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Why your startup needs a CTO?

So you have a startup, congratulations! Not only that, but you also have funding that will make sure your idea takes flight in the shortest possible time. It’s easy to think that the most stressful period of business is behind you, but, sadly – it’s probably just around the corner. That’s why you need to start thinking about proper management of your team as soon as possible, and that includes the dreaded C-level positions.

Apart from you, the CEO, there’s a chance you don’t have a full-fledged team yet. But with each passing day and new client, you’re only going to need it more. The first person you should actually try to get is a CTO, if building tech products is what you’re aiming at.

If you don’t know what a CTO is, just think of it as the highest technology-focused position in the company. So, the CTO’s duties are mainly tied to making things happen on a tech level, which is probably the most important level if you’re building products based on technology, right?

So, what does a chief technology officer even do?

To put this as bluntly as possible, the CTO is involved in all the software development you do as a company. Typically, the CTO does not work as a developer, although some CTO’s prefer to have a more hands-on approach from time to time. The role is much more focused on management and strategy than writing code, so a proper CTO will be a person that is an expert on seeing the bigger technological picture for your company – and probably someone who knows how to make it a reality as efficiently as possible.

A picture of an ideal CTO

To paint a picture of a great CTO, you’ll need an experienced professional, preferably from an industry you’re trying to break into. So, don’t hire a CTO experienced in building buildings if you’re building apps.

The second thing a great CTO needs is a keen eye for talent and organisation.

In the early stages of your company, you’ll probably have a couple developers and a flat organisational structure, meaning you’re all on the same level and are just trying to make good things happen together. As the company grows, so does the difference between juniors and seniors, and the hiring process for talent needs to be overseen by the CTO. He or she needs to know the technology you use inside and out, and needs to build a team that he or she will be overseeing.

The ideal CTO will also be someone you can trust with clients, a person who can communicate the goals and needs of an engineering team to the rest of the company, and someone who understands the long-term goals. It’s a lot of responsibility, but there are also a lot of benefits.
How will a CTO help me?
Well, if your idea (and product) is good, a good CTO will make it better, more streamlined, and in the end, more profitable, which is what we all want. In the earliest stages of a company it’s probably best to hire a technology advisor and not a full-fledged CTO, but as soon as you have a clear goal that requires imagining and researching from a technological standpoint, a CTO is a must.

Startups mostly hire CTO’s to help with the hiring process, oversee the products that are being developed and to manage the growing technical teams. All of those things can be done by the founders or CEO’s, but having a person focused strictly on the technology side of things is extremely beneficial.

In the early stages of a startup, a CTO is almost a jack of all trades, who is expected to grab the reins of every technical topic and task and make it happen. In smaller companies, the CTO will probably be putting out fires, managing the teams and clients, hiring, preparing decks for clients and investors, checking code from junior developers, and most importantly – be in charge of the way ideas are brought to reality.

This is a daring task, and one that needs to be done as early as possible. As the company grows, the tasks of a CTO become different, but his or her effect on the future of the company can only increase.

To conclude – yes, your startup probably needs a CTO, and it needs a CTO as soon as possible.


2021 / 11 / 29

4 minutes