However, they operate in different organizational functions, with other daily responsibilities and goals. I would say that the the VP Engineering/Director of Engineering role has a relatively common understanding (at least in the Valley). As our company grows, the needs of the CTO role grow and change. A CSO commonly has a scientific or academic background, yet they may or may not be practicing scientists or academics. In German startups, CTOs often perform both jobs (clearly two separate people are warranted once you are past the initial stages). How do you see (and wish to see) these titles?? Discover the challenges a Tech Lead faces and how to overcome them. The typical category of research and development that exists in many science and technology companies can be led by either post, depending upon which area is the organization's primary focus. Hi Patrick, firstly I found this article really useful in considering the changing priorities of a growth business. Companies have different requirements of the role. A CSO is typically responsible for envisioning and developing research capabilities (human, methodological, and technological) for developing evidence of the validity and utility of research products, and for communicating with the scientific and customer communities concerning capabilities and scientific product offerings. CIO (Chief Information Officer) and CTO (Chief Technology Officer) are both executive-level roles in organizations. A CSO is typically responsible for envisioning and developing research capabilities (human, methodological, and technological) for developing evidence of the validity and utility of research products, and for communicating with the scientific and customer communities concerning capabilities and scientific product offerings. [3] Typically, their role is to evaluate and set scientific priorities and coordinate the administrative structure that supports scientists. And in this era of continuous digital transformation, a new battle for power, between the chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO), has moved centre stage. The CTO for our company, in our stage, demands a more operational, management and inward focus. A CSO almost always has a pure science background and an advanced degree, whereas a CTO often has a background in engineering or business development. Things change all the time. Some call it a chameleon role. Our “Chief Scientist” role focuses on three areas: I’m look forward to refocusing my attention and energy. Technical expertise is an integral part of software development. @Dirk Thank you and I think you hit the nail on the head with that comment . You may be surprised by the lessons they have to share. As a leader, I found myself asking others (and myself), “How does this scale?” I’m constantly looking at ways to scale myself too. The scientist are responsible for the science--math and algorithms--while the CTO is responsible for the software infrastructure. It changes rapidly in the same company (particularly one going through hypergrowth). When it comes to hiring; I often find myself taking briefs on positions under the titles VP Engineering, CTO, Director of Engineering with seemingly interchangeable duties. It reminds me of a rather old one about the same topic, but with a different approach: I’ve not run into too many Chief Solutions Architects. Congratulations Patrick. Hypergrowth land is fun. It keeps confusing the classic VP of engineering (people person) with the classic CTO (technical leadership) role. Here’s to embracing constant change, evolution and experimentation! These areas not only bring significant value to the company, but also play to my strengths. Chief Scientist Mobility Dr Wolfgang Warnecke was appointed Shell’s Chief Scientist Mobility in May 2011. Many thanks for leaving your comment. 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