What Makes a Great Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?

Responsible for an organization’s technology strategy, the chief technology officer or CTO makes sure that the company is effectively utilizing its technology resource. Since the CTO leads your technical and engineering teams, make sure they have the following qualities that make a great chief technology officer.


Chief Technology Officer (CTO)There is one thing that all successful businesses have in common: great leadership. Any organization that is looking to grow needs a visionary technology leader who is also a good manager. These two qualities combined can help any organization to go places. When hiring a chief technology officer for your organization, there are certain qualities to look for. But, before we get to the qualities that make a great chief technology officer, let’s take a quick look at what a CTO refers to.

What Is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?

While it is focused on the top line of a company, the chief technology officer is actually a customer-facing role. A strategic role, the CTO utilizes the latest technologies to improve the product. The chief technology officer is responsible for ensuring that an organization implements technologies that improve the development of products. Typically, the chief technology officer leads the engineering team and is responsible for developing a technical strategy that improves the final product.

The person in the organization that provides technical supervision and review, the CTO oversees technical strategies, system engineering techniques, and emerging technologies in a company. Although people are quick to associate this role with the IT industry, the CTO has presence in many other industries.

How to Find a Qualified Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Since they are needed in many different industries, chief technology officers need to be equipped to take on a variety of responsibilities. For example, in one industry, the CTO may be responsible for software design while being responsible for network management or information architecture in another. The ideal CTO would be a specialist in all three.

The two most important thing that makes a great chief technology officer (CTO) is a strong academic background and proven technical proficiency. Also important is the ability of the chief technology officer to perform formal research. With the basic requirements that make a qualified CTO outlined, let’s get to the complete list of qualities that distinguish a great chief technology officer from the rest.

1.     Good Practical Knowledge

Practical knowledge that helps to build better software is a primary quality of a good CTO. Additionally, they require little to no technical input from other consultants or those working under them to get the job done. CTOs without a strong technical background are likely to permit actions that result in significant technical debt. For example, an organization may have to rewrite their software if the CTO is unable to foresee the level of difficulty in getting new hires up to speed with writing code. To avoid such issues, an organization needs to hire a CTO experienced in building code.

2.     Experience

When hiring for your organization, one thing that you should never discount is experience. For the role of CTO, look for individuals with both technical strategy development and management experience. The CTO you hire should have experience of managing technical processes as well as experience of managing people. Even if your company has a team of talented engineers and software developers, you need an experienced chief technology officer to get the best out of them. With the CTO leading your engineering and development teams, there is a little that can stop you from fulfilling your ‘technology’ potential.

3.     A Large and Quality Network

While the CTO is an expert in their field, they are certain things that even they wouldn’t know about. A good CTO would fill this gap in knowledge with their network. The CTO’s network includes app and software developers, technological consultants, network engineers, and so on. A good CTO will leverage the people in their network to complete a job that they cannot do on their own.

4.     Good Communication Skills

Irrespective of your role and industry, good communication skills are always important. At a leadership position such as the CTO, they are essential. Why does a CTO need to have good communication skills? They need them to impart technical knowledge to non-technical people. Good communication skills are also needed by a CTO to effectively communicate the following to all stakeholders in an organization:

  • The impact of technical choices on business goals
  • How business goals need to drive technical choices
  • The direction a technical project needs to go

In addition to the above, a chief technology officer needs good communication skills to ensure that there is input from all stakeholders in technical decisions.

5.     A Practical Approach

A major quality of a good CTO is that they put their ego aside when making decisions on behalf of their team or the organization. Let’s say the marketing department is asking for an additional feature to an app but the CTO doesn’t like the idea. However, there is consensus that adding the feature will be good for the company. In this situation, a good CTO would put aside their ego for the greater good of the company and do what the marketing department is asking for. A good CTO is a flexible person who would sacrifice their own ideas for the benefit of the organization.

It is important that the CTO you hire has the above-mentioned qualities. This will ensure that you have a great chief technology officer (CTO) working for you.

by Bobby J Davidson

We love our company and we love what we do.  Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business!  As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.

The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management.  We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services.   We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business.  percentotech.com/contact

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