The Winning Tech Resume

Tech jobs across the world are rapidly increasing and can be found in most industries. The rise of such jobs is due to organizations increasingly relying on computer systems and technologies. 

Examples are the adoption of cloud computing and cybersecurity. As a result, employment in IT occupations is predicted to increase by up to 12% between 2014 and 2024. 

Some specialized tech jobs that are expected to increase in demand include:

  • Software developers
  • Web developers
  • Information security analysts
  • Mobile application developers
  • Computer system analysts

These jobs will require you to have specific skills that you will have learned and practiced. Some of the most important IT skills you may already possess are:

  • Coding
  • Application development
  • Cloud services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Database administration

Combined with the below ‘soft’ skills, you will be able to fit into a tech role of your choice. 

  • Communication skills
  • Time and project management skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills

These are the basics that will enable you to work within an IT department, as well as interact with high-level management. 

Note: Though the terms are interchangeable, do not confuse tech skills and technical skills. Tech skills relate to IT skills associated with digital technology. Technical skills are a broader range of abilities, such as accounting which is not a tech skill.

Each type of tech resume needs to be tailored to the role and this is the tricky part for job seekers in the industry. 

You will need to be able to showcase your specific skills. At the same time, you need to differentiate yourself from people with similar skills and highlight relevant experience. 

How do you make your resume stand out among the thousands that employers receive? 

This guide will give you an overview of what to consider when creating a tech resume that will get you hired. 

Once you have an impressive resume, the next step is to find jobs to apply for.

By targeting employers who are looking for someone just like you, there is a better chance to be called in for an interview.

Using the Quantic platform is an ideal solution to finding new opportunities. The platform is specifically designed to connect students with top employers and every job seeker has a chance at success.

This is why we have developed sample resumes for the most popular tech jobs. Just like we did for data analysts

The format of your resume is also an important factor as employers only take a few minutes to skim each CV. 

Let us help you create a winning resume and take the first step towards landing your dream job.

What Makes a Good Tech Resume?

Several features that make for a good tech resume. Let’s look at 4 of the top tips.

Use the Correct Format

Structure Your Resume in Reverse Chronological Order

You need to start with your most recent job – the pinnacle of your career. After this, list all the relevant previous jobs in reverse order. 

This will draw attention to your growth path and act as a way of putting your best foot forward. 

Use Professional Fonts and Spacing

The top three fonts to use are Calibri, Cambria, and Helvetica; being the neatest and most legible. The size can be either 12 or 10 in order to be legible and headings can be either size 12 or 14.

With regards to spacing, stick with single-line spacing.

Set the Correct Margins

You don’t want to cram your resume with text as it will look unprofessional. Large margins on the other hand make it look empty. Your best option is to use one-inch margins on all sides.

Use the Correct Format – Word vs PDF?

Firstly, read the job description and follow the employer’s instructions. Send whichever format they specify and send their preferred format.

If there are no specifications, usually a PDF document is a safe choice. It will preserve your formatting and open as a professional-looking document.

One disadvantage is if the recruiter is using an applicant tracking system, (ATS). The software may have trouble scanning your CV and skip crucial information.

If unsure, you can show some initiative and reach out to the hiring manager and enquire about their preferred format. Alternatively, simply send CVs in both formats. 

Proofread Your Resume

Take the time to ensure 100% correct spelling, grammar, and formatting. Sloppy mistakes on your CV are a sure-fire way to demonstrate to your potential employers that you don’t have attention to detail.

Highlight Your Strong Points

To avoid sending a generic resume, you will need to address the needs of the company. 

To do this showcase your skills at the top of your resume. Pay close attention to the necessary skills listed on the job posting and match your strong points to the advertised position.

This is one of the tricks to creating a successful tech resume that will get you into the interview room.

Write an Engaging Experience Section

The work experience section is probably the most important part of a tech resume. Employers know what you did by looking at the job title. They are more interested in how you well did it. 

This section will be proof that you can perform the technical skills you have described. 

To make your experience section engaging, follow these tips:

  • Make use of bullet points
  • Use short, descriptive sentences 
  • Prove your experience with links to your previous work or portfolio 
  • Include the duties and responsibilities of the jobs you provide

Write According to Your Experience Level

Those with extensive experience have very different CVs compared to recent graduates.

For an expert, their education level is not going to be a deciding factor. They can simply write:

2011 – 2015

Stanford University

B.Sc., Software Engineering

This section should be placed directly under your career statement. 

For those without an extensive work history, place your degree and learning institution below your education level. This means your education section will be more detailed, like so:

2011 – 2015

Stanford University

B.Sc., Software Engineering

  • Chairperson of IT-Hub, the campus machine learning club, 2014 – 2015.
  • Completed eight advanced Java programming classes to cement my knowledge.
  • Broadcasted an online webinar on best practices for security in cloud services.
  • Wrote for the S.U. Mag, specializing in IT-related topics on a monthly basis.

Use Sentences That Get Straight to the Point

Do not use overly-long sentences when writing your resume. You want to keep the sentences short, and preferably in bullet point form. Here are some tips when writing the bullet points; 

  • Start with an action verb: Oversaw 
  • Describe a specific task: Software upgrading campaign 
  • Complete with a quantifiable point: Cost reduction of 10% 

The final sentence will read:

Oversaw a software upgrading campaign that resulted in a cost reduction of 10%. 

Your resume should also get straight to the point. 

“I want to be able to quickly glance at a resume and make sure they meet the criteria for the level of position I’m looking for and then if they do, I’ll read their resume more closely,” Melissa Wallace, Talent Acquisition Partner 

Because most tech jobs are results-oriented, provide context on how you have used the skill to achieve results. 

Use metrics to quantify your success. Using percentages is a great way to quantify your abilities. 

Some bullet points to quantify your results could be: 

  • Achieved X results in Y amount of time. 
  • Reduced costs by X amount using XYZ software. 
  • Ensured X customer queries were resolved using XYZ methods. 

You should also include details of your skill level. Are you a beginner or an expert? Mention this along with each skill. 

If you don’t, the recruiter may find your CV to be lacking and assume you do not have the correct qualifications. 

You also don’t want a resume that is too long, and tiresome to read. However, do not leave out important information; striking a balance is key. 

How Is a Tech Resume Different From Other Industries

All tech jobs require very specific skill sets and in addition, many companies are looking for a well-rounded individual. 

You need to have a section assigned where you can list your skills. Make a table and include it just after the experience section of your resume. 

Some of the major skills for the most popular tech jobs include: 

IT Technician

  • Front and back end development 
  • Cloud computing 
  • Network structure and security 

Software Engineer

  • Programming languages 
  • Databases 
  • Encryption and cryptography 

Web Developer

  • Website design 
  • Digital advertising 
  • Mobile and social marketing 

Data Analyst

  • Data analysis and exploration 
  • Creating dashboards and reports 
  • Statistical knowledge 

Data Scientist

  • Probability and statistics 
  • Multivariate calculus and linear algebra 
  • Programming packages and software 

Product Manager

  • User experience (UX) design 
  • Data understanding and analytics 
  • Product engineering 

A Winning Tech Resume Template

There are some major things that you must include in your tech resume. 

Some of these include;

  • Contact Information: Include your name, professional title, phone number, email, LinkedIn handle, and personal portfolio, blog, or website.
  • Career Summary: A short introduction that highlights your career progress and specific skill set. It should only be a few lines and encourage the employer to read the rest of your resume.
  • Experience Section: Up to six bullet points describing the roles and responsibilities of your previous jobs.
  • Education: List your schools and degrees achieved, as well as the corresponding years. Include honors and awards, and if you are fresh from school, you can add your GPA grade. Under this section, you can include certifications and professional memberships as well as achievements and awards.
  • Skills: Use our tips to create a skills section to grab the reader’s attention. Even if creating a tech resume, some skills are desirable across the board. Here are a few:

– Leadership

– Teamwork

– Research

– Analytical thinking

  • Optional Sections: If you have space, create a hobbies and interests section. It should reflect your personality and fit in with the company culture.

