CIO Job Route: How to Turn out to be a CIO


Rebecca Gasser, CIO at Omnicom Well being Team, understood in university that she needed to be a CIO. She began her career in IT as a senior analyst in desktop certification and desktop engineering. She moved up the tech ranks from there, turning into a desktop software supervisor and a leader in her firm’s global task management functionality. She landed other leadership roles, including director of application support and head of product or service. Together the way, she acquired a master’s degree in details programs and a Grasp of Business Administration.

Believing she essential a broader selection of technological, managerial and management activities to continue her ascent, she identified a posture as a VP of IT, which laid the groundwork for her latest situation. She was named CIO at Omnicom in 2021, fulfilling a two-ten years quest to come to be a corporate leader.

As CIO, Gasser is the senior authority on data programs within just the corporation. As these, she performs an important position in shaping how the group will use know-how to advance its goals. Like all CIOs, she should realize how present and emerging technological know-how capabilities can aid and renovate the way the company performs and how it delivers items and expert services. Succeeding at this perform necessitates possessing a complementary combine of engineering, organization and executive ordeals.

Lots of CIOs achieve people requisite experiences by functioning their way up the proverbial experienced ladder inside company IT departments, subsequent a route that appears considerably like Gasser’s. Other folks, however, arrive to the CIO task immediately after performing in enterprise functions and entrepreneurship or soon after keeping the main technological innovation officer (CTO) or yet another high-degree non-IT situation.

A variety of pathways to a CIO occupation are legitimate, according to the CIOs and authorities on company leadership roles we interviewed. They agreed there is no a single way to get to the CIO publish, although there are popular expectations on what skills candidates should have to land and triumph in the function.

What it takes to be a CIO today

What is a CIO?

The CIO placement is just one of the more recent C-suite roles: The title dates again at minimum to the 1980s, though most organizations additional the government-degree submit in the subsequent a long time.

The function has evolved appreciably from its earliest days.

The CIO work to begin with centered on the profitable supply of engineering companies, with trustworthiness and uptime being the major steps of accomplishment. But the CIO post turned additional strategic as companies turned significantly reliant on technological know-how to work and compete. As mentioned, CIOs are anticipated to not only realize how recent and emerging technologies capabilities can support the organization’s existing goods and providers but also how tech can shape its foreseeable future offerings. As technology is a element of virtually just about every career in the business, CIOs should also assure the shipping of trustworthy and person-welcoming IT equipment and solutions.

Leadership qualities and transform administration competencies have come to be critically significant in this occupation. Executive advisors and administration consultants stated that effective CIOs ought to very first, have a deep comprehension of how know-how can change their organizations and 2nd, be geared up to lead that business transformation.

“In the past, ‘executive’ was not attached to the CIO position it was merely the human being in charge of know-how in the corporation,” claimed Daniel Sánchez Reina, vice president analyst in the CIO practice at Gartner, a tech research organization. CIOs these days treatment strongly about the firm’s organization goals and how to reach them.

“The govt attitude is primary being the man or woman in cost of know-how, that’s secondary right now,” he stated.

What does a CIO do?

A common CIO’s record of tasks has grown as the function has developed, according to various tech executives and government advisors.

“It is really a far additional complicated function today, mainly because so significantly much more of company is centered in technological innovation, and there is so much a lot more where by technological innovation is the remedy,” reported Jeff Wong, global main innovation officer with expert services company EY.

Rick Harris, controlling director at the govt lookup organization Raines Global, who conducts searches for technologies executive positions and their immediate stories, stated CIO responsibilities vary from just one business to the subsequent, but in general the organization’s major IT govt does the pursuing:

  • oversees engineering components presented by dozens, even hundreds, of distributors, such as people that operate on premises in their own data centers or, more and more, off-website in hosted servers as section of cloud computing
  • orchestrates a technology stack that consists of components and computer software chosen, ordered and preserved by their have IT division as perfectly as systems selected and deployed by citizen builders and individual business enterprise units
  • collaborates with executives inside of their firm to craft brief-term, mid-expression and long-term company procedures
  • advises management on how existing and emerging technological know-how can help aims and build new possibilities for chopping fees, bettering productivity and expanding profits as very well as introducing new goods or products and services
  • builds a skilled management framework and group of IT professionals, analyzing the suitable combine of personnel customers, agreement workers, vendors and other external partners
  • generates a place of work lifestyle that fosters the speed, versatility, personnel enhancement, innovation and retention required to contend in present-day digital age
  • implements correct criteria, controls and techniques, these kinds of as DevOps and Agile growth concepts that assist fulfill CEO and board’s goals and
  • handles all these tasks within just established budgets.

Harris observed that the form and scope of do the job will differ by enterprise size: CIOs at larger sized firms are concentrated far more on setting policies and managing the directors who oversee the teams carrying out the perform CIOs at smaller and even some midsize corporations are additional probable to have additional direct involvement in the day-to-day perform of running the IT division.

