September 26, 2022

Dyers Ville

Business and General

CIO Career Path: How to Become a CIO


Rebecca Gasser, CIO at Omnicom Wellness Group, understood in college or university that she wished to be a CIO. She commenced her occupation in IT as a senior analyst in desktop certification and desktop engineering. She moved up the tech ranks from there, turning into a desktop application supervisor and a leader in her firm’s world wide project administration purpose. She landed other leadership roles, like director of software support and head of item. Alongside the way, she attained a master’s degree in facts methods and a Learn of Enterprise Administration.

Believing she essential a broader assortment of technological, managerial and management activities to continue on her ascent, she identified a position as a VP of IT, which laid the groundwork for her latest posture. She was named CIO at Omnicom in 2021, satisfying a two-10 years quest to develop into a corporate chief.

As CIO, Gasser is the senior authority on facts systems within the company. As this kind of, she plays an necessary role in shaping how the business will use technological know-how to progress its aims. Like all CIOs, she will have to comprehend how current and rising technological know-how abilities can help and completely transform the way the business operates and how it delivers merchandise and providers. Succeeding at this perform needs owning a complementary mix of technologies, organization and government activities.

A lot of CIOs obtain those people requisite activities by performing their way up the proverbial professional ladder inside of company IT departments, adhering to a path that seems a lot like Gasser’s. Many others, nevertheless, arrive to the CIO task after operating in organization capabilities and entrepreneurship or immediately after holding the main technology officer (CTO) or an additional higher-amount non-IT posture.

Various pathways to a CIO job are valid, according to the CIOs and industry experts on corporate management roles we interviewed. They agreed there is no a person way to get to the CIO put up, though there are typical anticipations on what qualifications candidates have to have to land and realize success in the function.

What is a CIO?

The CIO position is one particular of the newer C-suite roles: The title dates again at minimum to the 1980s, even though most corporations included the govt-degree post in the subsequent many years.

The position has advanced drastically from its earliest days.

The CIO occupation originally centered on the productive shipping and delivery of technological know-how services, with dependability and uptime currently being the principal measures of success. But the CIO write-up grew to become much more strategic as businesses turned more and more reliant on know-how to work and contend. As famous, CIOs are envisioned to not only have an understanding of how existing and rising technological innovation capabilities can aid the organization’s current merchandise and expert services but also how tech can condition its long term choices. As technologies is a element of just about every occupation in the enterprise, CIOs have to also make certain the shipping of dependable and user-welcoming IT applications and companies.

Leadership attributes and transform administration competencies have turn into critically significant in this work. Executive advisors and management consultants said that prosperous CIOs will have to very first, have a deep being familiar with of how technological innovation can change their companies and 2nd, be geared up to guide that business enterprise transformation.

“In the previous, ‘executive’ was not hooked up to the CIO function it was merely the man or woman in cost of technologies in the organization,” mentioned Daniel Sánchez Reina, vice president analyst in the CIO observe at Gartner, a tech investigate company. CIOs nowadays care strongly about the company’s business targets and how to achieve them.

“The govt mindset is primary being the person in charge of technology, that is secondary these days,” he mentioned.

What does a CIO do?

A common CIO’s list of obligations has developed as the position has progressed, in accordance to multiple tech executives and executive advisors.

“It’s a far a lot more elaborate job now, due to the fact so substantially a lot more of enterprise is primarily based in technologies, and there is so a lot a lot more wherever technological innovation is the reply,” stated Jeff Wong, global chief innovation officer with expert products and services organization EY.

Rick Harris, handling director at the executive lookup firm Raines International, who conducts queries for engineering govt positions and their immediate reviews, claimed CIO obligations differ from just one business to the subsequent, but in normal the organization’s best IT executive does the subsequent:

  • oversees technologies components provided by dozens, even hundreds, of suppliers, together with those that run on premises in their have information facilities or, progressively, off-web page in hosted servers as component of cloud computing
  • orchestrates a technology stack that incorporates components and program picked, bought and taken care of by their own IT division as nicely as systems chosen and deployed by citizen developers and specific company models
  • collaborates with executives in just their firm to craft brief-expression, mid-term and long-expression organization methods
  • advises leadership on how existing and emerging technology can guidance goals and create new prospects for slicing prices, increasing productivity and increasing income as very well as introducing new merchandise or expert services
  • builds a qualified administration framework and workforce of IT professionals, deciding the acceptable mix of workers users, deal staff, sellers and other external partners
  • results in a office tradition that fosters the velocity, versatility, personnel enhancement, innovation and retention necessary to compete in today’s digital age
  • implements acceptable requirements, controls and methods, these types of as DevOps and Agile development ideas that aid meet CEO and board’s targets and
  • handles all these duties within founded budgets.

Harris famous that the kind and scope of get the job done will vary by business sizing: CIOs at larger sized companies are targeted far more on location insurance policies and taking care of the administrators who oversee the groups carrying out the get the job done CIOs at compact and even some midsize companies are a lot more possible to have far more direct involvement in the working day-to-day perform of working the IT department.

