Chief Information Officer: Job Description, Responsibilities, Skills & Salary

Learn all about the chief information officer position, including job duties and required skills. Also, find out the median salary and projected career opportunities for this role.

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Career Definition of a Chief Information Officer

The chief information officer (CIO) is tasked with overseeing operations related to management information systems (MIS) and data processing systems within an organization. Duties might include hiring department leaders and managers, ensuring they are skilled for training employees to maintain and secure computer systems, assess new equipment, install hardware and software and manage requests for computer assistance throughout the organization.

CIOs are responsible for the overall productivity of their departments. They typically ensure IT managers and leaders develop and maintain budgets, create departmental objectives and policies, hire and fire employees, manage contracts and create or end programs.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Technical, communication, problem-solving, organizational and critical thinking skills
Median Salary (2019)* $155,665
Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)** 8% (for all top executives)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

CIOs typically possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree and several years of experience working with all aspects of computer processes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that top executives, under which CIOs are often categorized, typically hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and have many years of experience in their fields, particularly at the managerial level.

It's good to note that executives who have several years of experience within one company and move up over time may not be required to have as extensive an educational background as a person being hired from outside of the organization. Depending on the level of required expertise within a company, top executives might need licensure or certification relevant to their field.

Required Skills

The chief information officer usually leads an IT department and therefore must have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of information technology. As a top executive holding a high position within an organization, CIOs should also possess strong leadership and managerial skills.

Quality communication skills are vital for CIOs since they frequently interact with department leaders, managers, employees and possibly even clients or the media. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills can help CIOs make important decisions and accurately assess and solve problems that arise within the organization.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS estimates that employment opportunities for top executives will likely increase by 8%, or about as fast as average, between the years 2016 and 2026. With more businesses expected to form and grow during this period, executives will be needed to oversee operations and strengthen productivity.

According to Payscale.com, chief information officers earned a median salary of $155,665 in February 2019. The bottom 10% median salary for CIOs was $90,899, while the top 10% median salary in the same period was $247,388.

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