The Long Road to Becoming a CTO- Perfecting the Skills

Long road to become a CTO

The company’s tech guru, the smartest developer in the room, the main tech person, usually the co-founder of a startup, the number one thinker behind the product itself… the title alone can be somewhat overwhelming. Are you still a coder or a leader who’s learning and evolving keeping ahead of the pack?

Strategic Vision – CTOs understand the future they’re heading towards despite all disruptions projecting in advance foreseeable changes of both product and technology infrastructure. Legal and bureaucratic aspects apply as well. Much like the “nine dots puzzle”, CTOs thinking outside the box is crucial.

Security and Privacy Management – Security leadership, data privacy, risk management and cyber security should be the CTO’s responsibility. Pressure is mounting, not an enviable position, is it not? It falls to them to have the paybooks in place, identify threats, recover from attacks, adjust policies and procedures, and update the budget for security expenditure.

Constant Education and Mentoring – Leadership and mentorship go hand in hand. Constant learning on a personal level helps your team grow. Go to conferences, attend webinars or meetups. Seek new and better ways to tackle those issues that will arise one way or another. Be “out there”, stay curious, have a peek at what others are doing, reinvent your strategy and continue to employ tech talent.

Coding Yes, you do need a degree in Computer Science or Engineering. But would you still be coding? It should not matter. It depends on the CTO’s personality and perhaps maturity to roll up their sleeves and do the job they used to do or just never write a line of code again.

Does your startup need a CTO?

Every startup has different requirements for its CTO, as many of them have been set up with limited resources, under doubtful conditions. First, determine what startup you have. A classic tech startup or a tech-enabled startup? Remember though that scalability and growth will sooner than later demand technological base.

A CTO is crucial to any growing company, even the best idea wouldn’t work without the tech execution of a CTO. Here’s why:

The Software Architect and MVP Developer – The Minimum Viable Product is your product in its smallest version. Just the basics and the functionalities. A startup CTO will code along with the rest the team and will be the person responsible for the MVP production, architecture, technology and testing. Your CTO is also your system administrator who will develop any additional software needed, to meet the objectives.

The Talent Finder – Hiring experienced software engineers is not an easy job and hiring remote can be a challenge. Once you obtain talent, you should find ways to retain it.

The Big-Picture Thinker – Keeping up with the industry and evaluating how technology will evolve is a necessary trait. Probably one of the few ways to know when to disrupt the market in your favor.

Technology is a dynamic field and plays a key role in business; the CTO’s centric IT facet has long become rather obsolete. Surprisingly still, IT has taken center stage while responding to challenges like the 2020 COVID crisis which has swept away many businesses and brought the entire workforce online. Where did that leave startup CTOs? Updating cloud capacity, accessibility, WFH technicalities, designing and implementing emergency plans, virtual training, addressing security threats… you name it, they’ve done it.

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