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Ideal Career Path:Developer to CEO(or position of that range)

Madhu Manu
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 5
Hi There,
Thanks for reading this thread. I have BS (Computer Science) +6.5 years experience (as developer/consultant). I always have these questions in my mind:
1. “Will I ever be able to become a CEO(or position of that range) of a company?” (At this moment I have no intentions to start a business and become CEO of that company)
2. If I have become a CEO(or position of that range) what are the degrees/certifications I need to get?
3. What is ideal path to go that position?

Thanks again and I appreciate your responses/views/ideas/suggestions/advices/discussions
K. Tsang
Bartender

Joined: Sep 13, 2007
Posts: 2563
    
    9

Hi Madhu and welcome to the Ranch.

Isn't it nice to become a CxO? Well not exactly depending on what company it is. Anyway sooner or later I believe most executive level managers would need a MBA and/or tons of management experience to reach the CxO level.

And depending on how your career path goes (technical vs managerial) in order to climb up, managerial side hardly need any certifications (maybe PMP is helpful). For technical any IT architecture related certifications is desirable in the long run. Of course development certs in between can also help. And you should know developers implement projects and architect level people design projects.

So the ultimate question to ask yourself is: "How passionate are you for development?" Because some developers are keen to not take up architect roles even they are capable and do have the skills.


K. Tsang JavaRanch SCJP5 SCJD/OCM-JD OCPJP7 OCPWCD5 OCPBCD5
Madhu Manu
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 5
K. Tsang wrote:Hi Madhu and welcome to the Ranch.

Isn't it nice to become a CxO? Well not exactly depending on what company it is. Anyway sooner or later I believe most executive level managers would need a MBA and/or tons of management experience to reach the CxO level.

And depending on how your career path goes (technical vs managerial) in order to climb up, managerial side hardly need any certifications (maybe PMP is helpful). For technical any IT architecture related certifications is desirable in the long run. Of course development certs in between can also help. And you should know developers implement projects and architect level people design projects.

So the ultimate question to ask yourself is: "How passionate are you for development?" Because some developers are keen to not take up architect roles even they are capable and do have the skills.


Thanks Tsang,

Not sure but I guess the path goes like this,correct me If I am wrong

Developer(+SCEA)-->Architect(+Lots of experience)-->???
Developer(+PMP)-->Manager(+MBA+experience)-->executive level managers(+Lots of experience)-->CEO

Is there any equivalent(same range) position for the Architects with many years of experience?
But I do see progress in manager's careers after years of experience

In which field we need MBA , is it finance,Marketing,IT,HR ???

Correct me If I am wrong

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Madhu Manu wrote:Hi There,
1. “Will I ever be able to become a CEO(or position of that range) of a company?” (At this moment I have no intentions to start a business and become CEO of that company)


That's like asking will you ever climb a mountain, the answer is "I have no idea." If you have no intention to become a CEO then you're probably unlike to become one, just like you;re unlike to climb a mountain unless you intend to do so. No one forces you up the mountain and no one forces you into becoming a CEO. But if your preferences change, you may one day climb a mountain or become a CEO.


Madhu Manu wrote:Hi There,
2. If I have become a CEO(or position of that range) what are the degrees/certifications I need to get?


There are no degrees required to be a CEO, generally speaking. Some companies may want a CEO with certain degrees (e.g. biotech CEO's often have PhD's in a related field), and all will want a CEO with some relevant experience, but there is no universal ruling. While you can say nearly all companies want programmers with a CS or related degree (EE, MIS, etc.), the same does not hold true for CEO's.



Madhu Manu wrote:Hi There,
3. What is ideal path to go that position?


There is no universal ideal path. Some people start their own companies and make themselves CEO. Others work their way up from the bottom over a career focused on one company. Still others move form one company to another, sometimes getting advanced degrees, until they reach the right position.

Some CEO roles require more fund raising skills, or sales and marketing, sometimes it's more an operations role, some companies need CEO's to turn around a business while others need them to accelerate growth. At any given moment the required skills for a CEO for a specific company may be different from other companies and different from even that company at other times.


