Top career tips for aspiring CIOs

CIOs share hard-earned lessons and time-honored advice to those seeking top technology leadership roles.

Top career tips for aspiring CIOs
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Romain Apert likes to tell a story he heard from a mathematician who talked about the analogy of a dark room, and how a person attempts to find the light switch but bumps into an object when they move to the left or the right — but as they continue moving forward, they gain more information to make sense of the room.

“Finally, one day, you find your way to the light switch,” says Apert, vice president and global CIO of Mars Wrigley. Whereas once, CIOs were “just a bunch of leaders who used to be very successful in a room that was focused on standardization, simplification and globalization, where it was very much back office,” now, “these leaders have been thrown overnight into a dark room.” The challenge, as Apert sees it, is for them to find their way to the switch.

“The only way to find your way is to learn; learn why the room is dark and identify the best way to find your way to the switch,’’ he says.

That’s a lesson that is applicable not only for CIOs, but tech professionals who aspire to move into the C-suite. Like technology itself, the CIO role has evolved and continues to evolve. Here are some tips and advice from IT leaders on how to become a CIO and what they’ve learned along the way.

Strategy first, solutions second

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