Are you interested in becoming a CIO? Popl is here to help with information about what the position entails, what skills you’ll need, what to expect in terms of day-to-day life, salary, and, more.
The role of CIO - or Chief Information Officer - is becoming increasingly common (and important) in the modern corporate world. Very few of today’s larger tech firms are without a CIO. It’s no wonder many technically-minded young executives are so interested in the position - it’s both “powerful” and “new,” making it the perfect spot for someone who wants to be involved in top-level decisions without having an overly-defined role with no room for creative improvement.
First things, though, perhaps the most often asked question about CIOs is: How is a CIO different from a CTO? The answer is actually pretty straightforward: The CIO focuses outward - on technology and products for a company’s customers. The CIO, on the other hand, looks inward at the processes and technologies a company uses to operate. Given this distinction, it’s clear why a company as large as, say, Google would need a CIO (Ben Fried) to manage the systems used by its 130K + employees.
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a senior executive responsible for the management and direction of all “inward-facing” technology-related activities within an organization.
The CIO's primary responsibility is to develop and implement the organization's technology strategy, ensuring that it aligns with the overall business goals and objectives. The CIO also manages and oversees the implementation of new systems and technologies, as well as the maintenance and operation of existing systems. In addition, the CIO is responsible for ensuring that the organization's technology infrastructure is secure and compliant with relevant regulations.
Here are some of the major responsibilities associated with the CIO position. Keep in mind, though, being a CIO fundamentally means brining new ideas and innovative technologies to the table. The best CIOs are not just implementers, they also have big ideas that help large organizations work in a better, more optimized way.
For the most part, the CIO position is largely associated with large companies. And most large companies will only hire CIOs with proven track records. Landing a CIO job is not like landing, say, a creative director position where a scattered resume might be ignored if the work is superb. The only way to really get a high-level CIO position is to show you’re capable of holding the position through a history of high-level management and one of several different organizations.
In addition to lots of relevant experience, here are some things that can help you become a CIO:
Here are some important skills for being a Chief Information Officer:
How much a CIO makes depends, naturally, on the company and situation. Generally, though, CIO are usually among the top salaried employees within a company and can sometimes even qualify for performance-based bonuses.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers, which includes CIOs, was $152,860 in May 2020.
However, the salary for a CIO can range significantly, with some CIOs earning well over $200,000 per year, while others may earn less than $100,000 per year, depending on the factors mentioned above. Some of the higher paying industries for CIOs include the finance, healthcare and technology sector.
It's also worth noting that CIOs may also be eligible for other forms of compensation, such as bonuses and stock options, which can significantly increase their overall earning potential.
It's also worth noting that compensation can vary region by region, so it might be worth checking current salary survey specific to your region, or consulting a specialist recruitment agency.
Here are some inspiring CIOs to look to for advice, guidance, or simply inspiration:
There are many “extra-curricular” activities you can participate in if you’re working your way toward becoming a CIO. In fact, such activities are just the sort of thing that will set you apart from the pack. Here are some ways you can more actively pursue your goal of becoming a CIO.
Congratulations, you’ve gotten this far! Even reading an article like this is a step toward achieving your goal of becoming a CIO. The next step? Start learning some new skills and consider watching videos or even taking e-courses about internal systems management and the most popular information systems used by big companies. The key is not to get lost in too much research, especially if you’re still early in your career. Learn by doing - and, importantly, learn to enjoy quality work in your day-to-day life. Having goals is important, but don’t let long-term goals cloud your present. Focus on doing quality work every day, and taking small steps toward your larger goals. Do this and you will surely end up in the CIO chair,
by Gerald Lombardo February 06, 2023 5 min read
by Gerald Lombardo February 03, 2023 4 min read
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