Top 8 Professional Skills a CTO Should Have

See also: Creative Thinking

The chief technology officer (CTO) of an organization is an executive who manages and oversees the technology within a business. Typically, this involves creating a technology strategy, managing the technology infrastructure, sourcing new products, finding solutions for cybersecurity and assisting with product development.

But today, the role of the CTO is also moving beyond creating and managing the strategy and infrastructure. Now, the CTO is also involved in driving technological innovation and leading product development projects. With these many benefits, increasingly more businesses are looking to hire a remote CTO as part of their team.

For CTOs to complete their tasks successfully, they need to have a good understanding of technology trends and implement innovation to meet business goals.

CTO Skills

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Why Companies Are Hiring a CTO

Most businesses today are driven by tech. Recent data shows that 70% of businesses either have a tech transformation strategy currently in place or are already working on one. This is to improve communication, to enhance efficiency, to keep customers and employees engaged and to increase the capacity of the business.

However, the speed at which technological disruptions unfold often hurt businesses because they don't have access to the right experience and knowledge to effectively implement a technology strategy and infrastructure.

If businesses want to stand out among competitors and excel with new technology, they should ideally hire an experienced CTO. A CTO can help a business:

  • When tech needs become overwhelming

    When a business does not have the industry expertise to implement and launch a tech project successfully, a CTO can assist. The CTO handles the technology-related tasks, ensuring goals are set and deadlines are met.

  • When a technology team requires a leader

    To function successfully, every team needs to be managed by an experienced and skilled leader. For technology teams, a suitable leader can be a CTO. The CTO understands all parts of the team, their responsibilities and how they should work together to meet goals.

  • When a business needs a technology upgrade

    The speed at which technology develops requires businesses to constantly upgrade their infrastructure. When it becomes outdated, it can hinder productivity. One of the main drivers of budget increases for businesses is the need to change outdated infrastructure. When it is time for a large-scale tech upgrade, a CTO is best suited for the job. A CTO ensures that the most effective tools, resources and structures are put in place and that the transition process is a smooth one.

  • When a business wants to move forward

    Without constant innovation, a business can quickly become stagnant. Any business that wants to grow, requires the expertise of a CTO to gain perspective and put new practices in place for future growth.

    Many businesses don't require a full-time CTO, but rather need an expert to manage short-term projects and changes. As a result, increasingly more businesses hire a remote CTO.

One of the main aspects a business should consider when outsourcing CTO services is the cost involved. This depends largely on the skills and experience of the CTO and from which country the CTO is hired. Let's take a look at how the remote CTO cost differs from experience and region:

  • United States 

    In the United States, the average monthly salary for a junior CTO is $14,372, for a mid-level CTO is $20,780 and for a senior CTO is $27,515.

  • China

    In China, the average monthly salary for a junior CTO is $4,615, for a mid-level CTO is $11,409 and for a senior CTO is $25,640.

  • United Kingdom

    In the United Kingdom, the average monthly salary for a junior CTO is $7,493, for a mid-level CTO is $12,334 and for a senior CTO is $19,366.

  • Canada

    In Canada, the average monthly salary for a junior CTO is $6,478, for a mid-level CTO is $8,548 and for a senior CTO is $13,157.

  • Ukraine

    In Ukraine, the average monthly salary for a junior CTO is $1,846, for a mid-level CTO is $2,353 and for a senior CTO is $12,494.

From the above data, it is evident that the CTO salary depends mainly on experience and region. For example, a business can hire a senior CTO from Ukraine at the same cost as hiring a junior CTO from the United States. These costs should be kept in mind for any business looking to outsource a CTO.

The Professional Skills a CTO Should Have

CTOs are one of the highest-ranking IT positions. This means that all candidates should have certain skills to ensure they can complete tasks successfully.

Some of the most important skills include:

  • Business sense

    A CTO requires a sound understanding of how business functions, the challenges it faces, and the solutions needed to overcome them.

  • Leadership skills

    CTOs typically work with teams. To ensure a high level of productivity, a CTO should be able to motivate employees. To do this, a CTO has to delegate tasks, while offering guidance and mentoring when needed.

  • Effective communication

    A CTO should be able to communicate with all stakeholders effectively. This includes communicating ideas, technical information and solutions to problems. This involves a thorough understanding of the business and projects the CTO is working with.

  • Decision-making skills

    One of the biggest responsibilities of a CTO is to make important decisions regarding teams, resources, tasks and deadlines. The CTO can work on a strategy that includes all these points or work alongside the technical co-founder and other stakeholders to assist with advice when decisions need to be made.

  • Ability to conduct research 

    When new projects are launched, the CTO needs to be able to do thorough research around the business' needs and which solutions are best suited. The CTO should also be able to identify any possible challenges and find resolutions for them.

  • Strategic thinking skills

    A CTO needs to think strategically to focus on the bigger picture of a business or project's goals. It is the responsibility of the CTO to lead a team of project managers, developers and designers, while they focus on the details.

  • Time management skills

    The responsibilities of the CTO can be so demanding, that it is very important to have excellent time management skills. This includes being able to set up tasks, follow timelines and meet deadlines.

  • Ability to employ tech talent

    A CTO should have the skills to source and employ, or at least, assess, new candidates. The CTO has the experience and knowledge to understand which candidates are right for certain positions and what type of skills they should have.

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Hire a CTO for Future Business Success

In today's fast-evolving business world, businesses need to stay ahead by investing in upgraded technology strategies and infrastructures. When a business cannot implement projects and transition smoothly through tech upgrades, an experienced CTO is required.

A CTO can assist a business with innovative ideas, create effective strategies and manage projects to ensure efficient productivity. Businesses that require a CTO should look into outsourcing a candidate with the right skills, knowledge and experience to successfully lead a business.

About the Author

Anastasia Stefanuk is a passionate writer and Information Technology enthusiast. She works as a Content Manager at Mobilunity, a provider of dedicated development teams around the globe. Anastasia keeps abreast of the latest news in all areas of technology, agile project management, and software product growth hacking, at the same time sharing her experience online to help tech startups and companies keep up to date.