Time Capsule for CIOs? by Cathy Sandeen

The UCLA Extension spring catalog was recently released and it’s a quarterly ritual of mine to go through it page by page with an eye toward, “what’s new.” 

This time one of our new classes caught my eye: CIO Core Competencies, a course designed to provide “an introduction to most of the critical disciplines that the modern chief information officer (CIO) encounters when managing a modern business IT environment.”

Today, nearly every job evolves and changes over time, but the degree and rate of change must be exponential for individuals who oversee the information and business systems of an entire enterprise, whatever its size. I decided to explore this topic a bit more.

Past predictions. I found an interesting article, written in December 2003, titled, “2010: The Future of the CIO.” 

Key predictions focused on two extremes:

  I. Rising importance of the CIO Role. The job will expand and will become more strategic. Hiring companies will look for these qualities in their CIO: “a very good business person, then a great leader, strategist and visionary.”

or

II. Whatever Happened to the CIO? The job will become marginalized as a “support services organization . . . if CIOs don’t get better at projecting themselves into the center of the corporate decision-making process, they may find that if they still have a job, it won’t be steering the company toward its next competition-crushing opportunity. It will be taking orders and putting out fires.”

 

Job prospects. Technology is not going away and employment trends bear this out. The job market for CIOs is showing definite signs of growth, especially as the economy improves.

 Current CIO priorities—a story of constant change. It’s interesting to note that so many of today’s technologies (cloud computing, social media, mobile devices, GIS, etc.) that pop up on various lists of CIO priorities for 2010 were hardly as ubiquitous “way” back in 2003.

 Other priorities for 2010 directly relate to current social/economic events, such as the need to enhance system security, enhance data storage, and reduce IT expenses. See, for example, Public CIO and InfoWorld.

Crystal ball. I admit my technology expertise is limited to that of a user’s perspective. Even so, I am certain the role of technology in our ever-connected lives will continue to expand, making the CIO role increasingly critical. I’m pleased UCLA Extension offers technology professionals the opportunity to explore and develop their ability to perform this critical role.

UCLA Extension course: CIO Core Competencies

 

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