For Chief Technology Officers looking to stay on top of their game, Pentalog is pleased to announce that we have partnered with CTO Craft, a global community of technical leaders, to extend the reach of our CTO Fundamentals educational series.
Under the scope of this agreement, the educational series will kick off in June and run into October with a series of online seminars which will be available for free to CTO Craft community members. The first session, The Ideal CTO, will take place on June 10. Future collaborations will follow.
The new partnership with CTO Craft follows Pentalog’s earlier collaboration with the development platform Bunnyshell as well as the European incubator SpeedInvest to bring CTO learning resources to that community.
“We’re delighted to begin this partnership with CTO Craft and extend our learning resources to their members,” said Cornel Fatulescu, Pentalog’s Chief Platform Officer and Head of CTOs.
“As a technology service provider, we have a strong interest in preparing the CTO community, to help our partners succeed in this challenging role. This terrific collaboration is in line with our commitment.”
CTO Craft was created in 2017 by inveterate Scottish CTO Andy Skipper (Made.com, Comic Relief) by bringing together a formidable team of tech leaders and coaches to mentor emerging and first-time technology leaders.
In 2022, Pentalog became a Platinum Sponsor of CTO Craft.
CTO Craft, Born from Personal Experience
For Skipper, education of CTOs is a highly personal topic which emerges from his own experience as a technical practitioner, where he discovered a passion to put his knowledge to work, so that others could succeed in this challenging role.
“I’m a CTO by background, I was CTO for a number of startups and charities in the UK, and then chose to refocus my career on helping CTOs, so basically became a coach and a mentor to a number of the CTOs I was working with,” Skipper explained.
“Now I run CTO Craft, which is about 8,000 people altogether, from engineering directors all the way up to CTO,” he added. For those new to the duties of a tech lead, engineering manager, head of development or a CTO, CTO Craft helps build leadership excellence.
But what exactly are the responsibilities of a CTO? Skipper recognizes that the title comes with a spectrum of actual duties and expectations, which depend on company stage, team size, and industry, among other factors.
“The only common denominator across all CTO roles is that they are the apex technologist in the company,” Skipper said. “But as for what the job actually entails, what the day-to-day experience is like, that can vary quite a bit depending on the context.”
Why do CTOs need education?
Let’s face it, being a CTO is hard. Together with CTO Craft, we want to make the path easier to follow.
For Pentalog, our commitment to the technical community emerges from our deep experience working with CTOs around the world on delivering software. We’ve seen what distinguishes the most successful.
A key determinant for becoming a great CTO is having an open mind, being knowledge hungry, leading by example in an organization committed to continuous learning. While no CTO can know it all, gaining progressive mastery over key skill areas is essential.
Our CTO Fundamentals responds to this need, one shared by CTO Craft. We share the insight that many CTOs start from roles as top developers unaware of the challenges ahead. Pentalog also offers CTO assessment services focused on self-improvement.
As Skipper explains, “Probably 90% of the members of CTO Craft are former engineers who have grown up in the ranks and have entered management by being the best technologist in the company.”
“In a CTO role, you’re at the apex of the technology, you are the integration point of technology and business, you are a translator, that’s what you need to be,” he adds. This translation role implies the greatest areas of learning since many of the new domains the CTO engages with are entirely new.
“What’s interesting is that, as part of senior leadership,” Pentalog’s Fatulescu adds, “You are expected to understand what’s happening in your company commercially, from marketing, sales, finance, and operations perspectives, even legal. It can quite be an adjustment.”
From that point, the CTO needs to guide the technical organization to drive the business. “You need to have a clear view to know you are building the right stuff and prioritizing correctly, you need to be crystal clear what has value and what does not,” Fatulescu adds.
On top of everything else, former “Top Developer” CTOs may find themselves in their first position of managerial responsibility, or if not that, a significant increase in the level of expectation for recruitment, training, building a culture and dealing with issues.
“It’s very common that new CTOs underestimate the human side, the soft skills and the empathy you need to manage people,” said Skipper. “There is a certain caricature about new CTOs suddenly dealing with things that aren’t machines.”
“It’s funny,” he says, “but sometimes true.”