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What's holding CIOs back from making a bigger impression?
There's no real career path for a CIO. It's a huge problem, in terms of getting people through the ranks and hiring them externally to be CIO. And once they become CIO, what do you do with them from there? There's the old joke that CIO stands for "Career Is Over."
What's the root of that problem?
If you took 100 Harvard and Wharton MBAs and asked them what they aspire to, I'd be shocked if you got more than two that said CIO. That's a reflection that IT has a black eye.
Jobs are being outsourced, and no one wants to be a Java coder anymore. The industry has traditionally done a bad job of hiring women. The educational system is set up to bring up coders, the real engineering-oriented technical folks. A lot of CIOs who come from the tech area aren't used to dealing with people from the Csuite; they're not used to building relationships across business units or talking about returns and investments. They're coming in at a disadvantage.
How realistic is it to think that will change?
We're never going to get back to the point where people are enrolling in computer science and math classes thinking they're going to have a long, fulfilling life writing code in a cubicle somewhere.
If you pitch it to the business schools as solid business roles where they're dealing with a specific business area--which happens to be technology--as opposed to roles where you're a techie, that would do a lot to make people start seeing the CIO and other upper-level IT positions as valid places where they really exercise skills and develop skills up the corporate ladder. There's no real managing technology discipline at these schools where an aspiring CIO would want to go.
While your buddies are doing case studies, you're taking a Java class. It's just silly.