20% of CTOs have reached the position in less than five years

STX Next research found that 20% of CTOs reached their position in less than five years, demonstrating a fast and viable career path.

According to research from STX Next, a European software development company specializing in Python, one-fifth of CTOs have reached the position in less than five years. It revealed that 35% of additional respondents took 5-10 years to reach CTO, while 27% took 11-15 years. The company says the results highlight the surprising speed at which a CTO position can be achieved and prove it’s a viable career path for aspiring tech professionals.

The results are taken from STX Next’s 2021 Global CTO Survey, which collected information from more than 500 CTOs. And other search results included:

There are several paths to the CTO: The study found that 33% of respondents said they had joined the organization as the CTO of another company. While about 29% of CTOs were promoted within their organization, and 34% said they co-founded a company and became CTO immediately.

Field experience is crucial: 70% of CTOs were former software developers or engineers, 60% were technical managers or engineering managers, and 29% were project managers. Only 7% were academic staff before becoming CTO.

About a third of CTOs report high job satisfaction: On a scale of one to five, 35% rated their job a five and 43% a four.

However, salary satisfaction is lower: Only 18% of respondents rated their salary at five, while 31% rated it at three.

There is also room for improving team satisfaction: 44% got a four out of five, but 26% gave a three. Similarly, 41% rated their software development speed at three and 30% at four.

“Our research shows that there is a clear and viable career path for aspiring CTOs,” says STX Next, CEO, Maciej Dziergwa.

“With a strong work ethic, the right mix of technical and soft skills, and enough hands-on experience, it’s very realistic for professionals to reach the position in just a few years. It’s also positive to see a high overall employment level CTO satisfaction.

He says that while it’s promising, there’s work to be done to improve the role for the future. “Business leaders should be looking for ways to support their CTOs even more, whether through better salaries, giving them more confidence to make major software development decisions, or supporting them with the good staff to achieve their goals.”

When asked about keeping staff motivated, 78% of CTOs stressed the importance of transparency and honesty in team communication. While 78%, the same proportion, also highlighted the need to empower employees to make decisions about their work.

“A CTO is responsible for balancing many moving parts in the business,” Dziergwa added. “A good CTO has the knowledge and ability to drive organizational growth using technology and has the interpersonal skills to motivate teams of technology professionals. It may seem like a long list of requirements, but our research have shown that reaching that C-sequence position could be a much quicker process than many realize.”

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