Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO

Sara Peters, Editor in Chief | 8/23/2013 | 46 comments

Sara Peters
[Part X, the final installment, of E2's two-week "How to Become a CIO" series]

What a surprising journey it has been. Who knew it was possible to be an effective corporate executive without getting wrapped up in politics? Who knew you could be an IT leader without an IT degree? Who knew we'd meet CIOs who were English professors in former lives and may be Himalayan sherpas in future lives? I certainly didn't. So, I'd like to extend another sincere thank-you to all of the CIOs and executive career coaches who shared their stories and wisdom for this series.

To recap, here's how we've spent the past two weeks:

We've all learned a lot. And now, without further ado, I present E2's top 10 tips for anyone who wants to become a CIO. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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SaneIT   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   9/3/2013 7:25:27 AM
Re: Let's see some results
I can't say that I've been looking.  If something came along, say a friend said "hey we could really use you over here" I might take a look but I'm not so unhappy that I'm actively seeking another job.  It's a weird place to be in but it's not a bad place I guess.
Sara Peters   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/30/2013 1:21:31 PM
Re: Let's see some results
@SaneIT   Have you started looking at other positions, just to see what's out there? Maybe you shouldn't make a distinct decision of "I am leaving" or "I am staying" or "I am going to be a CIO" or "I am not going to be a CIO" just yet. Enjoy your current position for what it is and then keep your eyes open for something else that might excite you. Sometimes if the right opportunity shows up, the decision becomes easier.
SaneIT   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/30/2013 7:38:51 AM
Re: Let's see some results
That's the issue at it's most basic level.  A title change wouldn't do much other than prompt people to congratulate me.   I hold out hope though that as the company grows I'll be able to branch out.  I've been feeling this way for a couple of years but I've always been able to push that feeling out of mind with side projects or side jobs.   The problem now is that we've grown enough that I don't have that spare time anymore so my outlets have slipped a little.
Sara Peters   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/29/2013 9:42:01 AM
Re: Let's see some results
@SaneIT  I see. So a small raise and a nicer title on your business card would only be a stop-gap, not a solution. That's a tough situation. But from the outside it sounds like you're restless, and you need a change. Hopefully the next step you take would be a step in a good direction, but you won't know until you take the step. Right?

If I may be so bold, how long have you been feeling this way?
SaneIT   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/29/2013 7:10:14 AM
Re: Let's see some results
You hit the nail on the head.  I enjoy what I do but I feel stuck because this is the farthest I can possibly go with this company.  It's a bit frustrating to be in a position where they call you the IT guru, you're introduced with different titles depending on the audience yet on paper and in the paycheck they avoid those titles at all cost.  A formal promotion in title would be nice for sure but then I think I'd be right back in the place 5 years from now.  I guess conflicted is a great way to describe my current position.
Sara Peters   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/28/2013 5:34:41 PM
Re: Let's see some results
@SaneIT    It sounds like you're satisfied yet conflicted about being satisfied. You seem to like your job and your organization, and yet worry that you're failing somehow or missing out if you stay in your current position. Am I understanding that correctly?

Do you think maybe you just need a raise, instead of a different job? Or perhaps a new job title with the same job description?
Sara Peters   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/28/2013 5:28:10 PM
Re: Team players
@Nemos  Well I agree with you, that most production comes from the majority of workers, not the few managers. So one trait that every good leader needs is the ability to mobilize and motivate all those workers.

Leadership didn't really factor into this particular series because we were focusing on how to get the job, not necessarily how to do the job. :)
Sara Peters   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/28/2013 5:24:35 PM
Re: move out to move up
@Taimoor  I felt exactly the same way, and I don't think this just applies to the CIO job: "'Move out to move up' is a new tip i came across. I have seen the preferntial treatment of outsiders who just join the office with some credible skills as the old employees are taken for granted.Had it not been for this post, I would have thought it was my very own personal faulty judgement fueled by bitterness more than facts."

I think that companies get hiring wrong by going too far in one direction or too far in another: they either hire outsiders and ignore insiders, or they quietly give policically savvy insiders a job without giving either outsiders or other insiders the chance to apply.

SaneIT   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/27/2013 7:33:58 AM
Re: Let's see some results
That's a tougher question now.  I used to think that it was just naturally what was going to happen.  That as time passed and I moved farther and farther from the front lines that I'd go back to school and probably take on a CIO role somewhere.  What I've seen though is that I'm already in a very similar position I just don't have the title or the paycheck that comes with the title.  On the plus side though because I don't have the title it's not odd if I want to jump in and get my hands dirty on a slow day in the office.
SaneIT   Infographic: Top 10 Tips to Become a CIO   8/27/2013 7:24:35 AM
Re: Let's see some results
Well I can't say that would work in my case.  There's no place in the company for me to go aside from a C level position or to make a career change, a step up in position doesn't exist where I'm at and it's not likely that it ever will.  While I love what I do and where I work it's hard to know that you've hit a ceiling.
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