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What Is a CTO Salary?

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for tech, teams and suppliers. They drive innovation and efficiency across the business.

What is the salary for CTOs in the US?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate a CTO salary as high as $280,000 per year.

A CTO salary will vary by experience. Where they work also has an effect. CTO salaries in the Northeast tend to be higher, but CTOs can earn excellent salaries in other cities across the US.

With all these factors – experience, geography, the quality of the candidate and the needs of the business – it can be complicated to assess a CTO’s salary.

How to determine a CTO salary?

Assessing where a CTO should fit in this range can be complicated. We simplify it by using three key factors:

1. Does the CTO look to the horizon—to market leaders and emerging technology—in order to bring innovation and new ideas to the business? Are they genuine leaders in digital, custom
software, and identifying market opportunities? Do they continually learn and ensure they are at the top of their game?

2. Do they take a leading role in improving efficiency, effectiveness, and driving business value? Do they create new starting points and innovations to open the door to new business strategies? Or is their job to simply meet the agenda set by more senior leaders?

3. Finally, do they take broad ownership for delivering change? For example, does the CTO facilitate discussions with other leaders within the organization and potentially outside? Do they work as equals with other leaders to meet overall objectives? Are they credible and knowledgeable when dealing with investors and other external stakeholders?

Overall, the CTO is an extremely important position that can have a huge impact on a business. The CTO’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our article, What is the meaning of “CTO”?)

We interview, screen, select and develop more executive-level IT leaders than any other organization. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CTOs work on a “fractional,” or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class tech leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CTOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use tech to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company, because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Responsibilities of a CTO

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is a crucial position. They drive innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness across the business. They use tech – such as online or digital initiatives – to increase company value.

The CTO is responsible for tech, teams, and suppliers. They may oversee development of custom software and apps. And a CTO is a communicator, representing tech initiatives to investors and other stakeholders when necessary.

How CTO Responsibilities Change with Company Growth

Some claim there are two types of CTOs: those who provide technical leadership and those who provide operational management. In reality, it is often more often a continuum, with the roles shifting depending upon the company and its business goals. 

But growth will definitely affect the responsibilities of a CTO. A few factors to consider when experiencing or planning for growth:

Main responsibilities of a CTO in startup

In any business, the CTO ensures that the company’s technology supports its business goals. But of course, this will play out in different ways in an established company and in a startup. 

In a startup situation, the business may not even yet exist when the CTO gets involved. (He or she may be an investor.) The CTO will be crucial during the planning stages, evaluating the technical viability of the product and designing solutions to bring it to life.

Early in the life of a startup, the CTO will develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to attract investors or users. At the same time, the CTO will guide the tech architecture, focusing on security, integration and scalability.

As the product matures, the CTO ensures quality control and takes responsibility for building and supervising teams and IT operations.

“Freeman Clarke has always provided honest and clear advice, guidance and support to the senior team. Having someone completely independent and trusted who understands both the business and the technology has proved to be a significant business enabler.” – CEO, British Pathé.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with ambitious mid-market organizations, and we frequently help our clients to use technology to beat their competition.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What is “CTO as a service?”

“CTO as a service” means getting valuable advice from a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as you need it, without ongoing costs. We live in an era where everything is a service; “CTO as a service” is an extension of this idea.

The Benefits of “CTO as a Service”

A CTO can deliver transformational benefits to a mid-market business by bringing expertise and traction to systems and digital projects. An effective CTO can streamline business processes, improve customer service, and increase value. They drive online projects, custom software and app development.

However, good CTOs are rare and thus command high salaries and benefits. So having a CTO as part of the senior team is potentially unaffordable for many mid-market businesses.

And even where budgets allow, it is a risky hiring decision and difficult to get right.

The solution is retaining a CTO as a service on a contract rather than full-time.

Issues with “CTO as a Service”

Of course, a CTO is a senior leader, and not all the benefits of a senior leader can be delivered as a series of well-defined tasks, or questions and answers, or opinions delivered from a distance.

Difficult issues are often ambiguous, and there are seldom simple solutions. To be blunt, if there is a problem you can fix with a phone call, you don’t need a high-quality CTO.

To achieve real, market-leading success, you need a clear vision, strong leadership, and expert judgment. There must be communication and action over an extended period.

Tech alone rarely delivers value. The greatest challenge is to make organizations and businesses work together with Tech. It isn’t practical to expect a remote, disconnected service person to deliver this value.