To stand out, show that you have enough business acumen to perform high-level jobs. You need to be able to manage teams of technicians and communicate with high-level management.

Studying a solid, certified MBA program is a great addition to your job-specific skills and will help you go up a level – especially in the eyes of the employer.

A free Quantic MBA has been developed by leading professors to create a comprehensive 9-course curriculum.

Once completed, the areas covered will earn you a DEAC accredited degree. Some of these include:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Data and decisions
  • Markets and economics
  • Marketing
  • Strategy development and entrepreneurship

Want to Get Hired in Tech?

Quantic’s students only have good things to say, but as a tech worker, you may have some doubts about delving into the business world.

You can rest easy and be sure you are making the right decision, just like Front-end Engineer, Robin Lu.

And that dream job, won’t just land on your lap. You will need to spend time and possible money getting your resume to the right recruiter.

As a Quantic student, you will be able to apply to exclusive positions in your chosen field. 

The Quantic Talent platform gives you access to recruiters who are looking for Software Engineers, Data Scientists, Product Managers, UX/UI Designers, and more at top tech companies.

Corporate Training & Development: Why It’s Important in 2021

No matter your industry, role, or career objectives, knowledge is power. You need it if you want to advance and maintain the same level of performance that won you that promotion. 

How do you go about getting the skills and knowledge you need? That’s where corporate training and development come into play. In the 2020s, it’s going to play a huge role in the way organizations think about and invest in their employees.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. We’ll uncover:

  • What corporate training is and why it’s so important
  • Tips to maximize the benefits of corporate training and corporate eLearning
  • How to identify the right corporate training courses that work best for you

By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly what a solid corporate training program looks like and how to make the most of what’s out there to accelerate your career.

What Is Corporate Training?

Corporate training refers to organized professional development activities created by companies to help their employees be more effective on the job. If you’ve ever taken a set of courses created and hosted by your employer, you’ve had a taste of what it entails.

These days, you’ll often see it called Corporate Education or Workplace Learning, but it’s a little different from the concept of on-the-job training. Corporate training is:

  • A form of continued education. You may encounter online courses, seminars, or series of lectures much like a traditional college class. This is especially true if your company uses outside resources or institutions that offer corporate training.
  • Geared toward your holistic professional development. It will help you attain the skills you need to be an effective corporate professional.
  • Not always company-specific. Corporate training is designed to help you excel in your current role and become more valuable to the company over time. However, you’ll usually also develop skills that you can take with you to other companies.

How You’ll Benefit From Corporate Training

A good corporate training program is one of the most critical things to look for when you consider taking a position in a company. The presence of one signals that the company recognizes its employees as a valuable resource and is interested in nurturing you as an asset. This has a host of benefits for both the company and you. Research suggests that you’ll enjoy:

  • Increased efficiency and competence at your job
  • Greater motivation and morale
  • A stronger and more cohesive company culture
  • Stabler teams and relationships due to fewer turnovers

Corporate Training Processes That Support Your Success

Imagine one Friday that you walk into your yearly review with your boss, who’s so enthused about your performance that you get a promotion. Congratulations! In the corporate world, that’s what everyone wants to hear.

Come Monday, get dressed up in your most confidence-inspiring outfit and head into the office. Your first task? A meeting with a key partner in an hour about an initiative spearheaded by your department. All right, you say. New position, new experience! Then, your boss hands you spreadsheets you’ve never seen before to help you prepare. By the way, after that, you’re having lunch with two of your department’s team leaders to discuss the findings in that meeting. No pressure.

It’s a good thing you had time for that online corporate training module over the weekend to help you get up to speed, right? Thanks to those processes your company has developed to help support your career, you’ve totally got this.

What a Strategic Model for Training & Development Looks Like

A strategic corporate training model typically has four phases. As you move through the ranks of your company, you’ll encounter them. They are:

  1. Onboarding. Onboarding gets employees up to speed on processes, procedures, and policies. In a good program, you’ll find yourself onboarded when you’re first hired, when you’re promoted, and when you’re brought onto a new team.
  2. Training. The company may have unique processes or procedures. You’ll need to develop the skills to perform them. This may also include mandatory training such as those established in compliance regulations for your industry.
  3. Development. Once you’ve gained competency in your position, you can begin with career or personal development training. Developmental training often focuses on soft skills like communication, problem-solving, or negotiation. Attaining these skills help you function much more effectively.
  4. Education. A good corporate training program also includes opportunities to attain an education that’s not related to your current job or role, but which help you attain career objectives down the line. You may pursue these opportunities to help tip you toward that promotion.

Although these are arranged linearly, you might find yourself moving through all four stages multiple times. They’re designed to complement one another and holistically improve your career. 

For example, in the story above, you may have gone through these steps when you were first hired. However, you went through at least the first two steps again when you were promoted. As you settle into your new role, you may also consider additional courses that help you develop professionally, or which provide you with the education you need to move forward again.

Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Corporate Training

Corporate training accelerates your career growth by giving you the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goals. However, like with any continuing education, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. We recommend that you:

  • Make corporate training programs a priority when you job search. Research whether the company you’re interested in working for has a corporate training program. If the job listing doesn’t mention it then someone on Glassdoor, Reddit, or Quora might have the scoop.
  • Identify your time and learning needs. Determine whether you need flexibility, certain time allowances, or for the material to be presented in a certain way. That will help you identify a program that works for you.  
  • Create a plan and a schedule. Make training and development a priority by putting it into your schedule. That will help you commit.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out third-party corporate training on your own. If your company doesn’t offer corporate training, look into organizations or institutions that provide it. Likewise, check with your company to see if they’ll offer tuition reimbursement.

4 Types of Corporate Training Programs

Many types of corporate training programs exist, and the company you work for might have many. They generally fall into four distinct categories:

1. Mandatory Learning

Mandatory learning involves legally required training that employees must receive. Sometimes, this happens regularly. Other times, it only has to happen once. Some examples of required training include:

  • Safety-related training, such as under OSHA or the FAA
  • Affirmative defense training
  • Ethics training, such as under the Federal Acquisitions Regulations
  • Privacy and security training under HIPAA

2. Leadership and Management

If you’re advancing to a management role, prepare to hit the books! According to LinkedIn, managers spend 30 percent more time learning new soft skills than the average person. Corporate training for leadership and management is often offered to individuals preparing to move into management positions for the first time, or into higher-level leadership positions. You’ll gain expertise in things like:

3. Department or Role-Specific Training

A company that’s committed to helping you develop professionally will offer corporate training directly related to your department or specific. That’s crucial when you transition to a new role or team, as it will help you get off on the right foot immediately. Department or role-specific training will include:

  • An overview of necessary processes, policies, and procedures
  • Resources for developing a deeper understanding of your role

4. Executive Readiness

Companies seeking to build, train, and grow their executive team often invest in executive readiness training programs. If attaining an executive position is among your career objectives, it’s well worth your time to consider these. Executive readiness training often takes the form of an EMBA program. These programs are like an MBA but focus more on the exact skills you’ll need as an executive in a corporation. A good EMBA:

  • Is accredited
  • Offers focuses and specialties
  • Has enough electives that you can broaden your skillset
  • Still teaches you the core business skills you need

What Is Corporate eLearning?

Corporate eLearning is the use of eLearning tools and solutions for corporate training. In other words, it’s digital and online learning for your professional development … much like online classes in college.

It’s also what you’re most likely to encounter when you sign up for your company’s corporate training program. Over the past 16 years, corporate eLearning has grown by an astounding 900 percent. From 2017 alone, the number of companies using eLearning jumped from 77 to 98 percent.

This tremendous growth is largely because there are many benefits of eLearning for corporate training for both companies and employees. With corporate eLearning, you’ll enjoy:

  • Greater schedule flexibility. You’ll access training and materials on your own time, in the comfort of your own home.
  • A differentiated learning experience. It’s easier to receive a customized learning experience that helps you close the specific skills gaps you have.
  • Self-paced learning. You’ll maximize knowledge retention by studying at your own pace.
  • The ability to learn on your own device. Rather than learning a new system or device, you’ll stay focused on learning the material you need to advance on familiar grounds.

