Published on October 29, 2023, 9:26 pm

  • The role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is crucial for organizations and requires technical expertise, collaboration, market knowledge, influencing abilities, and effective communication skills. A CTO should have hands-on experience with software development, cross-functional experience, and stay updated on technology trends. Customer experience and security are prioritized, and collaboration with other C-suite members is crucial. Aspiring CTOs should focus on developing presentation, public speaking, and writing skills while staying updated on industry developments.

The role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is essential for organizations that value scientific and technological advancements. As an executive-level position, the CTO focuses on understanding and implementing technology to achieve business goals. According to Masterclass, the CTO plays a leadership role in both technology and engineering departments, contributing to the decision-making process for research and development.

For a CTO to be effective in their role, they must have extensive knowledge of new technologies and trends. With technology advancing rapidly and uncertainty becoming the norm in 2023, businesses increasingly rely on innovation through technology. So what exactly should a CTO do to thrive in this environment?

Vishal Ghariwala, the Chief Technology Officer for APJ and Greater China at SUSE, believes that a good starting point for a CTO career is gaining hands-on experience with software development. Whether it’s being a software developer, consultant, pre-sales engineer, or software architect, having practical skills is crucial. Since the CTO must understand how technology supports business growth, experience working in various functions like marketing, sales, and business development is also valuable.

In addition to technical expertise and cross-functional collaboration, Ghariwala emphasizes the importance of market research and staying updated on technology trends. Attending conferences, seminars from vendors, analyst briefings can provide vital insights into advances in technology. Moreover, as the face of the company’s technology initiatives, the CTO needs strong influencing abilities along with presentation and public speaking skills.

The pandemic has significantly influenced the role of the CTO. Cloud computing has taken center stage as organizations adopted hybrid work models to sustain operations during these challenging times. The cloud serves as an important strategy for creating resilient IT infrastructure that allows applications to run everywhere – from on-premises environments to the cloud to edge computing.

In terms of priorities for a CTO amidst differing objectives within an organization,
customer experience takes precedence for Ghariwala. Improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and renewals are vital for business success. Tying wishlists to organizational goals can ensure the alignment of technology solutions. Security is another non-negotiable aspect that must be prioritized regardless of its resource intensity.

Collaboration with other C-suite members is crucial for a CTO’s success. The CTO plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the entire C-suite understands the company’s technology vision, value proposition, and differentiation in the market.

For those aspiring to pursue a career as a CTO, Ghariwala suggests developing exceptional presentation, public speaking, and writing skills to effectively communicate perspectives and build connections. Maintaining an inquisitive mind and staying updated on industry and technology developments are also essential. A unique Point of View can establish oneself as a thought leader in the field.

In conclusion, being a great CTO requires technical expertise, collaboration with cross-functional teams, market knowledge, influencing abilities, and effective communication skills. Adapting to the accelerated pace of technological advancements in today’s uncertain environment is vital for success.


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