Chief Information Technology Officer: Job Description, Duties & Salary

Apr 17, 2019

This article explores the definition of a chief information technology officer (CITO) in addition to educational requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook.

Career Definition of a Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO)

Chief information technology officers (CITOs) are responsible for the oversight of all technological aspects of a company. CITOs operate on a strategic level to ensure that the organization's larger strategic goals are met. As such, their duties include keeping the company on the cutting edge of trends in information technology, determining the organization's immediate and long term technological needs, and designing software/hardware solutions as required.

CITOs develop unit strategies for each department in the organization, and they institute high-impact technological initiatives for achieving the organization's corporate goals. Chief information technology officers serve an important role in budgetary oversight of the organization's IT department with a focus on financial management of the organization's overall technological initiatives.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree in computer/information science or related field; graduate degree preferred (such as a Master of Business Administration)
Job Skills Presentation and writing skills, expertise in information technology, ability to think and act proactively and strategically, research skills, effective communication
Median Salary (2017)* $142,530 (computer and information systems managers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 12% (computer and information systems managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Chief information technology officers require at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as information technology. Employers may require 15 or more years of experience in information technology and management. It should be noted that many chief information technology officers possess a Master of Business Administration in an information technology related field. Employers often prefer candidates with a graduate degree.

Required Skills

CITOs must be experts in information technology with technical skills that relate to enterprise systems, network infrastructure, and IT management. They must possess strong writing and communication skills because they have oversight of the company's technological areas including hardware acquisitions, development, and implementation of strategic measures germane to the organization's goals.

CITOs must be able to research technology carefully and collaborate with CEOs and other department heads regarding technological trends and implementation of technology. Strategic thinking skills are crucial because chief information technology officers ensure that technological means serve the company's larger strategic vision; they develop strategies for each department in the organization to achieve the organization's overall technological initiatives and corporate goals.

Career Outlook and Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 12% job growth rate for all computer and information systems managers through 2026. This category includes chief information officers and chief technology officers. The BLS notes this job growth rate is faster than average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that the job growth rate will be driven by the expansion toward digital platforms and the need for cybersecurity. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for all computer and information systems managers was $142,530.

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