What is a Chief Technology Officer?

Chief Technology OfficerThose looking to become a chief technology officer might be curious about what the profession entails on a regular basis. While other executive professions have titles that give direct insight into what the individual is tasked with monitoring and managing on a daily basis, the word technology is actually a bit too broad to accurately reflect what duties a Chief Technology Officer performs regularly for their employer. Before committing to a course of education that will make Chief Technology Officer the ultimate goal and highest-level position, those with an interest in both technology and management should make sure they fully understand what’s involved on the job when they do land this lucrative promotion, according to Tech Target.

Research, Development, and Deployment of Corporate Technology

The most central responsibility of the Chief Technology Officer is to engage in continual evaluation of a company’s computer systems and software applications. They’re always looking for ways to improve those applications, whether it’s by making them more affordable, easier to use, or easier to implement in new settings. They also continually evaluate hardware and help to make decisions about which phones, computers, and other connected devices, the company should use in the years ahead. As part of these evaluations and decisions, the CTO is often responsible for negotiating deals with hardware and software vendors in order to secure company systems, software, upgrades, and exclusive contracts.

Defense of Intellectual Property in a Competitive Marketplace

Alongside the Chief Information Officer, those in the CTO role will work to make sure that their company’s intellectual property is not infringed by a known competitor or a small-time business owner. They’ll actively monitor such incidents and determine whether the company needs to take corrective or legal action. In most cases, their focus will be on intellectual property concerns that are related to proprietary software, unique hardware systems and deployments, or the company’s networking hardware. Other concerns are left to the CIO, whose role in guarding intellectual property is decidedly much more expansive.

An Eye for Trends and New Technological Opportunities

The Chief Technology Officer will be charged will monitoring new developments in the tech world and making sure that the company is ready to confront or embrace them. Historically, CTOs have been the ones to make their executive team aware of the need for items like projectors, teleconferencing setups, smartphones, wireless internet connectivity, and a plethora of other technologies now taken for granted in the workplace. By monitoring actively and adopting these trends earlier than the competition, they increase corporate efficiency and put the company squarely ahead of the competition when the time comes to woo new clients or customers.

It should be noted that this active monitoring of tech trends and issues also extends to any potential threats to corporate security. While the Chief Information Officer will monitor closely for threats to the security of company secrets and front-end systems, the Chief Technology Officer is responsible for making sure that the company has a secure hardware setup and has early information about major viruses or other exploits like the Heartbleed SSL security hole.

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A Central Role in an Increasingly High-Tech Business World

Those who have an eye for the latest technology and the most efficient way to make use of it will fit perfectly into this role. To become a Chief Technology Officer, combine computer science education with strong management underpinnings and a fondness for discovering the newest, best way to utilize technology in a corporate environment.