These benefits can make or break your success, especially if you undertake a challenging endeavor like executive readiness training. (Checking out an EMBA program? Consider the full advantages of an online course over a traditional course.)

How to Get the Most Out of Corporate eLearning Solutions

Whether you’re enrolled in a company-provided program or pursuing corporate training independently, there are a few things that you can do to help you get the most out of your program. DO:

  • Look into customization options. Whether that includes signing up for electives or configuring a course interface to facilitate your learning style, make the eLearning experience one that works for you.
  • Set yourself up for success with the right hardware. Make sure your experience is a profitable one by having the right technology to support your learning.
  • Treat your eLearning and training as part of your job. Online learning can sometimes fall “out of sight and out of mind.” Keep it visible by putting it on your calendar and carving out a specified time for it.

Companies With Excellent Training & Development Programs

According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies with comprehensive corporate training and development programs generate 218 percent higher revenue and 24 percent higher profit margins.

And companies have taken notice. Here are three excellent examples of corporate training and development programs (plus what’s unique about them) to help you get a sense of what these programs include.

  • Etsy School. Etsy’s Learning and Development team helps employees develop professionally using evidence-based approaches and innovative formats. It’s unique in that development pathways for each employee stem directly from performance reviews.
  • Data University. Created by AirBnB, Data University strives to make the workforce more data literate. This unique approach allows employees to take courses, gain the “credentials” they need to move forward, and even includes Intensive units on specific skills.
  • Yelp’s Learning Culture. Rather than creating a separate university or training hub, Yelp adopts the attitude that “every day can be a school day” and has many initiatives for integrated learning. Both hard skills and soft skills are emphasized, as well as overall employee satisfaction to keep everyone engaged.

Key Takeaways to Build the Best Corporate Training for Your Executive Team

With the majority of companies offering some sort of corporate training, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to grow the hard and soft skills that can accelerate your career. We’ve covered how corporate training can help you develop professionally, as well as provided plenty of tips to help you make the most of whatever corporate training program you choose. You’re now ready to go forth, expand your skills, and seize the new opportunities corporate training creates. 

Happy advancing!

10 Tips To Make the Most of Your Virtual Meetings

This year, many of us started working remotely and are spending far more time in virtual meetings, meet-ups, happy hours, webinars, and social gatherings. Since March, the Quantic Engagement Team, responsible for planning and hosting events for students and alumni, has held over 300 virtual events, averaging around 50 per month. Suffice it to say, they know a few things about making sure a conversation runs smoothly!

To help you better command your virtual conference room, the team has compiled their top ten tips to ensure that everything from your lighting to your muting etiquette go according to plan. 

Arrive on Time

While it’s always ideal to be on time, it can be especially important in virtual meetings. The presenter may set some expectations for meeting etiquette within the first few minutes. Presenters also typically choose to save questions until a particular section or the end of the presentation. Write down your questions so that you don’t forget them.

Limit Distractions

Now that more of us are logging on from home, the amount of distractions has increased. Make sure to find a quiet place to log in to a meeting to ensure that you’re able to stay focused and limit background noise that could interrupt the call. Also, turn off notifications on your device and if you’re used to multitasking, try to resist responding to emails until after the meeting.

Choose a Neutral Background

Don’t distract your viewers with a busy background. Try finding a solid background or one without clutter. You want listeners and viewers to focus on what you’re saying, rather than the books on the shelf behind you.

Consider Your Lighting

If you’re planning to have your video turned on during a meeting, make sure that you are well-lit so that other attendees can easily see you. Find a space facing a window and make sure that the source of light is facing you, rather than coming from the side or behind you. Zoom also recently added a feature that helps you improve your lighting.

Test Your Device with the Meeting Platform

Before logging in to a meeting, make sure to take time to familiarize yourself with the features of the meeting room. Depending on the platform and device, you will want to know how to activate your microphone and video, mute yourself, and share your screen before joining the scheduled meeting. If you’re concerned about your internet connection, check out Zoom’s system requirements and consider running a test on your internet connection.

Add a Display Name

When possible, reset your display name on the account you’re using to join a video call. Otherwise, you may show up as the name of the device (e.g. Samsung 45XT3) rather than your actual name. This makes it difficult for the host or others on the call to identify you.

Use a Profile Picture

If you’re using Zoom or other video conferencing apps, it’s nice to have a profile picture in case you’re not able to share your video. This way other attendees can put a face to the name. It helps to give the meeting a little more personalization.

Mute Yourself

In a large meeting, having multiple mics turned on can sometimes be distracting. Make sure that you’re muted when you’re not speaking. This way it won’t pick up any background noise and you can unmute yourself to ask questions or present your part.

Respect Others on the Call

Reading social cues can be difficult in a virtual setting, but it’s no less important. To prevent interrupting others, keep an eye out for those who unmute their microphones. This is often a sign that they’re about to speak. If you do end up speaking over someone, that’s ok, just make sure to allow them a chance to continue.

Utilize the Chat Tool

If another person is speaking or presenting and you want to make a quick comment or share some information, it may be best to quickly post your idea in the chat box. Note that on Zoom and Google Hangouts you also have the option to send a private note to a specific participant.

During the pandemic, expanding and staying in touch with your network is still as important and essential for our work and well-being. Always remember that we have the tools to create and maintain meaningful connections. As we all become more comfortable connecting virtually, this can even be an excellent time to expand your global network from home.

Five Questions for Free the PhD Founder, Vay Cao

Quantic Alum, Vay Cao, PhD, founded Free the PhD, a career development and advocacy platform for PhDs who want to learn more about the world outside of academia and kickstart an exciting career. You can check out their programs, talk to their advisors, and access their resources year-round.  Vay spoke with us about the initial inspiration and future goals for the program.

What inspired you to create Free the PhD? 

More PhD graduates are produced than there are traditional full-time faculty positions. This is a trend that has been happening for decades. The simultaneous shrinking of the academic faculty pool, especially in current times, has exacerbated an already stressful professional reality for many academics. Many who complete a PhD degree are not sure what they can do professionally afterwards. I was in this camp: not interested in continuing in academia, but not sure what else I could do.  After I made my own career transition, I was inspired to create Free the PhD because I didn’t want that experience to go to waste. 

How did you launch the platform?

It started off as a typical resume-editing service, but has evolved over the years into a platform where academics can do the important work of learning to shift their mindsets from that of only an academic, to a versatile professional. Free the PhD today is a supportive digital community. It’s a set of empathetic, practical online courses to assist academics in the career transition that’s right for them. There is personalized career guidance, provided by fellow PhDs. We teach PhDs how to free themselves from their own mental limitations and become independent job seekers, including guiding them on how to edit their own job applications and do their own interview preparation.

How would you like to see it expand in the future? 

The pool of PhD talent has so much to offer all sectors of society. I would love to continue reaching more PhDs interested in exploring and pursuing diverse career paths. Alongside our own career coaching, we have been doing workshops with different institutions and are piloting a joint career course with a UC university, which I hope might expand into other institutions that would like to work together to serve their trainees.

Why did you want to pursue your MBA? 

When I first began working outside of academia, I had no prior formal “work experience.” Joining a start-up out of grad school meant I was learning as I went every single day, trying new things and loving the experience. I realized I really wanted a comprehensive understanding of business, rather than this patchwork of information to make me a more effective and efficient professional. I enjoyed being in the business world, and wanted to ensure I was empowered to both deliver results and accelerate my career. 

What did you like about Quantic’s pedagogy method?

What I wanted from an MBA was to get the needed information in a streamlined, time-efficient, affordable, curated manner, all from a trusted source. Knowing that the people behind Quantic are proven in online education, and checking out the freely available Business Foundations courses on their app, helped convince me that this was exactly what I needed! Now that the Quantic MBA is officially accredited, I am even more convinced that I made the right decision in choosing Quantic.  

