What Is A Chief Technology Officer?

A CTO is the highest technology executive position within a company. The CTO oversees all overarching technology infrastructure while reporting directly to the CEO. The VP of Engineering, however, primarily deals with the management of development teams and preparing and optimizing budgets. In today’s world, a startup cannot succeed without a team member who is specifically responsible for the technological support of all the business goals and ideas. A CTO is not just a good coder who can create the first version of a product.

There are many career paths to CTO, especially as the position is very broad and encompasses various skills. Most CTOs have a background in software engineering, architecture, data engineering, or project management. While the VPE’s main focus will be in people, processes and program management, the CTO will guide overall leadership and most of their work will involve research, revisiting processes and examining tech architecture.

Why Size And Stage Matters

They hold the highest technology executive position and will be involved with the ongoing innovation and development of new and interesting technologies to keep their company on the cutting edge. While both these roles deal with technology infrastructure and software development; for example, value stream management; they differ from each other in a handful of key ways. For information about how we deliver virtually, at your site, or at one of our delivery centers, visit our website. To effectively scale a team, a CTO needs to take the time to train their IT professionals on their company’s business culture and customer expectations. They must also keep them up to date on the latest standards in development and delegate the right team leads that will step in and provide leadership and team management assistance as necessary. The qualified CTO has extensive experience working on complex development projects.

Because we have experience in developing our own products and we understand this cycle from beginning to end. We have experience in this both from the point of view of technology and from the point of view of the business. We can afford to provide this service for SaaS development, which is very atypical for an outsourcing company. One of the most important responsibilities of a VP of Engineering is the hiring and retention of professionals that have the right skills for the objectives and strategy of the company. They will be responsible for managing their teams and cultivating a culture that supports productive collaboration and initiatives through to on-time completion.

What is a CTO

Given all the constraints (e.g., remote work, budget limitations, absence of established processes), this task is rarely easy and always requires strong project management skills. Most organizations, at some point, will need a Chief Technology Officer . Maybe you manage a growing company or startup and don’t need a full-time CTO, cannot afford a one, or you require IT leadership and management for your staff. Or, maybe your CTO just left or is on temporary leave and you need a capable fill-in. Both roles are focused on information and technology, thus it can sound very similar. While a CIO focuses on the internal part of an organization, a CTO focuses on the external, in most cases.

Translations Of Cto

Besides engineering work, it often involves management, human resources, marketing, and many other tasks. So, let’s look at the scope of CTO roles and responsibilities startups usually expect from a person in this position. Nowadays, innovations are the main driving force behind the growth of any business. That’s why the way a tech startup adopts and handles technologies defines if it’ll succeed or not in the end. From this standpoint, it becomes clear that the CTO’s mission is not limited to doing some coding work — it’s much broader. Basically, a CTO is a person who ensures that the implementation of a business strategy that startup founders developed is properly supported with the right software.

What is a CTO

The size of a particular organization, its main activities, and available financial resources also have a great impact. So you can hardly find two similar chief technologist job descriptions. In order to serve their customers and stay competitive, it’s critical for all businesses to have the best technology tools available. A focus on digital transformation worldwide means the CTO must be adept at selecting the most efficient IT platforms and employing agile, lean development practices. Most organizations require CTOs to at least have a bachelor’s degree in a technology-related field.


A DevOps artifact is an item that is produced during the development process. In fact, there are specific artifacts that are required during a development cycle – and these need to be stored in an accessible manner. Watch this on-demand webinar hosted by The Open Group, where LeanIX shares insights on how we can help bring order and clarity to your complex microservices architecture. A Fractional CTO or sometimes referred to as a Virtual CTO, is, as the name implies, a CTO that is not a full-time employee and utilized like other on-demand services, on a part-time, retainer, or as-needed basis.

This includes the stored data, customers and employees communications. As with most jobs in the IT industry, the path to CTO starts with a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science-related field . Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments.

What is a CTO

He or she also answers all customers’ questions about security and compliance, addresses their complaints related to the product performance, and overall establishes a tech vision of a product. They will be involved in all aspects of the development team’s activities, but occupy a managerial role. They will work with the CTO to co-develop technical strategy and will directly supervise teams of staff.

At that point, these responsibilities generally break down into two roles. There is no universal standard for a CTO’s rules, they are completely dependent on the organization’s needs and size. In some situations, CTOs can play various roles, such as strategic planner, customer relations liaison, and overseer of infrastructure. A chief technology officer is the highest technology executive position within a company and leads the technology or engineering department. They develop policies and procedures and use technology to enhance products and services that focus on external customers.

Choosing technologies, teams, building a development plan taking into account all priorities and all business requirements leads either to the successful creation of the first version of the product or to complete failure. For a startup, this is critical because there is always not enough money to cover risks and unpredictable events. When considering which position suits your professional growth best, it’s important to consider what responsibilities your personal skill sets line up with best. Both a CTO and the VP of Engineering require an advanced and proven background in software development and history in other senior-level positions. As the VPE is an executive position, professionals will need similar experience in senior-level positions at a technology company. Positions that tend to lead to the VP of Engineering role are Senior Software Developers and Engineering Directors.

Product Development

If you’re comfortable managing people, can inspire confidence, and are goal-oriented, then you might suit the VPE position. If you are more focused on research and overarching company growth, then you may prefer a position as a CTO. For example, it is the CTO that will guide developments in microservices architecture and governance. This also means they have a direct influence https://globalcloudteam.com/ on the improvements of company agility. The CTO’s main objective is to improve the quality of existing tech processes with an emphasis on deliverables, while the VP of Engineering executes and scales projects to achieve product goals. A VP of Engineering will moderate and delegate the development and engineering while the CTO guides the overall technical strategy.

