CTO Roles and Responsibilities – What does a CTO do?
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CTO Roles and Responsibilities – What does a CTO do?

Ryan Thompson
Ryan Thompson
November 9, 2022
Last updated on:

November 9, 2022


Read time: 4 mins

In this IT-intensive business landscape, a chief technical officer wears a lot of hats to manage the organization effectively. Modern-day CTOs need to ensure their strategy integrates across business areas to produce encouraging results for the business. Hence, a CTO should have proper knowledge of technology’s role across various sectors. This knowledge helps them ensure that their technology serves the organization’s business strategy.

CTO Roles and Responsibilities – What does a CTO do? A CTO’s role changes accordingly with the size and scope of the organization, as it couldn’t be more evident in the evolution of his/her role in the course of a start-up.

Roles and Responsibilities for CTO in Startups

A great CTO always ensures that his/her firm’s technology assets are in line with the larger/long-term business plan. Let’s study how a CTO’s role evolves with the growth of a startup.

Stage 1: Idea Conception Stage

During the inception stage, the founders discuss a problem that they wish to solve and, subsequently, develop a good business plan. A technically savvy CTO determines if the idea is technically feasible and suggests solutions to program software.

Stage 2: Early Stage Start-up

Once investors approve the idea, the team works on building a great software product. At this stage, CTO, the only developer, codes a minimum viable software (MVP) to showcase to the investors.

CTO roles and responsibilities at this point include: –

  1. Choosing an appropriate technology stack
  2. Designing the app’s architecture
  3. Setting up a scalable cloud infrastructure
  4. Selecting the right cloud services provider
  5. Testing the app for noticeable bugs

Stage 3: Making a Customer-Centric Product

As the start-up progresses, it upgrades its software solution to make it more attractive to a larger client base. At this stage, the company can hire more people to enhance the code effectively.

Now, the CTO’s role evolves to include: –

  1. Managing the coding team
  2. Supervising the software development culture
  3. Smoothening the feature deployment pipeline
  4. Ensuring coders have a productive and secure environment
  5. Providing economical cloud infrastructure
  6. Optimizing code quality practices

Read More: Importance of Code Quality and Coding Standard

Stage 4: Success

When a tech start-up advances, its CTO delegates coding responsibilities and take up a managerial role. At this phase, CTO handles the team and oversees long-term plans for the company. Any new product lines need CTO’s intervention to formulate and supervise programmers on different projects. It’s also important for CTOs to stay updated on the latest technology trends and make plans to upgrade technology to meet business objectives.

Roles and Responsibilities of a CTO in Medium/Large Organizations

Having a Great Technical Vision

In all firms, the CTO works with the CEO and other C-level executives to formulate a technical plan. An efficient CTO sets goals, brainstorms great tech implementation ideas, and assesses tech transfer risks. A good CTO should have the business sense to create a robust tech plan that aligns with organizational objectives.

Manage the Production Team

CTOs also work with the engineering and production heads to ensure daily operations are in line with the firm’s goals. Additionally, they also assist in hiring and retention processes, smoothen business operations, introduce innovative ideas, and boost production efforts. A great CTO also coordinates among several teams and operations to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Here’s what CTOs contribute to the production process: –

  1. CTOs should impact the resource prioritization across large strategic tech bets. However, they shouldn’t micromanage daily operations once they set their priorities.
  2. A good CTO must be able to champion people, projects, and ideas without crossing the line with engineering management. Training yourself to be an influencer and selectively choosing ideas worth your investment makes you a better CTO.
  3. CTOs should also develop close relationships with VPs in Engineering departments to facilitate efficient brainstorming and problem-solving.
  4. CTOs optimize processes and encourage cross-department fertilization to avoid effort duplication.

Contribute to Business Development

CTOs cater to business partners by helping with the acquisition costs, building the brand and its message, and staying ahead of the competition. The CTO also looks out for tech trends that can boost efficiency and client satisfaction.

Directs the Marketing Team

A CTO is the first source of a company’s technical vision in the public eye. They can convey the same by engaging in speeches, conferences, and media presence. In the organization, the CTO and marketing team make strategies and plan customer-centric efforts.

Encourage the Sales Team

CTOs also partner with the sales team to close customer accounts effectively. They also assist the sales organization and build strong bonds with colleagues at the strategic customer accounts department. Their involvement in customer meetings is also vital to ensure everyone adheres to the long-term technology roadmap.

A clear objective strengthens the customer’s confidence in the company’s leadership and prospects. It’s also critical for CTOs to present themselves as authorities to the market by proactively interacting and providing relevant advice. However, CTOs should also know when to say “I don’t know” and prevent misinforming the media.


CTOs play a vital role in the business’s growth. Great CTOs lead their company in a bright future by using their expertise and knowledge skillfully. Hiring the best CTO for your firm ensures you utilize your tech infrastructure to your advantage and stay ahead of the competition. Hence, only hire the best candidate as your CTO that adds value to your organization.

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