“CTO as a Service” vs. a Fractional CTO

A fractional CTO joins the senior leadership of a company on a part-time basis. This is a cost-effective approach and provides genuine and effective technology leadership. The fractional CTO is a part of the senior team, with ongoing involvement in tech initiatives and decision-making.

The best CTOs bring a cogent commercial and technical vision for how tech can deliver value to a business, and they bring innovation into the heart of the senior team. This cannot be achieved by someone working in a “taskified,” on-demand manner.

On the other hand, a fractional CTO shapes and influences a company without adding the overhead of a full-timer. A fractional CTO can have a huge impact on the growth of a mid-market firm without undercutting the bottom line.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

CIO vs CTO: What’s the difference?

It is easy to assume that a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the same thing as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). However, there are important differences from the point of view of a mid-market CEO. Read on to learn about both job titles and their functions.

Internal or External?

Although there isn’t universal agreement on the difference, one way of thinking about it is that the CIO is more internal-facing, while CTOs are more external.

CIOs take ownership of internal processes – the day-to-day tech, the systems and devices. A CIO also facilitates collaboration between the C-suite, IT teams, and other stakeholders. A CIO speaks the language of tech and the language of business.

Of course a CTO must communicate between techies and businesspeople. But they have a strategic function, developing the tech initiatives that will drive growth and value. For example, they will oversee the development of custom software and apps.

Is CIO higher than a CTO?

For organizations with both a CIO and CTO, the CIO is normally senior. But the positions should be complementary, especially if a business is looking to grow. And while there will of course be overlap in terms of skillsets, they are two different positions, with different career paths.

Do you need both a CIO and a CTO?

If the business is large and complex, it is a very good idea to have both a CIO and a CTO. Just make sure that there is a crystal-clear delineation of duties so that both roles add value and have space to operate effectively.

The internal vs. external idea is a good place to start. Remember: it’s the CIO’s job to keep things moving along inside the company and to communicate between the techies and business units. The CTO looks forward, developing innovations for growth.

And it behooves the CEO to ensure smooth communication and cooperation between the positions so there is no confusion or duplication of work.

Comparing a CIO and a CTO

CIO: Chief
Information Officer

image/svg+xml

Internal
IT operations
Builds systems to supports growth
Supervises vendors of internal systems
Represents IT teams to the Board
Focus on improving systems and processes
Organized, skilled communicator and technologist
Click to learn What is the meaning of CIO.

CTO: Chief
Technology Officer

image/svg+xml

External
Ensures connection between tech and business goals
Supervises medium- to long-term initiatives, e.g. custom software and apps
Skilled communicator and technologist
Uses systems and digital to drive innovation and deliver value
Click to learn What is the meaning of CTO.

“Freeman Clarke provided a CIO to help us develop a roadmap for the future state of our IT systems, together with a strategic plan to help us get there. Our IT has always been a significant value driver in our business, and we need to ensure it stays that way.… [Our] Freeman Clarke CIO has not only helped us with creating that roadmap. He also became a key member of our senior leadership team.” – Chris Johnson, Chairman, JJS Manufacturing.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CIOs and CTOs work on a “fractional,” or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class tech leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional tech leaders are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical and strategic skills. They understand how to use tech to drive growth. And they are suited to the culture and reality of mid-market businesses.

Whatever the remit, our CIOs and CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative, ambitious mid-market company because it’s one of the best ways to create real, sustainable growth.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What Is a Fractional CTO or CIO?

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses — especially when business and commerce are conducted increasingly online.

A successful application of technology creates efficiencies, removes costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets.  Ineffective systems add cost and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute and commercially driven CTO will ensure your technology strategy is inline with your business goals to optimise business success and growth.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

The Role of a CTO in the Mid-Market

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses. Business and commerce are conducted increasingly online. The successful application of technology creates efficiencies, lowers costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets. Ineffective systems add costs and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute, business-minded CTO will optimize your company’s success and growth.

And visit our Knowledge Center, which is packed with useful, plain-English content on CTOs.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Why CTOs Are Crucial to the Success of Mid-Market Companies

Many of our clients use custom software and digital initiatives to drive sales, increase efficiency or improve service. Sometimes they are disrupting entire markets. As a result, the requirement for a commercially astute CTO is on the rise. Freeman Clarke Co-Founder and Director Graeme Freeman discusses this in more detail in this video.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

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Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

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Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.