Chief Information Technology Officer: Qualifications & Education Requirements

Sep 06, 2019

What Is a Chief Information Technology Officer?

Chief information technology officer (CITO) is a combination role of chief information officer and chief technology officer. The person in this position may also be called the chief IT officer, the top information technology executive, or the vice president of information technology. The CITO manages the long-term IT goals of a company and oversees its internal tech needs.

The position of CITO is a role that is generally used in larger companies. The CITO knows the company's IT system, safety protocols, and how much work the system in place can actually do. The CITO also must be able to plan projects for the future, create budgets, and consult with the senior executives of the company, like the CEO or the COO.

To become a CITO, experience in an IT department is necessary. The CITO must understand how information technology systems work in order to augment their role in the company's growth. The CITO is the IT leader of a company - this is an executive role.

Education Requirements Bachelor's degree and work experience*
Job Duties IT management, project management, strategic planning, budget management **
Median Pay (2018) $104,980*** (for top executives)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 11% increase (computer and information systems managers)***

Sources: *, **, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Training to become a CITO

To become a CITO, an undergraduate degree in a computer-related field is a good place to begin. Specific fields one could specialize in include management information systems (MIS), computer information systems (CIS), databases, security, or networking. Some employers also look for a candidate who has a master's degree, like an MBA. The MBA can be tailored to include classes in global information technology management, managerial economics, and other courses that focus on tech-specific practices.

A future CITO should also have work experience. If a company is small but has growth potential, it may only hire a CIO or a CTO, depending on the company's specific needs. As the company grows, it needs one person to cover both roles, and a CITO position is then created. To become a CIO, one should have at least 10 years of experience in the IT field or a related area. The same can be said for becoming a CTO - getting full experience in an IT-related field is necessary, and some business management skills are also helpful. Either professional background (as a CIO or CTO) is helpful when applying for the CITO position.


The CITO will need a combination of soft skills, technical savvy, and business sense to be successful. While the CITO is not an engineer, programmer, or developer, he or she should have an awareness of why those skills are needed in order to understand the company's technology systems.

The CITO will have to collaborate with other executive officers in order to create strategies for the company. He or she will need to find new technology and software to purchase, install, and operate for the company. The CITO will probably be in charge of setting standards and practices for technology use in the company. Expecting major technology changes is also part of the job, as is knowing how to respond to them. This position may enable one to create new products, supervise web applications, and oversee software tests.

Related Careers

The role of chief information technology officer is related to a number of other technology-centered occupations. Here are some examples of jobs that are similar to this position:

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