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Chief technology officer (CTO) is an executive IT position that involves developing and implementing new technologies. Often, the CTO provides technical review and oversight within a company on emerging technologies, system engineering techniques and technical strategies.
Even though the CTO role is often associated with the IT industry, it has gained a foothold in many other industries as well. There are active CTOs present in all kinds of industries ranging from tech startups to the U.S government.
The CTO is sometimes referred to as the vice president of engineering.
There may be some confusion between a CTO and chief information officer (CIO). Even though each deals with IT, there are major differences. Unlike a CIO, whose purpose is generally to solve problems through researching and implementing existing technologies, a CTO more commonly works on new technologies. CTOs also have more of an external focus, in the sense that they work on products for other clients, while CIOs are more focused on internal issues. Like with all job descriptions however, these are general rules and responsibilities can differ company to company.