Five reasons why a developer might want to become a CIO
- 31 July, 2008 22:00
1. It's all about the benjamins, baby. Have you seen the money these cats make? Top information technology executives earn millions of dollars. And it's not just the cash CIOs pocket, it's the perks they get, too. Home security system to protect all their loot? Check. Personal use of the corporate jet? Check. Financial planner to funnel all that dough into off-shore, tax-free accounts? Check.
2. It's good to be king.
Like Tom Petty and Jackie Mason say, "It's good to be king." As a CIO, you have control over the fate of an entire department. You control the priorities, salaries and indeed the future of everyone on your staff. If you want to make them come into the office on the weekend to work on their TPS reports, you can. You can also make software vendors laugh or cry with a flourish of your pen. You can spend a day on the links and call it business. And if you want to frolic in Las Vegas for a weekend, you don't have to ask anyone for permission. You just tell them you're attending a conference. Because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
3. You don't have to worry about your job getting outsourced.
Have you ever heard of a CIO's job getting shipped off to India? Either have we. CIOs are too busy managing their outsourcing contracts with Tata and IBM to worry about their positions being in jeopardy. Software developers, on the other hand, always have to worry about the axe-man hefting the hatchet over their heads.
4. Golden parachutes to the rescue.
On the off chance a company decides to part ways with its CIO, the CIO is all but guaranteed a soft landing due to the employment contract his lawyer inked for him when he joined the company. While software developers are lucky if they get a measly six weeks severance, the CIO usually skips away with a minimum of six months severance, health insurance and all vested stock options.
5. Quit bugging me.
Even software developers tire of fixing bugs. Some days, they'd much rather be the person creating all the problems than the poor slob who has to clean them up.
But, there are more reasons why a developer would NEVER want the top ICT post.
1. Software developers live to write code.
Writing code is the light of a developer's life. The fire of his loins. His sin, his soul. (Thank you, Nabokov.) Writing code is a compulsion for software developers. They have to do it-often at the expense of personal grooming, developing their social skills and cultivating relationships with the opposite sex. Becoming a CIO would take them away from their one true passion.
2. They like to see the fruits of their labors.
Developers don't want to spend their days in meetings, manage petty squabbles among subordinates or beg for budget dollars. They want to do *real* work. They want to have something to show for their work. They want to point to a software application and say, "I built this," not, "My team built this."
3. No habla Ingles.
Many developers express themselves better in Java or C# than they do in English. That doesn't fly for CIOs, who have to be able to clearly and convincingly explain to their management teams and boards of directors IT's value.
4. Revenge of the nerds.
The dream of becoming a legendary hacker is far more exciting to a software developer than the prospect of becoming a CIO. It's also a much more realistic career goal. Landing a good CIO job these days isn't easy.
5. Developers don't aspire to be anyone's bi***.
Let's face it: Much of the CIO role requires sucking up to the CFO and CEO. Developers prize their integrity and think corporate politics is for wonks. What's more, they'd rather cannibalize Cowboy Neal than report to and take orders from executives who don't understand technology.
6. They're not interested in plumbing.
Even developers see the CIO as tactical. They view the CIO as the guy in charge of infrastructure. Developers don't want to manage the status quo. They want to innovate. (See #1.)
7. Developers hate PowerPoint.
PowerPoint is such the domain of the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert comics. Nothing is more square than PowerPoint.
8. They think their CIO is clueless.
Why would a software developer ever want to become the guy who none of his peers respect?