Chief Information Officer (CIO) Job Description Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: April 12, 2021

A Chief Information Officer, or Chief Technology Officer, is responsible for ensuring the use of modern IT software and technologies to streamline business operations. Their duties include communicating between other company Executives and lower-level IT personnel, reviewing current IT systems and establishing relationships with technology companies.

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Chief Information Officer duties and responsibilities

Chief Information Officers are responsible for overseeing a company’s IT needs, which includes managing and implementing technology to support the organization’s goals. They may have the following day-to-day duties:

  • Working with upper-level IT staff to develop and implement department goals
  • Staying abreast of emerging technologies that can improve IT department performance and increase company profits
  • Managing IT personnel
  • Creating and implementing IT policies, protocols and standards
  • Working with upper management and senior IT staff to develop the IT department budget
  • Ensuring that IT department strategies and processes provide appropriate support to company-wide goals
  • Overseeing contract negotiations with IT vendors, contractors and service providers
  • Communicating with other executives regarding costs, value and risk-potential of new IT projects
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What does a Chief Information Officer do?

Chief Information Officers typically work for corporations across industries to leverage company operations against those of their competitors. They work closely with other Executives to establish business objectives and determine what technologies they need to achieve them. Their job is to stay up-to-date on new IT software and coordinate with the IT department to implement software across departments. They may also be responsible for designing customized systems for their company, like a CMS or communication channel.

Chief Information Officer skills and qualifications

A Chief Information Officer needs to have specific hard and soft skills to excel in this position and effectively manage their IT department, including the following:

  • Impeccable IT knowledge and technical skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Superior leadership skills
  • Relationship building and team development skills
  • Thorough understanding of data management and administration
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Skilled at strategic planning and goal-setting
  • Presentation skills

Chief Information Officer salary expectations

A Chief Information Officer makes an average of $123,776 per year. This salary may vary based on a candidate’s educational background, years of experience and geographical location.

Chief Information Officer education and training requirements

A Chief Information Officer must demonstrate a working knowledge of both computer technology and management procedures. They should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, software engineering or another relevant field. Some companies may also prefer them to have a graduate degree in IT management, project management or computer information systems, and many also seek to hire candidates who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with an emphasis on Information Technology.

Chief Information Officer experience requirements

Chief Information Officers must have work experience in both information technology and management, though the amount of experience may vary depending on the organization’s needs. Most companies require Chief Information Officer candidates to have several years of experience in an IT department and a minimum of 5 years working in IT management. Look for candidates with strong backgrounds developing and implementing IT systems who also demonstrate effective leadership abilities.

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Frequently asked questions about Chief Information Officers


What is the difference between a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Operating Officer?

The difference between a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Operating Officer lies in seniority and their scope of job responsibilities. For example, the Chief Operating Officer has a more senior role as they oversee all business operations. In contrast, Chief Information Officers focus specifically on how IT solutions improve business operations and how to implement them. 

Therefore, the Chief Operating Officer identifies hiring and training needs, customer service procedures or manufacturing concerns. In contrast, Chief Information Officers identify communication barriers or outdated systems to enhance using updated IT and technology.


What are the daily duties of a Chief Information Officer?

On a typical day, a Chief Information Officer receives messages from their Assistant and checks their email to respond to time-sensitive messages. Throughout the day, they participate in meetings with other Executives to discuss new company initiatives, budget cuts and other items of importance. Chief Information Officers also communicate with the IT department, the IT Manager and IT Director to check on their progress in developing customized software for their company. 

During downtime in their office, Chief Information Officers read about new technologies and review industry studies to decide whether their company needs to upgrade their IT systems.


What qualities make a good Chief Information Officer?

A good Chief Information Officer is someone who values continued education. This quality motivates them to participate in certification courses for programming languages and software development. Having up-to-date knowledge on IT practices means maintaining those standards within the IT department at their company. Chief Information Officers also need to have excellent written and verbal communication to convey their ideas through writing and presentations. 

Further, a good Chief Information Officer should have an innovative mindset that enables them to develop unique solutions to business operations using IT software.


Who does a Chief Information Officer report to?

The Chief Information Officer typically reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to make suggestions about new technologies and relay information from lower-management. They may also report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in the absence of the Chief Executive Officer.

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