Generally speaking, to be a CEO you need to be both a leader and manager and need to have at least an understanding of the different components of a business: sales, marketing, operations, technology, IT, accounting, finance, HR, legal, etc. At th level you're at try to learn as much as you can about the different parts of the company, how the operate, and what the different roles do.


--Mark
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Madhu Manu wrote:
In which field we need MBA , is it finance,Marketing,IT,HR ???


No field requires it. Some companies may want it for certain roles, but there's no universal rule. Sure it's more common if you work on Wall St or a Big 4 consulting firm, but it's not required. There is nothing you learn in an MBA program that you can't learn elsewhere and any role in a company can be done quite successfully by someone without an MBA.

--Mark
K. Tsang
Bartender

Joined: Sep 13, 2007
Posts: 2563
    
    9

Having SCEA or PMP or having MBA is mutually exclusive. Developers often pursue MBA in order to jump to management or at least be the PM or team leader. Now having SCEA vs PMP is a whole issue of itself.

Developers with great responsibilities tend to design or take charge architectural issues - this is then SCEA may be useful. So there is no set path to become CEO or manager.

Yet putting technology aside, a potential CEO like Mark mentioned can have different purpose to the company. The purpose of MBA is really allow the candidate to expose as much management perspectives/areas/fields as possible during that study period interacting/networking with classmates. Isn't the true purpose of MBA is networking and not the degree?
Madhu Manu
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 5
Thanks for your responses.Let me frame my question this way.
Let's say I have 2 options(#1.take a job as a architect #2.take a job as Project Manager) to choose , My final goal is to become CEO(or Highest possible position in organizational ladder),which option(#1 or #2) is best/appropriate/relevant/ideal for me(or in general) to reach my goal?
John Bengler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2009
Posts: 133
Hi Madhu,

I only can tell you how it is in the company I'm working for. To become a CEO you would definitely have to choose the Project Manager path, but our CIO has been an Architekt.


John
Sandeep Awasthi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
My final goal is to become CEO(or Highest possible position in organizational ladder),

Why you want to become CEO? Try to find answer for this question.

There are two companies
Company A has highest possible position which requires good managerial skills.
Company B has highest possible position which requires high quality technical skills.

Which company will you choose and why?


Sandeep
Madhu Manu
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 5
John Ben wrote:Hi Madhu,

I only can tell you how it is in the company I'm working for. To become a CEO you would definitely have to choose the Project Manager path, but our CIO has been an Architekt.


John


Thanks,

Both CEO and CIO are comparable positions.So based on my interest (Technical or Managerial ) I can choose the path.
Madhu Manu
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 03, 2009
Posts: 5
Rajesh Thakare wrote:
My final goal is to become CEO(or Highest possible position in organizational ladder),

Why you want to become CEO? Try to find answer for this question.


Who doesn't want to grow/dream.I am a normal person with dreams.

Rajesh Thakare wrote:

There are two companies
Company A has highest possible position which requires good managerial skills.
Company B has highest possible position which requires high quality technical skills.

Which company will you choose and why?


I may be wrong but I guess In the 75% of the companies the highest possible position which requires good managerial skills.

So far I am only a technical(academic and experience) person.Highest position is important(Technical or managerial)

Sandeep Awasthi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
The reason I asked is because you should know where your passions are. Everyone wants to grow. But you are more likely to be successful in the career path which you like ( Technical / Management).
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Madhu Manu wrote:Thanks for your responses.Let me frame my question this way.
My final goal is to become CEO(or Highest possible position in organizational ladder),which option(#1 or #2) is best/appropriate/relevant/ideal for me(or in general) to reach my goal?

...

Who doesn't want to grow/dream.I am a normal person with dreams.


I'd liken this to the expression, "I only want to marry a very beautiful woman." It sounds like a nice thing but I'd rather marry a woman who makes me happy. She will be attractive to me, she might be beautiful or even very beautiful objectively speaking. But if I pick her just for beauty, I may not be happy. Don't go for a title, go for a set of responsibilities.

