Being a CTO sounds like a lot, but many IT professionals aspire to reach this top position. Unlike the other C levels, CTO is a much-needed position in technology companies and there are not many IT professionals available for that position. This is because there are many criteria needed to become a CTO. Often when a startup closes for some reason, former CTOs usually easy to find work in the same position, whereas other C levels may take time or even difficulty finding work.
Then, what skills are needed to become a CTO? Do you have to have special education or have certain certifications? Based on my experience, a CTO must not only have education in the IT field but also have long experience in several fields, such as software architecture, software development, project management, and people management, including always updating the latest technological knowledge that can be applied in their field. If you only have long knowledge and experience in the field of IT management such as ERP, then a more suitable position is CIO. A CTO must be able to build software that becomes the company’s main product starting from the concept, the required architecture, the programming technology used, managing projects efficiently, and building a reliable team. Apart from that, when dealing with the Board of Directors, the CTO must also be able to provide a clear explanation of what product is being built and its timeline. To achieve this, of course, the CTO cannot work alone but must be supported by his team and other executives.
If you look at the brief description above, it will certainly give the impression that the CTO is a rare creature that looks like a superhero. But the reality is not so. Just as an executive chef is extraordinarily busy during meal times, so does the CTO have to exert all his abilities during project execution. For the rest, the CTO is more concerned with coordinating work so that everything can run well and smoothly, although, in reality, this is not always the case. What happens is messy project schedules, incompetent teams, key persons who resign at important times, limited budgets, and many more. In the end, the ability to lead is the main skill that a CTO must have so that in any chaotic situation, you can still stand up straight to solve all the problems in front of your eyes.
Strengthen your technical skills and hone your soft skills with managerial skills and increase your flying hours before entering the world of CTO.