I have leveraged a lot of the business knowledge and frameworks from my Quantic MBA experience, both in my day job and constantly improving Free the PhD. Knowing that I have the fundamental knowledge needed to go out and make an impact in the world has provided me with the confidence that every professional and entrepreneur needs to succeed! 

Finance vs. Accounting: Key Differences to Help Choose Your Next Field With Confidence

We have addressed some of the biggest and most common concerns that many people have when trying to compare accounting and finance. From varying skill sets, different salary expectations, and more, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of both career paths. 

This is the ultimate guide to study before you make a commitment either way. You should have a thorough understanding of each career choice before you choose a path. This just could be one of the biggest decisions of your life. 

So why not let us take you through both disciplines and help you choose between them? 

Finance vs. Accounting by Definition

They may seem identical but the definitions of accounting and finance are quite different. Let’s take a look. 

Accounting: Accounting is the practice of measuring, preparing, analyzing, and interpreting financial statements. This information helps measure the performance of a business and its financial position. 

The data is also important for the payment of taxes. Accountants use balance sheets, cash flow statements, and ledgers to track daily operations. They focus mainly on the past performance of businesses and individuals. 

Specializations in accounting include:

  • Financial accounting: This is the use of balance sheets, income, and cash flow statements to provide information. This data is used by stakeholders such as investors, tax authorities, and creditors. 
  • Managerial accounting: Managerial accountants use the same information as financial accountants. Internal staff then use the information to make decisions about business operations. 
  • Cost accounting: This involves studying balance sheets and income and cash flow statements to find ways of minimizing the cost of production. 

Finance: Finance deals with investments and the management of assets. A financier will focus on decisions about working capital for businesses and individuals. 

They deal with inventory, credit levels, cash holdings, and financial strategy. Finance will usually focus on the future performance of a business or individual. 

Finance can be divided into three sub-categories:

  • Personal Finance: This includes long-term financial planning for individuals. Some of these include retirement and the purchase of financial products such as mortgages. 
  • Corporate Finance: This involves the financial activities of the running of a business. These activities can include investment strategy and budgeting. 
  • Government Finance: Public finance examines tax and government policies. The information studied will affect how resources are allocated. 

By looking at the different definitions, and a summary of the skill sets, you can see which career path best suits you. You can align your skills, financial needs, ability to travel, and career aspirations with the correct job. 

Finance vs. Accounting Salary

Salaries in both professions will depend on the experience of the individual as well as the industry for which they work. 

Entry-level accountants earn an average of $40,777 and the topmost level accountants can make up to $83,800

In New York, some accountants can earn more than $60.000. The region with the lowest accounting salary is in North Carolina with an average of $44,281

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide average for an accountant’s salary is $71,550. 

The truth is – depending on the type of career you choose, these numbers can have a wide range. 

BLS states that accountants in insurance and finance firms earn the highest salary at $74,690. 

It’s important to note that auditing clerks earn the least and with negative job prospects, it’s a career that’s on the decline. 

Technological improvements have automated some of the roles, hence the decline in open opportunities. This could also affect the accounting industry to a lesser degree. 

People who have specialized in finance can earn a lot of money as they move up the ladder. 

Median Annual Salary (USD)Number of Jobs in ’18Job Outlook ’08 – ’28Employment Change ’18 – ’28
Auditing Clerks$41,2301,707,700-4%-65,800
Accountant$71,5501,424,0006%90,700
Financial Analysts$85,660329,5006%20,300
Personal Financial Advisors$87,850271,7007%19,100
Financial Managers$129,890653,60016%104,700

Similarly, there are different levels of financiers, all earning varying salaries. 

If compensation is a big factor when considering a profession, becoming a financial manager is your best option. Actuaries are some of the highest-paid financial workers, earning from $150,000-$250,000. 

The Different Finance vs. Accounting Job Roles

Accountants need to be extremely precise as they often deal with large amounts of money. Even the slightest error can result in a business or client losing money. The role requires attention to detail and a high level of organization. 

Accountants often work alone so this role is perfect for introverts who will mainly create written reports for senior management. 

Financiers on the other hand need excellent communication skills and must be able to interact extensively with senior executives. The job requires presentation and interpersonal skills as they present reports to an audience. 

This is ideal for extroverts who are confident and able to handle high-pressure situations. 

Your interests, education, and skill sets may influence how you view the different roles required by accountants and financiers. Take a look at our list of job roles below. 

Financial Officer Job Roles:

  • Analyze and interpret financial reports to advise managerial teams 
  • Raise capital through debt or equity
  • Create and put in place a corporate strategy
  • Budgeting and forecasting (monthly, quarterly, annually)
  • Handle mergers and acquisitions
  • Risk management
  • Evaluate and advise on investments 
  • Implement cost-reducing solutions

Accountant Job Roles:

  • Collect, organize, and track financial information 
  • Prepare financial reports that meet government and stakeholder requirements
  • Prepare financial reports for internal use by staff
  • Conduct audits to ensure legality and adherence to policies
  • Prepare tax returns and report income to the IRS
  • Advise clients and firms on how to minimize tax liability

Accounting vs. Finance Personality Types

Not everyone can be an accountant or a financier. There are personality traits that will make some people more apt to perform well in each career. 

We’ve taken a look at one of the most popular personality tests used by organizations across the world. It helps employers decide if a potential employee is fit for the role. This sort of personality testing can help you determine which profession you are more likely to enjoy or excel in. 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator shows how people use their perceptions and judgment. The MBTI instrument measures preferences, not ability or character. 

Used by Fortune 500 firms the MBTI personality test is helpful before placing an individual in any specialized role. 

The personality type ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) is, well-suited for accounting positions. These people are systematic, analytical, and have a high work ethic. 

Known as ‘The Inspector’, they are traditionally serious and loyal. Leaning towards facts, they perform accounting jobs efficiently. Accuracy is key when they have to look through many documents and information. 

Financiers are shown to be INTP personality types. This stands for introversion, intuition, thinking, and perceiving. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the different personality traits which accountants have vs. financiers. 

Accountant:

  • Detail-oriented 
  • Risk manager 
  • Procedure-oriented 
  • Able to use rule-based thinking 
  • Accountable 
  • Accurate 

Financier:

  • Attentive to detail 
  • Can conceptualize scenarios 
  • Analytical 
  • Inquisitive 
  • Business development skills 
  • Problem-solving skills 

Before diving in, why not take the MBTI test to better understand your personality. Free versions are also available online although they are not the original test. 

You can also check at your school’s career center or your work’s HR department if they offer the test. 

The results may surprise you and they will be key in avoiding a career incompatible with your personality. It will show you your strengths and weaknesses and guide you into a job that suits you specifically. 

Financial Analyst vs. Accountant

After taking the test, you should have some direction as to which job you would like to pursue. Though similar, these two professionals perform very different jobs

Let’s take a brief look at the major differences in daily duties and work environments. 

Financial analysts have a broader job description and their roles are less fixed. They deal with the management of assets and liabilities. This enables them to make future predictions and advise management. They develop investment strategies and are in charge of how to make use of company resources. 

Some financial analysts’ duties include: 

  • Analyzing stock fluctuations. 
  • Creating simulations to forecast the outcomes of financial transactions. 
  • Reviewing spending and revenue projections. 
  • Liaising with management teams to offer advice on financial decisions. 

Accountants have a more structured role and are heavily involved in taxes. They deal with the day-to-day flow of money in and out of a business. 

Some duties performed by accountants include:

  • Organizing company accounts. 
  • Reviewing records to reduce spending and increase profits. 
  • Developing and managing working budgets. 
  • Preparing taxation procedures. 

Generally, both types of employees work 40-50 hours per week. Accountants have a busy February to April tax season where they may work up to 70 hours a week, depending on the number of clients they work with. 

The work environment also differs as financial analysts often have their own offices. Many accountants, especially at entry-level, work in cubicles, although many high-level accountants will likely have the luxury of their own office. 

