal change management skills; experience integrating teams across several business units and managing a globally dispersed workforce.
  • Extensive experience establishing and implementing an effective IT governance framework across the IT service delivery spectrum.

#5. Call to Action

The goal of the job description, like any good marketing tool, is to get qualified readers (in this case, potential applicants) to take the next step in the hiring process. Be clear about how to apply, what to expect from the interview process, and when the job will be filled, if that information is available.

Salary of CTO

In the United States, a CTO usually earns a salary of $143,000 per year. The salary ranges from 70,000 USD (the lowest) to 223,000 USD (the highest). This is the average yearly salary, which includes housing, transportation, and other benefits. The salaries of chief technology officers vary a lot based on their experience, skills, gender, and where they work.

Chief Technology Officer(CTO) Salary Distribution in the United States

#1. Salary Range

The minimum salary for a CTO in the United States is $70,000 per year, while the maximum salary is $223,000. (maximum salary).

#2. Median Salary

The median salary for a CTO is 146,000 USD per year, which indicates that fifty percent (50%) of chief technology officers earn less than this amount while the other fifty percent earn more. The median represents the salary value in the middle of the distribution. In general, you want to be on the right side of the graph, with the group that earns more than the median pay.

#3. Percentiles

The 25th and 75th percentiles are two values that are close to the median. 25% of a CTO’s salary is less than $97,100 USD, whereas 75% earn more than $97,100 USD. 75% of Chief Technology Officers earn less than 188,000 USD, while 25% earn more than 188,000 USD.

CTO Salary Comparison by Years of Experience.

Most of the salary is based on how much experience the person has. Of course, your salary will be higher if you have more years of experience. We looked at the salaries of chief technology officers based on their level of experience and found the following:

With less than two years of experience, a chief technology officer makes about $83,000 per year.The average salary for someone with between two and five years of experience is 107,000 USD per year, which is 29% more than the average salary for someone with less than two years of experience.

Next, someone with five to ten years of experience makes 147,000 USD per year, which is 38% more than someone with two to five years of experience.

 How to Become a CTO

Now that we know everything we need to know about this job, let’s talk about how to get there. Here are five ways you can become a CTO: bachelor

#1. Get the Necessary Education

The most fundamental educational qualification for becoming a CTO is a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science. But, in order to excel as a CTO, you need to consider enrolling in a Master’s or MBA program in IT administration. In reality, candidates with an MBA or a Master’s degree are more likely to get hired by large corporations. You can also look into online leadership classes to get started on the right track 

Finally, a CTO must know everything about technology, including finance, leadership, and teamwork. Hence, lifelong learning should replace degrees.

#2. Gain the Necessary Experience

CTOs are in C-suite positions and should have at least 15 years of IT experience. Certifications might boost your job application, along with your degree.

#3. Develop Leadership, People, and Team Management Skills

Technology isn’t enough. Employers want candidates with soft skills like leadership. CTOs manage designers, project managers, and developers. You’ll also work with them and assign work to them. You will also be coaching and inspiring your team. Leadership, people, and team management soft skills are essential. This will improve your leadership and CTO status.

#4. Develop and Master Technical Skills

Keep up with technology. To develop the required technical skills, take courses. These trainings and programs help keep you up-to-date on technology.

#5. Grow Your Power and Talk to Great Leaders.

No matter what you do for a living, you must network. When you network, you meet people from all walks of life and talk to them. You also meet leaders who can teach you a great deal and help you figure out how to build new technologies. Networking will also help you get your name out there, both inside and outside of your field.


A company’s CEO and CTO often work closely together to make sure that their company’s strategic vision and the technology they give their employees match up. Even though they share a similar title, a CEO and a CTO are different in several important ways.

#1. Strategy

Business strategy is the process of setting goals for a company and figuring out how its leaders plan to reach those goals. CEOs and CTOs both make plans for their own departments, but these plans are often similar. A company’s CEO plans both short-term and long-term goals for the business. For example, they might choose a plan to save money on operational costs, which might include outsourcing.

A CTO may come up with a technology strategy that includes outsourcing IT operations or cutting the cost of storage in order to make sure that the company’s goals are in line with the strategy set by the CEO. The two executives might work together to discuss workable plans when coming up with strategies.

#2. Knowledge

The key area of expertise for a CEO is business performance and management. Executives and board members often hire professionals as CEOs because they believe they have the operational and financial knowledge to run an entire organization, learn and adapt to changes in an industry, come up with strategies, and take actions that can improve the performance of their company.

A CTO, as a technology executive, often has in-depth knowledge of how technology and infrastructure may help a firm achieve its goals. They frequently assess a company’s hardware and software and can identify opportunities for improvement.


Most firms require a bachelor’s degree, although others require a master’s. CEOs usually have business degrees. Some CEOs have industrial degrees. For instance, the CEO of a healthcare company may take business and nursing classes.

CTOs generally have a computer science or IT degrees. Even though only a small number of companies require a Ph.D., getting one could show employers how knowledgeable and dedicated you are.

Most organizations demand at least a bachelor’s degree for both professions; however, some may require master’s degrees. CEOs often get degrees in business administration or management because they need to know how to run a business. Some CEOs may have a degree in their field of business. A CEO of a healthcare company, for example, may study healthcare administration or nursing in addition to business education.

CTOs frequently holds degrees in computer science or information technology. Even though not many jobs require a doctorate, getting one can help employers see how knowledgeable and dedicated you are.

#4. Salary and Job Outlook

Executive salaries depend on the region, firm size, sector, and experience. A huge technology corporation may pay these people more than a small publishing house. CEOs make $115,385 per year, while CTOs make $134,489 per year. Top executive jobs are expected to expand 4% through 2029, reflecting the national average.

#5. Management

Both executives supervise senior leadership teams for different functions, depending on the size of the company. Marketing, advertising, editorial, and operations senior vice presidents may report to a CEO. CEOs set company goals, but each reporting leadership professional sets their own and decides how to achieve them.

In the infrastructure, IT operations, cybersecurity, development, engineering, and tech support departments, CTOs report to senior vice presidents. In larger firms, a CTO may report to a CIO and manage technical support and engineering staff.

Is CTO Higher Than CEO?

The CEO sets the business’s strategy and is responsible for the whole company. CTOs, on the other hand, are only responsible for the tasks they perform. Also, when CTOs have problems, they can talk about them with other CEOs, board members, or even ask the CEO for advice.

Is CTO Higher Than VP?

Yes. The CTO will be the VP of Engineering’s primary contact and vice versa. Both positions are at the executive level and will collaborate closely. Typically, the VPE will report to the CTO directly, whereas the CTO reports to the CEO.

Is CTO Below CEO?

This person, who is also called a chief technical officer, looks at an organization’s short-term and long-term needs and decides where to invest money to help the organization reach its goals. Most of the time, the CTO reports directly to the CEO of the company.

Do You Need a PhD to Become a CTO?

As a CTO, you must be comfortable with finance, accounting, and management, and an MBA can help you acquire these skills. It is important to note that an advanced degree is not required to become a CTO.

What Position Is Below CTO?

Usually, the CTO reports directly to the chief information officer (CIO) of a company. However, the CTO may also report to the CEO of the company.


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