Life after CIO: Where to Go After Leaving the Tech Hot Seat

The CIO, like a kung fu master in a Woo-Ping choreographed action film, must dodge several incoming threats simultaneously. But how does the technology chief react to the long-term threats of his / her career? To find out, Mark Samuels of ZDNet interviews three masters of the market.

Develop a Business ‘Sense’

Mark Bramwell, who is CIO of Said Business School, says that the CIO must have an eye for business, which is not to say that they need to become a businessperson. Bramwell cites SMBs as one of the more technology-centric options. He also recommends the CDO role, though it will require a lot of additional knowledge outside the CIO role. One more option is to get into consulting, which brings us to the advice of CIO Ian Cox.

Dance between Industries

Cox recommends “industry hopping” to avoid becoming pigeonholed. That’s why he and others like him prefer to switch between permanent and temporary consultant positions intermittently. For those hesitant to break into the consultant role, Cox proffers the benefits of writing and publishing your own book on technology leadership. If one can avoid pretense, this is an excellent way to self-promote and differentiate oneself from the competition.

Fill Skills Gaps Strategically

And for CIOs who feel the acute pangs of their historically immature leadership role, Andrew Marks, formerly of Tullow Oil, offers a coping strategy:

“When the time comes for a CIO to make the next step, he or she needs to be clear about his or her strengths and skills gaps…If a period of time is expected between roles, this is a perfect opportunity to fill those gaps. Be aware that the gaps are not always obvious until you start looking at job specifications, or if you take extra time to read up on what is happening outside your own company or industry.”

Fill those skills gaps with interim placements or peer engagements through networking and discussion. Are you a “depth” CIO or a “breadth” CIO? Such questions need to be answered up front before you embark on your long-term career battle as a CIO.

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