Can I Combine Finance and Accounting?

The careers are somewhat related, and some employees may perform some of the same tasks. 

The topmost position of either of these professions is that of Chief Financial Officer. It is essentially a combination of finance and accounting in one position. 

With the right experience and educational background, you could have the opportunity to manage a business’s finance or accounts departments. 

CFOs are tasked with the financial planning of a business. They also need to oversee the organization’s cash flow. 

To get to this leadership position, you will need to understand both job roles. You will need to supervise employees and perform tasks required in each profession. CFOs need a combination of skills including:

  • Leadership skills 
  • Management skills 
  • Accounting skills 
  • Data skills 
  • Strategy skills 

Besides a Bachelor’s degree, to reach this management position, often you will need a Master’s Degree. An Executive MBA is a good option if you already have some work experience. 

The Difference Between Finance and Accounting Degrees

Both jobs need a basic Bachelor’s degree but further education courses differ. For financiers, it is advisable to be a member of the CFA Institute. Accountants, however, are usually required to complete a CPA certification. 

See the details below:

So which degree is best? Everything is relative and will depend on your strengths. 

Generally, accounting majors at the undergraduate level are not easy. Students say finance on the same level is much easier. 

If you are starting your undergraduate level, it may be advisable to take a joint degree. It will provide you with general knowledge of both professions and help you choose the best path. 

Accounting does not increase in difficulty at higher levels. But finance does, gradually. 

Benefits of Studying Accounting

Accountants are necessary for all businesses and the profession is currently growing. According to the BLS, accountancy is expected to grow up to 10% between 2016 – 2026. 

Having the right information can help you choose which industry you want to work in. This is a way for you to begin to define a clear career path. 

Usually, after graduation, you may start as an entry-level associate with high growth and earning potential. 

Additional certifications will help you advance your career and get a job almost anywhere in the country. 

Another option is to start your own business. If you have an entrepreneurial streak, you can become your own boss after a few years of work experience. 

If you enjoy systematically working with rules accounting is the course you should study. 

Benefits of Studying Finance

Finance offers a wider range of study options compared to accounting. You will cover a variety of specializations used in the business world. You will also be exposed to areas such as economics and banking. 

By studying finance, you will gain the necessary analytical skills to interpret data. 

The knowledge will also be useful in your personal life. You will learn how to make smart investments and handle your finances effectively. 

The career opportunities for graduates are immense and the earning potential is higher than many other careers. You will also learn how to make extra wealth and not just rely on your salary. 

The Best of Both Worlds?

Advice online seems to lean towards studying both degrees. 

Source: quora.com

So now, what is the best way to advance your career? An MBA or EMBA degree is common for both accountants and financiers. It will give you the extra edge over and above your basic degree. 

For this with some years of experience, an Executive MBA will allow mid-career professionals to work and study at the same time. 

If you do not have extensive experience, a free online MBA is your best option. By choosing students from the world’s top universities, Quantic School of Business and Technology gives you a chance to network with fellow students either face to face or online. 

What is a Chief Strategy Officer? Outlook, Education, Career Path 🚀

So, you want to become a chief strategy officer? You’ll be among an up-and-coming group of professionals representing a shift in the way corporations are thinking about business strategy. This broad, dynamic, and well-paid position will have you handling some of the highest-level tasks in the company.

As the business world gets faster and more complex thanks to technology, many CEOs don’t have time to stay on top of it all. Yet, strategy is more important than ever. As the CSO, you’ll oversee the company’s strategic initiatives. You’ll enjoy a lot power and responsibility, so we’ve created the ultimate guide on how to become a competent, qualified CSO. 

You’ll discover things like:

  • What responsibilities you can expect
  • The education and skills you’ll need
  • How the CSO differs from other C-suite roles

By the time you’re through, you’ll have a solid understanding of this unique role and will know exactly what to expect as you embark on the path to becoming one. Let’s dive in!

What is a Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)?

The CSO, or chief strategist, is the executive who oversees the development, communication of, and execution of a corporation’s strategic initiatives. In other words, you’ll work with your CEO to create an overall corporate strategy that produces long-term, sustainable success for your company. 

Corporate strategy used to be the primary responsibility of the CEO. However, most CEOs already have their hands full with being ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the business. Likewise, the business landscape has become more complex with the rise of new organizational structures, increased regulations, and rapid globalization. These have put a strain on companies’ ability to innovate and made strategy even more important. Yet, CEOs have less time to devote to it than ever before.

As a CSO, your job will be to support the CEO’s creation of an overall corporate strategy. Let’s look a little more closely at what that looks like.

What Does a Chief Strategist Do? Key Responsibilities

What does a CSO look like in action? It’s this: 

It’s Monday, and you’re sitting in a meeting with the CEO plus other executives discussing a new line of products the CEO wants to launch. Your CEO believes that this will help position the company to tap into a new market. However, as you’re reviewing the plans, you notice something: your CEO doesn’t seem to be aware of a competitor who tried this exact strategy just a few months ago. It failed miserably. You speak up and throw out a few alternative ideas for your CEO to consider.

That’s just one snapshot of what a chief strategist does, but it encompasses many of the key responsibilities of a CSO. Those include:

  • Providing insights and advice on the CEO’s strategy
  • Identifying market conditions and determining their impact on strategy
  • Overseeing the execution of any strategic plans
  • Driving decision-making that leads to sustainable growth
  • Facilitating the development of key strategic initiatives
  • Supporting inclusive planning processes and communication between teams, other executives, and stakeholders
  • Tackling various high-impact initiatives that may change the course of the company

Who Reports to a Chief Strategy Officer?

According to Deloitte, a CSO may be described as: “responsible for nothing and accountable for everything.” In other words, unlike a CFO or a CTO, you won’t necessarily have a defined domain within the organization. Rather, if an initiative surfaces that will impact the company’s position in the future, you’ll have a role in it.

That means you’ll need to get ready to form relationships with the leadership of the organization. On any given project, you may find yourself working with:

  • Your fellow executives
  • Directors and other high-level management
  • Department heads
  • Project managers

Who Does the Chief Strategy Officer Report To?

According to a 2020 survey by Deloitte, 69 percent of CSOs report directly to the CEO. However, you may report to the COO as well. That’s more likely to occur if your CEO spends a significant amount of time as the public face of the company. In that case, you’ll work with the COO to develop and execute initiatives and corporate strategy.

Chief Strategy Officer Career Outlook

Chief strategists used to be an odd role that many CEOs didn’t understand because they handled company strategy themselves. In 2020, that perception is changing. At least 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies now have a CSO heading their strategic planning.

Consider Young Sohn, the CSO of Samsung. He’s helped the electronics giant redefine what he refers to as its operating rhythms to better embrace the future of a hyper-digital world.

Deloitte’s survey notes that the CSO role has existed for less than five years in 39 percent of the organizations that responded. That just shows how many companies are embracing this role. If you’re aiming to someday become a chief strategist, now is the perfect time to start preparing to be a competent and effective strategist. As Steven Goldbach – the CSO of Deloitte – notes, you’ll one day play a role in helping a company make challenging, pragmatic strategy choices. 

Chief Strategy Officer Salary Statistics

Ready to make bank? Chief strategy officers are well paid. According to PayScale, the average salary for a CSO in 2020 was $185,539 per year. The top 10 percent of CSOs earn as much as $297,000 per year. 

Two things influence your compensation: your experience and your specific skills. Let’s look at both.

What Sort of Experience Do Most CSOs Have?

According to PayScale, most CSOs come into the role once they are “experienced” or “late” in their career. That translates to ten to 20 years of professional experience. Deloitte agrees, noting that 66 percent of CSOs have over 15 years of professional experience, while some 44 percent have been at it for over 20 years.

What sort of professional experience? Expect your competition to have plenty of demonstrated expertise in things like:

  • People and project management
  • Business administration
  • Marketing
  • Finance

You’ll need similar expertise to become a chief strategy officer. We’ll talk about that next.

