CIOs Who Took an Alternative Route to the Top

A high school physics teacher. A hockey coach and referee. An intern at the National Science Foundation.

A high school physics teacher. A hockey coach and referee. An intern at the National Science Foundation.

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What do these seemingly disparate positions have in common? They were all early career choices for CIOs and CTOs who are now successfully immersed in IT strategy and technology leadership at major institutions, including a university, a commercial real estate company and a telecommunications start-up.

road not taken

Instead of following the traditional trajectory to a C-level tech position -- a computer science or engineering degree, followed by years of help desk work, programming and project management -- these tech leaders took an alternative route to the top IT spot.

Whether the itinerary was deliberate or unplanned, their early experiences off the beaten high-tech path provided invaluable communication, business and people skills that they believe helped separate them from the rest of the IT pack.

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