Qualities of high-performing CIOs
What does it consider to be a CIO? These are the qualities standard of the field’s greatest and brightest.

Why are CIOs crucial to businesses?

As the CIO’s role and its record of tasks has progressed so has the CIO’s value in just an firm.

“The CIO is central to the upcoming of the business because they can unlock what’s doable for that firm,” Wong explained.

McKinsey & Co. pointed out in its 2021 CIO report that the significance of CIOs has amplified since “businesses’ top plans are unreachable devoid of technology.”

IBM’s 2021 CIO analyze, “The CIO Revolution: Breaking obstacles, making worth,” which queried 3,000 CEOs on which C-suite executives were being most crucial to their organizational success, observed that CEOs continually detailed CIOs and CTOs jointly in the top rated a few. “Amongst CEOs at best-accomplishing businesses, technology leaders were next only to CFOs,” the report said.

On It is really role for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, 77% of the CIO respondents said that their groups “played a important function in their organizations’ response to the pandemic.”

Contrast that with IBM’s figures from 2011, when “only 1 in 5 CIOs ranked themselves as a vital enabler of company/firm eyesight.”

To allow a enterprise vision, nonetheless, Gartner’s Sánchez Reina pressured that CIOs must be equipped to broadly communicate the benefit of their technological innovation method.

“The CIO has to be a digitalization orchestrator for the whole corporation, and to do that, they have to turn into influential sufficient to get the get-in of their colleagues in their C-suite,” he mentioned. “The CIO of the earlier failed to do this they were constrained by the partitions of the IT organization.”

What competencies and skills are essential to turn into a CIO?

According to Gartner’s “2021 Evolution of CIO Responsibilities Survey,” CIOs “more and more get the job done on business-amount initiatives further than their standard IT delivery government roles” 83% of responding CIOs advised Gartner they have “contributed substantially to business executive initiatives.” Additionally, CIOs reported that they anticipated to go on to lead to the transformation of vital organization procedures and business capabilities, the hybrid office, new approaches of doing the job and enterprise strategy enhancement in the yr ahead.

In the Gartner report, “Essential Talent Sets That CIOs Have to have to Realize success in 2022,” characteristics cited by CIOs as being essential to their achievements bundled the subsequent:

  • potential to impact stakeholders
  • capable communicator
  • savvy negotiator
  • possessing organization acumen and economic administration abilities

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

Evolution of the CIO role.
The CIO position in the enterprise has altered as IT has develop into integral to small business achievements.

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

Executive advisors, recruiters and CIOs them selves agreed that aspiring CIOs can gain the skills they need through a mix of schooling, instruction and expertise.

Omnicom’s Gasser is an instance of this mix. Gasser claimed her position practical experience at pharmaceutical firm GSK and then at facility upkeep enterprise Ferrandino & Son made her a properly-rounded technologist. Schooling and teaching ended up also essential. In addition to her bachelor’s diploma in organization management and her master’s levels, Gasser got coaching in management and task administration abilities this kind of as Six Sigma and Scrum growth. She also labored with coaches and company partners to create leadership abilities and interpersonal techniques.

“CIOs ought to be good people professionals. You can not get to CIO without the need of superior individuals techniques like coaching and mentoring,” she claimed.

Gasser mentioned this complementary blend of techniques and knowledge is crucial for CIOs today as they ought to be collaborative strategists alternatively than “command-and-regulate” leaders. It goes devoid of declaring that CIOs will have to be skilled in talking the language of the enterprise, she additional. They have to comprehend how their businesses function and make money, have insights into their organization’s business and demonstrate visionary capabilities to succeed.

Wong had a identical listing of organization and communications abilities. “I might continue to appear for a complex depth — possibly working experience or a degree, substantial knowledge with rising tech, which in today’s earth suggests AI and blockchain, and an ability to consistently develop their awareness in that region,” he stated.

Climbing the profession ladder. Early-technology CIOs came almost solely from the IT ranks. They frequently worked their way up from entry-level positions on the aid desk or in programming via analyst, supervisor and director positions, industry experts claimed.

In distinction, aspiring CIOs now have multiple pathways to the situation.

Sánchez Reina reported Gartner study has revealed that about a 3rd of CIO positions now are filled by pros without the need of IT backgrounds, a reflection of the role’s small business-oriented concentrate as properly as the growth of technologies acumen between workers total.

“It also demonstrates that the govt aspect of the CIO purpose is additional significant nowadays than it was in the previous,” he added.

What is the common income of a CIO?

According to job web page Zippia, CIOs get paid an regular once-a-year salary of $131,740, with the ordinary starting off income for CIOs coming in at $84,000. Its evaluation also found that the leading 10% of maximum-paid out CIOs generate $200,000 or far more.

Meanwhile, profession website PayScale put the average foundation wage for CIOs at $168,680.’s figures have been better, saying that the median chief info technological know-how officer wage in the U.S. is $293,562 as of April 2022.