What Skills Can Increase Your Salary?

CSOs with a good sense of corporate governance and leadership are in greatest demand. In 2020, PayScale noted that these skills could increase a candidate’s compensation:

Chief Strategy Officer Skills & Qualifications

As the chief strategist, you’ll be involved with many different parts of the company to ensure that initiatives stay on track. As a result, it’s more important to develop a well-rounded foundation of skills for operating at a very high level than it is to develop specific technical expertise. We recommend that you focus on:

  • Leadership skills. You’ll spend a lot of time leading project management, supervising other strategists, and working with your executive colleagues to guide the organization. Make sure you’ve got your leadership fundamentals down. 
  • Strategy. Business strategy is a sought-after skill in chief strategists. We recommend that you learn blue ocean strategy to create the best visions and guide your organization. 
  • Management. If you aren’t already adept at managing teams and people, make sure you get up to speed as quickly as possible. 
  • Data. Business intelligence is a data-driven skill, and companies want their chief strategists to be able to do it. Learn the foundations of data analysis like one-variable statistics so you can make thoughtful, informed, data-driven decisions.

What Degrees Do I Need to Be a Chief Strategy Officer?

You will need an advanced degree to secure this role. While your bachelor’s degree can range from business to law or even the liberal arts, the top executives of most large corporations have an MBA. 

If you’re still choosing your bachelor’s degree, we recommend aiming for a business degree. That will help you start developing the foundation that you need to become a chief strategy officer.

The Best MBA for a CSO 

MBAs are increasingly common among the ranks of top executives, and that includes chief strategists. An MBA will provide you with the deep business skills and abilities that you’ll need to guide an organization effectively. However, people who have their sights set on an executive role specifically may want to consider pursuing an executive MBA, or EMBA, instead.

An EMBA differs from an MBA in that the courses and electives you take are more geared toward corporate strategy and governance. You’ll still learn all the business fundamentals that you need, but you’ll also gain additional skills for the board room. 

Many EMBA programs, like the one at Quantic, also let you specialize in areas including advanced corporate strategy or data analysis. That can give you a competitive edge in a world where MBAs are becoming the norm and help tip you for the role.

Another consideration for choosing an MBA program involves whether an online or traditional MBA is right for you. Each has its advantages:

  • An online MBA lets you keep working while earning the credentials you need on a schedule that works for you.
  • A traditional MBA provides structure and focus and is still well regarded in the business world.

Either way you go, make sure your choice offers a career network to help you develop your professional connections.

The Chief Strategy Officer Resume

Ever wonder what a chief strategy officer’s resume looks like? They’re intense. Typically, they:

  • Are action-oriented. Expect to see lots of bullet points with responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Put experience first, skills second. They’ll be able to demonstrate what they’ve done, but also talk about what else they can do.
  • Only list the most advanced degrees attained. Unless they’ve also got an MBA, you’ll typically only see the most advanced degree listed. Take note of this if you’ve got a bachelor’s degree that isn’t in the business field.
  • Only list related skills and experience. Got a lot of irrelevant stuff and odd jobs on your resume? Time to clean it up and show that you’re ready to be a CSO.

Here are two great examples of what yours might look like one day:

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VelvetJobs.

The CSO vs. COO

You might have noticed that the CSO sounds a little bit like the COO. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why some CEOs question the need for one in the first place. However, the two roles are different for two main reasons:

  • The CSO is consultative while the COO is executive. As a CSO, you’ll be asked for advice more frequently than the COO. In contrast, the COO will more frequently take charge of implementing and executing operations.
  • The CSO is future-oriented while the COO is present-oriented. The COO focuses on day-to-day operations, but you’ll be primarily concerned with where the company is going in the long run.

Being a Chief Strategy Officer for a Startup vs. Corporation

The chief strategist is much more common in large corporations, where the CEO may not have the time to manage the company strategy as much as they might. This position can take 10 to 15 years to attain and typically involves working your way up the ranks within the same company. (According to Harvard Business Review, 85 percent of CSOs are hired internally.)

Chief strategy officers less frequently appear in startups as the CEO typically takes on the role. However, a CSO can play a critical role in a startup if the CEO isn’t confident at taking the strategic lead. Often, you’ll see the role labeled “Chief Growth Officer (CGO)” to reflect the startup’s growth as a strategic priority. 

If you want to become a chief strategist/CGO of a startup, begin developing your career network as early as possible to make the right connections as you pursue your MBA. Look to connect with someone who’s got a vision that interests you, but who needs a strategist at their back to execute it.

Summary: Next Steps to Become a Chief Strategy Officer

The chief strategy officer is a vital but misunderstood role – we’ve hopefully cleared things up a little bit. Unlike other C-suite roles, the CSO is unique in that it doesn’t have a “domain” like finance, technology, or marketing. That can make it a difficult role to understand. The CSO is best understood as a position that supports the CEO. Simply put, if it involves the direction that the company is headed, you can count on being called for your advice. 

We’ve covered everything you need to know to prepare for such a dynamic and broad role in a corporation. From the skills you need to insights on the best MBA to pursue, you’re now equipped to strategize your next move to become a chief strategy officer. Still got questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll be happy to share some insights.

MBA for Software Engineers – Do You Need One to Climb the Career Ladder?

You’ve been a software engineer for years, and you feel it’s now time to take a step forward. But you’re wondering: What comes next? Where do I go from here? 

What catches your attention is that other software engineers are going for an MBA. As a result, they’re getting promotions and enjoying fatter paychecks. But is this the road you want to take? How will earning an MBA increase your chances of climbing the software engineer career ladder?

If this is you, we understand. We know it can be difficult to decide on the next step in your career. That’s why we’ve put together this guide specifically for you. In it we cover:

  • The career ladder of a software engineer (from bottom to top)
  • How an MBA can help you climb that ladder 
  • The different types of MBAs, and how to choose one to match your needs

When you finish reading this, you’ll know exactly where you want to go next in your career and whether or not an MBA will help you get there. Let’s dive in! 

Understanding the Software Engineer Career Path

To know where you want to go on the software engineer career path, you first need to decide what your biggest priority is. Is it to gain a bigger salary? Or is it to keep doing what you love, but on a larger scale?

Think of it like this. The higher you move up on the career ladder, the less you’ll be getting your hands dirty doing the work of actual programming. Some are happy with a lifetime of writing code and fixing bugs. Others want to go into managing complex software systems, and others want to manage teams. 

To make a good decision on where you want to go, it’s important to go into detail on the typical software engineer’s career path.

The Software Engineer Career Ladder

You start as a software engineer, but it’s not uncommon for you to move to the top with a C-suite job. 

Here’s what the career ladder of a software engineer looks like. We’ll start with the first rung on the ladder, junior software engineer, and go all the way to the highest rung, CTO. In between, you’ll see the different steps in the ladder and how each one requires its own set of more complex skills and responsibilities. 

Junior Software Engineer

Junior software engineers are mainly responsible for building quality software. This includes writing code, fixing small bugs, and working closely with senior developers on pair programming. 

The junior software engineer role is an entry-level position. The skills required are what you already have: knowledge of programming languages, operating systems, and databases. As you gain experience, you’ll start handling larger projects and working more independently. 

Senior Software Engineer 

Senior software engineers still write code, but this time with an eye on the bigger picture of a project. They’re in charge of designing and developing software solutions, plus coaching other developers. This is an excellent position for those who love programming but don’t like the idea of leading a team. 

The skills needed for this position are basic software architecture, advanced code design, and coaching. 

Lead Developer 

Lead developers still write code while coordinating work and implementing decisions. Other programmers usually look to them for direction. This position is seen as a transition into a mid-level management role. 

Technical Architect 

Technical architects rarely write code. Their main responsibilities lie in designing complex systems that other developers create. Going for the technical architect position is the biggest leap you can make as a software engineer without going into leadership and management roles. 

