The first thing that you will need to do is make sure that you have the right type of personality. As with most management jobs, it takes a certain type of person to be a CIO, as you will be dealing with employees and maintaining business relationships. You will also need to be on top of what types of technologies are being used in your industry, which is definitely not as easy thing to take care of. This will call for you to spend a lot of hours traveling around the continent and meeting with people, so you must make sure that you are prepared to spend time away from home as well. When dealing with people, you must have a great deal of confidence, as well as the ability to walk away from a deal if it is not right for you, as your business comes before anything else.
You must also have the ability to come up with a plan and then carry it out thoroughly. As with anything else in the business world, you will be in competition with other companies and you will need to be fully prepared to deal with anything that comes your way. Being able to negotiate with vendors and reach your goals is essential, so a strong business background is an absolutely necessity. In order to gain this business knowledge, you will need an advanced education, such as a MBA, and possibly some formal training in information technology. Above all else, you must have a proven track record, as the majority of people who are hired have a great deal of experience in prior executive jobs.
Finally, perhaps the most important part of getting one of these management jobs is proving yourself to the board of directors and being able to flourish in any role that you are put into. No one will walk right out of university and get one of these executive jobs, so you will have to take a different position and then show those in charge that you can handle all the responsibility that you are given. The more you are able to handle, the more the board will trust you and gaining this trust is absolutely essential to becoming a CIO at some point in your business career.