At one point in time, the CIO spot took the coveted role as the top rung on the corporate IT career ladder. According to a Computerworld survey from August/September 2013, 55% of IT professionals said they aspired to the CIO role (the sample was pretty small, however…only 489 respondents).

Politics doesn’t pay

The reasons stated for the shift away from CIO aspirations included the following:

  • Corporate politics
  • Low pay
  • Lack of prestige
  • Lack of hands-on technical role

It’s not the same old IT anymore

Another reason for the move away from CIO is that IT pros are venturing into other arenas, such as marketing, finance, and logistics, with a dotted line back to “IT”. Therefore, they might climb the corporate ladder from a different rung.

But is perception blurring reality?

According to some aspiring CIOs, however, the CIO role of today is more than just meetings and politics. It is about being a head innovator for the company, stretching business to try new things.

Nevertheless, in an effort to rebrand the role, some CIOs are now taking on a second title, such as senior vice president, as a way to highlight that IT is no longer a separate entity within the organization but integrated. Also, it can be a good step in later transitioning from a purely IT role into a business leader one, like CEO.

So should you go CIO?

Here at ITtechExec, we’ve worked with many CIOs and CIO wannabes. We repeatedly hear that the evolution of the role has made it more attractive, not less. But like most things, you have to judge them within their context and environment. The title “CIO” is anything but cookie-cutter and can mean different things in different shops. Also, you need to have a good understanding of what you want your future in “IT” to look like. If business leader and visionary are part of that, then don’t count out CIO just yet.