Development Team Lead or Software Development Manager 

Mid-level managers are in charge of overseeing either projects or teams. Depending on their leadership skills, their job can include:

  • Managing complex projects
  • Coordinating between higher management and development teams
  • Hiring and firing developers 

Besides the technical skills required for this position, mid-level managers need excellent people skills. 

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) 

Chief Technology Officer (or CTO) is the highest-ranking position in the IT business. The role of a CTO is to oversee all of the company’s technological needs. CTOs have executive powers they can use to make decisions and investments for the advancement of the company. 

The Career Path for a Software Engineer After Earning an MBA

How far up you want to go on the software engineer career ladder is up to you. Some professionals stay at the senior engineer level their whole lives (and love it!) while others progress to CTO. It all depends on what you love doing most, whether that’s writing code, managing projects, or handling relationships between people. 

If your dream is to get into leadership and management roles, getting an MBA makes sense. Here’s why. 

MBA for IT Professionals: Why It Makes Sense 

Of course, strong technical skills are a must if you want to climb the software engineer career ladder. However, they aren’t enough to get you to the position of CTO. This is because companies today are looking to hire executive officers who have both excellent technical skills plus strong business acumen.

Think of yourself in the position of hiring a new CTO for your company. The first applicant has strong technical IT skills and years of experience as a software engineer. The second one has all these, plus the ability to see the bigger picture and understand how technical decisions will impact the company’s finances and business outlook. Who do you think you will hire? 

If you already have years of experience developing software and the next logical step for you is to go into C-level management, an MBA can help you acquire the skills to fit into this position. 

Is an MBA for Information Technology Worth It?

Earning an MBA can cost upwards of $200,000. If you stop working while pursuing your studies, this amount can rise up to $400,000. 

To determine if an MBA is worth the cost, you first need to ask yourself some important questions.

  • What do you plan to do with your MBA?
  • Where do you see yourself five years after completing your MBA?
  • How long will it take you to achieve significant ROI from your MBA?

Why Do Software Engineers Pursue an MBA?

Here are six reasons software engineers pursue an MBA despite the heavy cost. 

  • Respect from business-side teams
  • Promotion to management roles 
  • Salary increase (up to $44,000 per year) 
  • Better chances of being hired as CTO in a new company
  • Greater confidence working in managerial positions 
  • Career satisfaction from being able to climb the corporate ladder

MBA Software Engineer Salary Statistics

In general, professionals with an MBA earn more than those without one. In the U.S., MBA holders earn an average of $102,100. That’s higher than the national average of $74,378

But it gets even better for IT professionals with an MBA. According to U.S. News, technology is one of the top three fields that pay the highest salaries for MBA holders. 

According to PayScale, a software engineer with an MBA earns an average of $119,438. That’s $44,906 larger than the average salary of software engineers, which is $74,532.

An MBA for Software Engineers

Understanding the different types of MBAs is essential for mapping out your career direction. Here are three to consider. 

  • Campus-Based MBA. Requires you to stop working and focus on earning your MBA on campus. Best for new graduates who have the time and financial stability to support themselves in school.
  • Online MBA. Allows students to continue working while they earn their MBA.
  • EMBA. Designed for professionals with many years of experience, the executive MBA is for people who want to advance their careers and move into senior leadership positions in their companies.

The Best MBA for Software Engineers

Use this as a guide to select the MBA that’s right for you. 

Executive MBA for IT Professionals 

If you are an IT professional looking to climb the career ladder into senior leadership, the best program for you would be an executive MBA. 

An EMBA is different from an MBA mainly because of its focus. While MBAs are designed for new graduates, EMBAs are for professionals with years’ worth of experience looking to showcase their business credibility and advance their careers. 

The qualifications for EMBA are also different from those of a regular MBA. While qualifying for a regular MBA requires top-notch academic scores, getting into an EMBA program requires a look into professional working experience and skills. 

MBA Career Network for Tech Professionals

Since 80% of positions are filled through networking, it’s an excellent idea to look into programs that offer exposure to other top-notch professionals. Knowing great people will not only widen your chances of professional growth, but also challenge you to grow and sharpen your skills. 

What’s great about joining a career network is that you can connect with thousands of the brightest minds around the world. You get access to current students, alumni, plus the chance to get discovered and hired by excellent tech companies.  

MBA Course Curriculum for Software Engineers

Before selecting an MBA program, it’s essential to look into the curriculum to see if it includes these four aspects.

  • Business. To lead in a C-suite position, it’s important to understand the core concepts of business, finance, and marketing.
  • Strategy. In a management position, you’ll be in charge of top-level strategy so it’s important to find an MBA that covers this.
  • Decision Making. IT professionals should be able to understand how to make critical business decisions based on data.
  • Leadership. Since leading a team will be one of your duties, acquiring communication and interpersonal skills is a must. 

MBA for Software Engineer Discussions on Reddit

Going through other professionals’ different experiences and opinions will help you weigh out the pros and cons of getting an MBA and make your decision. One great way to do it is to read Reddit threads on the topic

Believe it or not, Reddit is an open community and discussion forum that’s influential among higher education students. Here you can ask, find specific questions from other software engineers, and get answers and suggestions from those who are in the same field and have earned their MBA. 

Summary: Should You Get an MBA? 

Getting an MBA is not for everyone. To determine whether it’s right for you, you first need to consider your priorities and where you want to go on the software engineering path.

If writing code is what you want to do all your life and you have no interest in managing a team, getting an MBA might not be the best fit for your needs. However, if you have your sights set on mid-level management or even CTO, earning one will give you the knowledge and credentials to get there. 

60 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers for 2020

As a business analyst (BA) prospect, you will face stiff competition from others who have all the same skills and qualifications. The only difference will be your ability to convince Human Resource (HR) managers why you are better.

On the opposite end of the interview desk, HR managers face their own struggles. They need to align potential employees with organizational goals and overall vision. Human capital holds the potential to make or break any business so making the right decision is crucial. 

The decision to move an interviewee along the line depends on your ability to judge their skills based on a few minutes of conversation.

We have just the solution for both interviewees and interviewers. Take a look at our comprehensive list of business analyst interview questions and answers.

Business Analyst Interview Preparation

Before even setting foot in the interview room, you will need to make the cut with an exemplary BA CV. Analysts have very specific job descriptions and these need to be reflected.

You could spend hours sending out your CV, and never receive any response. What is the solution? Joining a career network is probably your best option. This will give you the opportunity to apply to exclusive positions.

Combined with professional qualifications, you can propel your career to the next level. This will save you precious time and give you access to the ideal employer.

For HR managers, sourcing these CVs is the 1st step in finding qualified candidates. The best, (and easiest) place is through an outstanding Talent Acquisition Network.

Talent acquisition has a more strategic approach compared to recruitment. So where do you find such talent, and how do you ensure they are of the caliber you require?

Smartly’s employer platform is one of the ways for HR teams to gain access to an exclusive platform of qualified individuals. You’re guaranteed the highest quality candidates from a pool of students and graduates.

An interview does not begin when you walk through the door. Rather, you need to be as prepared as you would be for a test.

Here are a few tips to become adept at passing any interview:

Do your research:

Before walking into an interview, you must know who is interviewing you. You need to know the company you are looking to work for. This will let you tailor your answers to their specific requirements.

Know your future job:

Thorough knowledge of your future job is an easy way to highlight your specific capabilities in line with the job requirements.

Re-learn your skills:

Invest some time in refreshing your memory on the key skills involved in a BA position. Make sure you can do what you say in your CV.

Study interview questions:

A job interview is similar to a test in which you do not know the questions. Lucky for you, you have the chance to study as many interview questions as possible.

Prepare your own questions:

Interviewers usually ask you if you have any questions of your own at the end of the interview. Ask a few questions regarding the opening, the job duties, and what is expected of you. Ask questions about the future plans of the company and their vision for BAs in the organization. The aim is to leave a lasting impression before you leave the room.

Junior vs. Senior Level Business Analyst Interview Questions

As a BA, your level of education, as well as experience, determines how far up the ladder you can go. Most analysts require a basic business or tech educational background. Success in an interview will then depend on additional skills.

