CTOs to go the way of the steam train

The CTO is dead, long live the CIO

The CTO is dead, long live the CIO

Techies who want a lasting career should steer clear of becoming CTOs or risk being put out to pasture, a report into public sector tech has warned.

As computer users become more tech-savvy and more IT services are delivered through web apps and software as a service the role of the CTO will become increasingly devalued, according to the report by public sector IT body Socitm.

The report, which was published this week, said: "Just like the reduction in the status of train drivers since their advent in the Victorian age, we anticipate that organisations will place less value on their heads of ICT and CTOs as users become able to do more and more for themselves, and ICT becomes a commodity service delivered across the internet."

The report said technologists face a "stark choice" between sticking with a role that is being deskilled or making the leap to the more challenging role of the CIO.

The CIO will become increasingly important in the public sector according to the report, playing an essential role in winning managerial support for the large-scale tech transformations needed at many public authorities.

"Resources will be at a premium for some time because of the current economic downturn.

"Technology offers the only viable way of reconciling the resulting tensions," the report said.

"We see the CIO as the person that leads the changes. It is a critical role, one that every successful public sector organisation needs."