Should Tech CTOs Know How to Code?

Like player coaches, tech CTOs should know how to code

In most tech startups, the CTO’s role is as demanding and complex as that of a modern head coach. He or she establishes the company’s technical vision and presides over all aspects of its realization. The CTO leads technological development and drives the organization to strive for and execute innovation. He or she may serve in other important roles as well, from media spokesperson to conference speaker to customer-facing deal-closer and problem-solver. One hat that today’s CTO seldom wears is hands-on software developer. Similar to the way that the player-coach has disappeared in sports as the head coach’s role has become more multi-faceted and arduous, the thinking regarding CTOs is that they have enough on their plates with strategy. Who has the time or desire to roll up their sleeves and get busy with code? I would argue that this reasoning is as misguided as leaving Stephen Curry open for an uncontested three. With enough determination and dedication, it’s possible and necessary for a CTO to be both a visionary and a key in-the-trenches contributor. Which means that the player-coach model, though long gone in pro sports, serves as an excellent template for […]