Can you be trained to be CIOs – is not a rhetorical question anymore
Training and certification are as old as IT. They have always been critical requirements among enterprise IT professionals. With technology changing so fast, the rush for training – especially in newer areas like machine learning, data science, and cloud technologies – has only accelerated in recent years.
However, this ‘training’ has been chiefly about new technologies, standards, and regulations.
A survey that 9.9 Group did recently among CIOs reveals that they expect the next line of enterprise IT managers to be ‘trained’ to be CIOs. As many as 98% of CIOs agree that training is essential to become a successful CIO.
While about three-fourths of those surveyed (77%) put training as equally important as experience, as many as 21% say training is more critical. Think about it – only 2% think experience is enough to be a CIO.
We present the findings of the survey, conducted in August 2021.
Most important challenges for CIOs
If you thought why we are doing so much fuss about training, putting it on the cover, even though technical training and certifications are a regular part of enterprise IT professionals, this finding will provide you with the reason.
Skills for Indian CIOs are not a challenge; it is a challenge.
Surprising as it may sound, as many as one in five say yes. And three-fourth says it is essential, along with experience. Experience does matter—but sorry, it is not enough.
Over half of the respondents to 9.9 Group’s recent CIO survey cite skill availability/hiring in IT as the top management challenge
The next logical question: what kind of training?
This is where it gets more surprising – and exciting. While almost three-fourth of CIOs said specific skill training ‘will help’ when explicitly asked what kind of training is most suitable, nearly two in three CIOs said an intensive capsule program designed specifically for future CIOs could best fulfill the training need.
Let that sink in – no specific technology, no specific strategy training, no specific leadership training, and no specific soft skills, they are clear that a customized training designed that integrates all this (and probably more, as we have not explicitly asked for that), is best suited to prepare them to be CIOs. Call it a CIO course.
And almost one in five says training workshops with a peer group from other companies will help them. So, for HR guys, it is not sufficient for 2-3 days ‘leadership’ or ‘skill’ training. That may help them improve on that aspect, but such training is not an alternative to open training with other organizations.
Food for thought?
The majority of CIOs surveyed opined the growing need for specialized skill training along with experience to become a CIO
Types of training programs that can help prepare future CIOs
Will you be a little more specific?
We also asked what specific training is needed today for the immediate next levels (CIO -1, CIO -2). Not surprisingly, strategy leads is first, followed by leadership and emerging technologies holding a strong third.
Skills and training the next-in-line CIOs will need for leadership success
What about the long-term?
What about the following levels beyond the top three levels? After all, they are the guys who execute the strategy, get things done. Surprisingly, leadership is the top training need, feel CIOs. Maybe, it is an introductory leadership training. Not so surprisingly, emerging technology training is a strong second.
Yes, we did list business strategy as an option, but few selected that.
Skills and training needed for the following levels beyond the top three levels
Technology areas that are hot for training
Do not be in any confusion. The need for strategy or soft skills training does not dilute the need for technology training. CIOs give ‘almost’ equal importance to strategy, technology, and soft skills, although their relative importance stands in that order. What gets underlined is that with high scores, all of them are reasonably important.
Areas of training rated as being the most important for future CIOs
Top technology skills to learn for the future
Profile of Survey Respondents
Tech first…and last
As reiterated by the finding, technology is not a walkover. So, which technologies are most important? Are the answers not too surprising?