Qualities of high-performing CIOs
What does it acquire to be a CIO? These are the traits regular of the field’s most effective and brightest.

Why are CIOs vital to corporations?

As the CIO’s purpose and its list of obligations has developed so has the CIO’s significance in an firm.

“The CIO is central to the long term of the corporation for the reason that they can unlock what is achievable for that enterprise,” Wong said.

McKinsey & Co. observed in its 2021 CIO report that the importance of CIOs has amplified due to the fact “businesses’ prime plans are unreachable with out technological know-how.”

IBM’s 2021 CIO analyze, “The CIO Revolution: Breaking boundaries, developing value,” which queried 3,000 CEOs on which C-suite executives had been most significant to their organizational achievement, uncovered that CEOs continuously outlined CIOs and CTOs jointly in the major 3. “Amid CEOs at top rated-performing corporations, technologies leaders ended up second only to CFOs,” the report said.

On It truly is part during the COVID-19 pandemic, 77% of the CIO respondents explained that their groups “played a very important job in their organizations’ response to the pandemic.”

Distinction that with IBM’s figures from 2011, when “only 1 in 5 CIOs rated themselves as a critical enabler of small business/business vision.”

To empower a business eyesight, on the other hand, Gartner’s Sánchez Reina pressured that CIOs must be able to broadly connect the value of their technologies tactic.

“The CIO has to be a digitalization orchestrator for the overall corporation, and to do that, they have to turn out to be influential sufficient to get the get-in of their colleagues in their C-suite,” he explained. “The CIO of the earlier failed to do this they had been constrained by the walls of the IT firm.”

What expertise and skills are desired to come to be a CIO?

According to Gartner’s “2021 Evolution of CIO Responsibilities Survey,” CIOs “progressively perform on business-level initiatives outside of their common IT delivery government roles” 83% of responding CIOs informed Gartner they have “contributed significantly to company govt initiatives.” Also, CIOs documented that they envisioned to continue to lead to the transformation of essential enterprise procedures and small business capabilities, the hybrid workplace, new means of doing work and small business approach improvement in the 12 months ahead.

In the Gartner report, “Vital Ability Sets That CIOs Will need to Be successful in 2022,” attributes cited by CIOs as remaining crucial to their results bundled the adhering to:

  • means to influence stakeholders
  • able communicator
  • savvy negotiator
  • possessing organization acumen and fiscal management expertise

Gartner’s Sánchez Reina also cites the capability to regulate and mitigate danger as a important talent.

Evolution of the CIO role.
The CIO position in the enterprise has adjusted as IT has become integral to small business achievement.

How to turn into a CIO: Education, schooling, practical experience

Govt advisors, recruiters and CIOs on their own agreed that aspiring CIOs can acquire the capabilities they will need through a blend of education, coaching and knowledge.

Omnicom’s Gasser is an illustration of this mix. Gasser claimed her task encounter at pharmaceutical business GSK and then at facility routine maintenance enterprise Ferrandino & Son made her a very well-rounded technologist. Education and learning and training were also vital. In addition to her bachelor’s diploma in organization administration and her master’s levels, Gasser received education in management and venture management competencies this kind of as 6 Sigma and Scrum progress. She also labored with coaches and enterprise companions to create leadership capabilities and interpersonal abilities.

“CIOs should be great persons managers. You won’t be able to get to CIO without very good people skills like coaching and mentoring,” she said.

Gasser said this complementary combine of abilities and practical experience is critical for CIOs nowadays as they will have to be collaborative strategists instead than “command-and-command” leaders. It goes with out declaring that CIOs will have to be experienced in talking the language of the business, she included. They need to realize how their companies function and make income, have insights into their organization’s industry and reveal visionary abilities to do well.

Wong had a similar checklist of company and communications competencies. “I’d however appear for a complex depth — either practical experience or a diploma, major experience with emerging tech, which in present day planet suggests AI and blockchain, and an ability to constantly mature their information in that location,” he explained.

Climbing the vocation ladder. Early-generation CIOs arrived almost solely from the IT ranks. They usually labored their way up from entry-amount positions on the help desk or in programming as a result of analyst, supervisor and director positions, industry experts explained.

In distinction, aspiring CIOs now have a number of pathways to the position.

Sánchez Reina explained Gartner analysis has demonstrated that about a third of CIO positions now are filled by professionals without IT backgrounds, a reflection of the role’s business enterprise-oriented target as properly as the development of engineering acumen among the personnel general.

“It also reveals that the govt component of the CIO part is additional critical currently than it was in the previous,” he included.

What is the ordinary salary of a CIO?

According to occupation internet site Zippia, CIOs earn an regular yearly income of $131,740, with the average setting up salary for CIOs coming in at $84,000. Its investigation also found that the top 10% of highest-paid out CIOs get paid $200,000 or extra.

In the meantime, career web-site PayScale put the average base wage for CIOs at $168,680.’s figures were being higher, expressing that the median chief facts technology officer salary in the U.S. is $293,562 as of April 2022.