Why CEO? Would you be happy being a GM or President?

Get two friends, start a contract software firm, call yourself CEO, done! Does that meet your goals? Being that CEO is very different than being CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Figure out what you want to be doing, then figure out the title and type of company you want.


--Mark
Sandeep Awasthi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
Very well said Mark.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30789
    
157

K. Tsang wrote:Having SCEA or PMP or having MBA is mutually exclusive.

Different, but not mutually exclusive. I know people who have SCEA and MBA. I also know people who have PMP and MBA.


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frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Programmer to CEO is the most unlikely of career paths unless you start your own business.
CEO role focuses on business, politics, and personal skills. Just knowing how to program "Hello World" would be technical overkill for anything a CEO does in his daily life. Even CIOs very rarely become CEOs. If CEO is your ultimate goal, finance or marketing are a better path.
Duc Lai
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 4
I don't see how a Developer ends up to be a CEO of a company unless he/she starts up his/her own. The CEO position is meant for "businessman". Of course there is nothing stopping you from doing some kind of business related before progressing to CEO.


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Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Duc Lai wrote:I don't see how a Developer ends up to be a CEO of a company unless he/she starts up his/her own. The CEO position is meant for "businessman". Of course there is nothing stopping you from doing some kind of business related before progressing to CEO.


As a former developer turned CEO I can assure you that it's possible. Being a developer doesn't give you all the skills to be CEO, but likewise no one goes from being a marketer to CEO either. In all cases they move up the ladder and take on roles that expose them to different aspects of the business.

--Mark
Sandeep Awasthi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 597
An example of someone who has grown up from junior engineer to CEO in one company. Subramaniam Ramadorai
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3223
In all cases they move up the ladder and take on roles that expose them to different aspects of the business.



Don't think of you as just a techie. Get involved in all facets of the business as Mark suggested. Identify a soft-skill that you can improve on and work on it as opposed to thinking about what certification to gain next. Have good role models (in this case a CxO ) and observe them. Read business magazines. Finally, if you really want it, you will ACT on it.


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Billy Tsai
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 23, 2003
Posts: 1304
Get a MBA degree and a PhD in Computer Science or Information Systems.
Then work in technical areas first then gradually move towards sales and management.

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Rex Tan
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 26, 2009
Posts: 8
I think it's important to note that degrees/certifications won't help you to become a CEO. An MBA/PMP only gives you a chance to be in a managerial position. At the CEO level, you are dealing with all facets of the business, a CTO is well positioned to deal with the hard-skills (e.g. Back-office systems, Front-office systems, Analytics) but will be sorely lacking on the soft-skills such as being to deal with people and recruit the right people (Human Resources). However once you reach a senior enough position such as CTO, if ever the CEO resigns and your company decides to hire internally.. it is just performance that will separate you from the other high level managers


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Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Rex Tan wrote:a CTO is well positioned to deal with the hard-skills (e.g. Back-office systems, Front-office systems, Analytics) but will be sorely lacking on the soft-skills such as being to deal with people and recruit the right people (Human Resources)


While I can't speak to all companies it's certainly not true for Fortune 500's or even many midsized corporations. A CTO needs to understand the aspects of the business in order to evolve a technical plan to meet their needs. He's need visions and foresight for planning, be good at hiring and managing, provide leadership, handle large budgets and planning, create a culture and process, etc. Most CTO's who run teams of over 100 people don't really spend much time coding.


Rex Tan wrote:However once you reach a senior enough position such as CTO, if ever the CEO resigns and your company decides to hire internally.. it is just performance that will separate you from the other high level managers


Then you're only likely to get the job if they need a CEO with your skill set. If they need a CEO to increase sales, the CTO is probably not the right guy, it's more likely to be the CMO or head of sales. If they need a financial makeover it's more likely to be the CFO or maybe COO. If they need direction or strategy it's more likely to be VP of biz dev or VP of strategy. And so forth...



--Mark
Richa Sharma
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Joined: Dec 06, 2008
Posts: 47
I am sorry. Replied by mistake.
 
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