The Distinctive Duties of a VP of Engineering vs. CTO
Exploring the Office of the VP of Engineering
- Strategy development: The VP of engineering is a member of the senior staff, which plans the company’s overall product strategy. He or she may work alongside other VPs and department heads to help craft the policy that guides the business’s decisions.
- Technical leadership: Alongside the CTO, a VP of engineering is responsible for developing and implementing the technical roadmap for the company’s hardware and software assets. A VP of engineering may serve as the company’s systems architect or may delegate the job to another capable engineer.
- Engineering work and program management: A VP of engineering is responsible for implementing a product vision through efficient engineering practices that fall in line with the overall company ideals.
- Personnel management: In smaller companies, the VP of engineering manages personnel for the entire department. In larger enterprises, he or she may be the final arbiter for engineering management, with other engineering directors reporting directly to the office.
- Financial Planning: A VP of engineering is also responsible for creating and presenting the annual bottom-up budget for the company’s engineering department. For a tech-based startup, this cost can form the largest share of the company’s budget.
Job Outlook and Salary
The Crucial Functions of a CTO
- Technical leadership: The CTO partners with the VP of engineering to drive the company’s overall adoption of new technology in line with the business’s vision. He or she provides technical know-how and information on industry trends to help the VP of engineering make decisions.
- Managing the company’s patent portfolio: For tech startups in particular, the CTO’s office files for technological patents and enforces those it already has. Patents can serve as a revenue stream to help with a company’s expenses.
- Maintaining technological edge: Regardless of industry, companies that lose their technological edge can lose market share and even collapse. With the world becoming increasingly connected, a CTO needs to understand threat assessment and ensure the company’s technological assets are protected by implementing cybersecurity measures.
Job Outlook and Salary
Skills for Professionals Entering the Industry
- Mastery of offensive and defensive cybersecurity: VPs of engineering and CTOs must be aware of the technological landscape and understand the potential threats that face a business and how to confront them.
- Legal knowledge of cybersecurity: As an emerging field, cyberlaw is continually evolving, and both CTOs and VPs of engineering must maintain current knowledge of the legislation they will likely encounter.
- Business strategy: CTOs and VPs of engineering contribute to a business’s technical planning and need to understand business strategy.
- Decision-making skills: CTOs and VPs of engineering make decisions that affect a company’s ability to function effectively, and Maryville students with these careers in mind will learn what effective decision-making entails.
- Communication skills: A CTO’s presentations to the rest of management hinge on his or her ability to communicate effectively. A VP of engineering has to communicate efficiently up and down the chain of command to achieve results. These skills are invaluable in both positions.