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Becoming a Chief Information Officer

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The chief information officer of a company functions at a board level. He or she is the head of the board of information technology within the organization. The function of the CIO is to report to the chief operations officer or the chief executive officer. CIO jobs have greatly increased with the prominence of information technology as a part of the business. Chief information officers can be a member of the executive board of the organization, although it depends on the type of organization they are working for. The CIO is known as the IT Director in Europe.

The responsibility of a CIO is to direct as well as operate the information technology section of an organization. This is a person who must be skilled and at the same time qualified for holding the position that is all encompassing when it comes to functioning at the executive level. CIO jobs require IT leadership and with the global recession, it is essential for chief information officers to adopt cost effective methods which promise long term strategic success. The CIO is the captain of this ship. The CIO should be responsible for business successes which make him or her look like a good candidate before the superiors.

There are in fact no typical academic qualifications that are required of the CIO jobs, although a bachelor's degree should be coupled with a master's. The science subjects are helpful in this profession, such as information technology and computer science. Some organizations may look for a certification in management from a well recognized university or institute. Aspiring chief information officers may even take up software engineering or information systems. A chief information officer from a technical background may go for an MBA or a Masters of Science in Management for building their management skills.

It has been noticed in a recent trend that CIO jobs are focusing more on the candidate's leadership abilities, strategic perspectives and business acumen more than the technical skills. Chief information officers are now being appointed from the commercial aspect of the organization, especially if they demonstrate good project management skills.

As a CIO, you are required to manage the staff and relationships as well as look after the business operations. Researching the industry and technological trends, attending conferences, and having the ability to set goals and achieve them are some of the other skill sets required. Knowledge of the tools and products is necessary for recommending the necessary equipment for the expansion of the company.

Other than the educational part of it, focus on technical and management related trainings to be a part of your growth curve. Some of the areas in which you can train yourself include the following:

  • Technology
  • Consulting
  • Accounting
  • Business operations

The role of a chief information officer is to represent the company at the executive level. This is why prior experience is required at different levels of your career. Chief information officers must have knowledge of the customer relationship management and must have worked in junior levels of the administration in other companies for 5 to 7 years. A highly experienced CIO can cut the best deals for their organization. This is something that helps you be focused on development and be guidance oriented.

The global career prospects for CIO jobs are on the rise as has been estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Studies. This is because companies have realized that technology can be used to secure advantages over the competitors and the CIO is the person who can help achieve this.

The salaries of chief information officers range from $169,000 to $252,000 per annum.

As a chief information officer, you are required to spend long hours in the office and do business travel. Chief information officers are the people who create and at the same time maintain the software systems and intranets of the company that helps give the business a competitive edge. With the face of technology constantly changing, the CIO has to expand and shape him or herself to help them stay ahead and keep the company ahead of the rest. Effective communication and strategy based planning helps in the integration and compilation of data as well as in effective negotiations. An understanding of the procedures of businesses can be complemented by the application of technology into strategies and operations.
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