20% Of CTOs Reached Their Position in Fewer Than Five Years, Demonstrating a Fast, Viable Career Path, Says STX Next Research

Research from STX Next, Europe’s largest software development company specialising in the Python programming language, has found that a fifth of CTOs reached the position in fewer than five years.

A further 35% of respondents revealed that it took 5-10 years to reach CTO, while only 27% took 11-15 years. The results highlight the surprising speed at which a CTO position can be reached, and proves it is a viable career path for aspiring tech professionals.

The findings were taken from STX Next’s 2021 Global CTO Survey, which gathered insights from over 500 CTOs. Other key findings from the research included:

  • There are multiple routes to CTO: 33% of those surveyed said they joined the organisation as a CTO from another company. Around 29% of CTOs were promoted from within their organisation and 34% said they co-founded a business and became CTO immediately.
  • On-the-job experience is crucial: 70% of CTOs were formerly software developers or engineers, while 60% were tech leads or engineering managers and 29% were project managers. Just 7% were academic personnel before becoming CTO.
  • Around a third of CTOs report high job satisfaction: on a scale of one to five, 35% rated their job a five and 43% rated it a four.
  • However, salary satisfaction is lower: just 18% of respondents rated their salary a five, while 31% rated it a three.
  • There’s also room for improvement in satisfaction with teams: 44% scored a four out five but 26% gave a three. Similarly, 41% rated their software development velocity a three, and 30% gave it a four.

Maciej Dziergwa, CEO at STX Next said: “Our research shows that there is a clear and viable career path for aspiring CTOs. With a strong work ethic, the right blend of technical and soft skills and enough on-the-job experience, it’s very realistic for professionals to reach the position in just a few years. It’s also positive to see a high overall level of job satisfaction among CTOs.

“While this is promising, there is work to be done in improving the role for the future. Organisational leaders should look at ways to support their CTOs even further, be it through better salaries, placing greater trust in them to make major software development decisions, or supporting them with the right personnel to reach their goals.”

When quizzed on keeping staff motivated, 78% of CTOs highlighted the importance of transparency and honesty when communicating with teams. While 78%The same proportion of CTOs also emphasised the need to empower employees to make decisions about their own work.

Dziergwa concluded: “A CTO is tasked with balancing many different moving parts across the business. A great CTO has the knowledge and ability to drive organisational growth with the aid of technology and possesses the interpersonal skills to motivate teams of technology professionals. This might seem like a long list of requirements, but our research has shown that reaching this C-suite position could be a much faster process than many think.”

About STX Next

STX Next is the largest software house in Europe specialising in designing and creating digital solutions in the Python programming language. The company has been operating since 2005 and cooperates with over 500 people through seven offices in Poland. STX’s clients include leading international corporations, small and medium enterprises and the most innovative start-ups from around the world.

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