  • We will have to work very closely with marketers in order to ensure maximum product compliance with the market, so CTO should be as business-driven as possible.
  • This allows company leadership to collaborate on financial decisions and company direction.
  • Oddly enough, CTO in a startup should be a salesman, and he will have to sell confidence and reliability in it as a Technical Leader to investors.
  • Hiring engineers and ensuring their retention is probably one of the most time-consuming tasks a CTO must perform.
  • By the way, most often in the process of product evolution, a project manager appears first who begins to perform as a CTO, and only with further product growth and staff increase do separate dedicated service stations appear.
  • It is worth noting that the roles and responsibilities of this particular position will always differ depending on the organization.

Many companies are finding that a part-time CTO is often a smart choice. Ensure that the company maintains the current standards of technology and it complies with the existing regulations. Learn how to create and improve your hiring process to increase… Work with other executives on a budget for implementing new solutions and solving problems. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts.

Where the roles of the above two positions are not properly defined, there will be often confusion. This is because the two positions deal mostly with implementing activities related to information technology. However, if their roles are defined as required, they are different from the other. For instance, the CIOs are charged with the responsibility of researching, creating, and implementing the already existing technologies. On the other hand, the CTOs focus their work on technologies and also on external IT issues that affect the company. Their concern is to develop new technologies that will create more revenue and sales opportunities.

What Does A Cto Do And What Are Their Responsibilities?

And when the project is noticeable, security holes should never be left behind as it can be fatal for the business. It’s time to start being an administrator because without it it is impossible to manage other people. It is especially important to correctly combine the administrator and the integrator in yourself.

Now refactoring is an integral part of the budget and part of the development process. At this stage, CTO should ensure that the feedback from the customers of the product is implemented as quickly as possible and the product begins to satisfy their expectations as much as possible. In the beginning, most likely the development of promising functionality will recede into the background or maybe suspended altogether.

In such companies, often all technical issues lie with the “technical lead”. All financial and political issues are dissolved between the CEO and the Project Manager. By the way, most often in the process of product evolution, a project manager appears first who begins to perform as a CTO, and only with further product growth and staff increase do separate dedicated service stations appear. Although a CTO may not be directly responsible for the marketing issues and don’t themselves sell the product, they actively take part in both processes. For instance, a chief technical officer might be the only person in a startup team who can properly explain the benefits of a product from a technological standpoint.

What is a CTO

What’s more, the amounts of money startups are ready to pay to their team members are often lower than average in the tech market. That’s why CTOs must be able to teach junior specialists and get them up-to-speed on startup tech tasks. A startup CTO as a member of a C-suite often does cto roles and responsibilities a lot of managerial work. It includes not only the management of a startup team but also cooperation with freelancers, external partners, vendors, etc. The main challenge is to make all these parties work effectively together so they ultimately can complete the project successfully.

Should Ctos Code & How Does The Role Evolve In A Growing Company?

However, the hierarchy between these two important roles completely depends on the company’s organizational structure. In some organizations, both report to the CEO, while in some cases the CTO reports to the CIO. CTO stands for “Chief Technology Officer” is an executive who is responsible for managing an organization’s technical tasks along with research and development.

The VPE will have a keen understanding of company processes, software artifacts, and the catalogs which make up its architecture. Startup CTOs usually don’t have large teams of programmers with a wide range of tech skills who can advise them on different tech-related topics and deal with issues in specific tech domains. In some cases, a CTO is the only tech-savvy person in a startup, so they must possess good knowledge in all aspects of software development, from writing specifications to quality assurance. That’s why this requirement often assumes some experience as a tech lead and/or software architect.

They are also adept at managing deadlines, delegating tasks, and creating project roadmaps. They use these skills to help their IT team generate the firm’s product strategy and design. They are also responsible for assigning specific tasks to each staff member and making sure projects stay on track. Many software developers consider it the pinnacle position of their career field and aspire to lead their own group of IT professionals through the next frontier in code. So who leads the sometimes large teams of engineers and engineering managers to actually build and deliver quality software?

What Education And Degree Do You Need To Be A Cto?

Our cardiac interventionalists specialize in the full range of CTO PCI procedures. More recently, innovative new methods for treating CTO have been developed, including percutaneous coronary intervention . A software artifact is an item that is produced during the development process. This can be a data model, a prototype, workflow diagram, a design document, or a setup script. To answer all these questions, we’ll explain what global mission most CTOs perform and outline their key areas of focus in a startup’s day-to-day activity.


And at this point, CTO outsourcing can be a very good solution if the outsourcing company is able to do this. As a rule, at this stage, the product sharply begins to technically not satisfy the business, because it was developed according to compromise principles with a minimal budget in high-risk conditions . Now CTO has a lot of work because on all fronts it is necessary to modify the product and sharpen it under the growing customer traffic, growing loads. Political and diplomatic responsibility is to communicate with clients if necessary.

Becoming a CTO often involves at least 15 years of IT experience, along with a graduate degree and certifications in computer sciences and business administration. Many consider the tokens to be a product of the high-tech era, reflecting a shift in the direction of fintech. We will gladly share our knowledge and experience with you and find the most suitable option for you. And most likely it will turn out that the product in order to effectively go through all three phases will need 3 different people. At this stage, nothing has remained of the producer for a long time. Most often, this means that it is necessary to redo the entire architecture of the backend, its complexity increases many times over, big decision date is introduced, etc.

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