A great way to accelerate your career is to complete an MBA or EMBA degree and give yourself an extra leg up.

Junior analysts generally have less experience and may have recently graduated. One option to accelerate your career as a junior analyst is an MBA program. The traditional MBA program usually requires 2 years of full-time study. It equips you with the business skills to grow in your career.

But how about an MBA that takes only 10 months? You may think this would be a sub-standard program and you would be wrong. The Quantic MBA is a fast-paced, personalized program, taught online, giving you the advantage of earning while you work. With an MBA in your pocket, you will be better prepared to answer these junior analyst interview questions.

Junior Level Analyst Interview Questions

1. How do you propose to compensate for your lack of experience?

This question is key for junior analysts as it is an opportunity to show that you can use your education as a basis to learn new tasks. Explain what experience you do have. The point is to show that you are capable of assimilating new information.

2. How do you think you would fit this position as a junior analyst?

Your research into the company will come in handy when answering this question. Look at the company philosophy and working methods. Be ready to explain how you would adapt to perform in the new role.

3. How do you deal with giving difficult feedback, especially in a junior role?

This is a test of your communication skills. Show that you can be tactful and thoughtful when giving negative feedback. It shows you are capable of working in a team, or in a future managerial position.

4. Can you name two diagrams used by a business analyst?

You will need to remember what you have learned when answering these types of questions. Be sure to mention and elaborate on:

  • Case diagrams
  • Collaboration diagrams

5. What steps are required before converting an idea into a product?

Explain the different types such as SWOT, gap, market, and competitor analyses.

6. Can you name the initial steps in project development?

This is another question that will test your theoretical capabilities. If possible, give examples of these steps in action.

Initial steps include:

  • Market analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • Personas
  • Competitor analysis
  • Identifying the strategic vision

7. What are the key phases of business development?

There are four key phases, namely: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

8. What are the exceptions?

These are unexpected errors that occur when you run an application.

Senior Level Analyst Interview Questions

Senior analysts generally have more experience and a higher level of education. If you are looking to move up from junior to senior analyst, an EMBA may be the best move for your career.

You probably have an impressive resume with relevant experience. Adding an EMBA allows you to move into a more senior role.

Here are some questions to expect during your interview:

9. Can you explain the key roles and responsibilities of a business analyst?

You may not be able to list all the ‘textbook’ capabilities, so tailor these to your experience. Some may include:

  • Creating detailed analyses
  • Defining business requirements
  • Communicating with stakeholders
  • Planning and monitoring projects
  • Managing teams

10. What is a flow chart and how do you use it?

A flowchart shows the flow of systems using diagrams and signs. Mention how you have used one to make systems understandable for stakeholders.

11. What tools do you typically use as a business analyst?

Refer to common tools such as Rational tools, Microsoft Office, and ERP systems. Demonstrate working knowledge of how you have used them in the past.

12. What is project management in BA and how have you used it in your experience?

Define project management as the process used to attain desired goals as a BA. Explain how you have used it to identify glitches and the goals you have achieved. These could be solutions such as better functionality, lower costs, etc.

13. Tell me about a suggestion you have made that has benefited an organization you’ve worked for?

Take this as an opportunity to show what you are capable of. Prepare an example that was accepted and had a positive impact. Try to relate it to the position you are applying for.

14. What measures do you take to increase your team’s productivity?

As a senior analyst, you will be expected to be a proficient leader. This question gives you the chance to show that you are able to motivate a team. Answer with a ‘team-mindset’ in mind. Explain how you would use managerial skills to help team members achieve organizational goals. Include practical examples such as mentoring or having an ‘open-door’ policy.

“Tell Me About Yourself” Business Analyst Questions

These are usually open-ended questions that give you the opportunity to explain yourself and your passion for the job. Some of the personal questions include:

15. Why do you want to work as a business analyst?

You can explain the story of how you started your journey into business analytics. Give details as to why you are interested in pursuing a career in the field. Tell the interviewer what inspires you to do your day-to-day job.

16. What do you hope to achieve as an analyst?

Employers will ask this to determine if the job fits into your career aspirations. Explain your future goals in line with the position you are applying for. You can touch on ambitions such as attaining a leadership position.

17. What would you say are your strengths as a BA?

Personalize your answer to this question. Be sure to show you understand the skills necessary to succeed in the job role. Discuss both soft and hard skills. Prepare three strengths using the below formula:

  • Awards: Name prizes you have won.
  • Accolades: Mention special honors you have achieved due to your strengths.
  • Anecdotes: Tell a story that demonstrates how you used your strengths.
  • Acknowledgments: Name special recognitions you have received.

18. What would you say are your weaknesses as an analyst?

Do not try to downplay this question. Answering honestly and taking responsibility shows you are aware of the areas you should work on.

Technical Business Analyst Interview Questions

A technical business analyst focuses on using software and hardware to provide analysis that can be used to improve business systems. With that in mind, interview questions will focus both on business and technical skills. Take a look at some questions that are specific to technical BAs:

19. Can you describe your SQL skills?

As a technical business analyst, SQL is key in performing any job function. The HR team will be looking for someone with practical skills such as data manipulation, navigation, and the ability to write queries. If the interviewer is part of a technical team, you can wow them with technical lingo. This will help them understand the scope of your skills.

20. Can you describe the types of SQL statements?

This is another technical question that tests your educational background. You will probably face this in an interview with a manager in the business analytics team. Do not be afraid to explain in-depth your knowledge of SQL. Expand on the types, namely:

  • SQL definition
  • SQL manipulation
  • SQL control

21. What is your experience with technical and functional documents?

All BA’s should be able to explain what solutions various systems provide. As a technical analyst, you will be required to discuss how the system will work. Tell the interviewer you would be able to create documents such as Stakeholder Analysis and Scope Statement.

22. How do you convey complex, technical information to non-technical stakeholders?

The way you answer will showcase your communication skills. Show that you can be relatable, able to create simple mockups, and answer questions in an understandable manner.

23. What are the components of UML as you understand them?

There is no set answer to this question as concepts can be derived from many sources. Be sure to mention components for UML:

  • Structure – actor, attribute, interface, object, etc
  • Behaviour – event, message, operation, state, etc
  • Relationships – association, composition, inheritance, etc

24. Can you describe your experience with UAT?

User Acceptance Testing is the final part of any analyst’s project. Go through these 5 steps and explain how you executed each one.

25. What is PaaS?

PaaS is a cloud computing platform that allows developers to build apps over the Internet. The services are accessible by users via their web browsers.

26. What is SaaS?

Software as a Service is used a third-party to host applications and give access via the Internet.

27. What is IaaS?

This is a form of cloud computing that provides virtual computing resources through the Internet.

28. What is CaaS?

Communications as a Service is a cloud-based solution that is leased from a single vendor over the Internet.

IT Analyst Interview Questions

29. How would you describe the role of an IT analyst in an organization?

This question is aimed at gauging your understanding of the position. Mention the fact that an IT analyst is key in the daily functioning of the organization. They ensure the smooth running of infrastructure and applications.

30. What are your technical certifications?

Have a list ready of your relevant certifications. If you are looking to continue studying, be sure to include these as well.

31. How do you ensure quality in deliverables?

To answer this, refer back to the client requirements that you would have gathered prior to providing a solution. Making sure the client is satisfied is key to measuring the quality of deliverables.

32. After researching a business tool, you come across two possible solutions. One is cloud-based, the other, premises-based. Which one would you recommend and why?

Guide the interviewer through your thought process when deciding on the best option. There is no concrete answer so explore both options. Give examples of when each could apply.

33. Provide examples of how you used data analysis to support your decision-making process.

The interviewer is looking to see if you understand the role of data analysis in decision making. Explain its importance in identifying problems and estimating the impact of possible solutions.

34. Which data visualization tools do you have experience with?

Your answer will show your ability to communicate with non-technical team members and clients. Have experience with at least one visualization technique.

Behavioral Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

Behavioral interview questions work on the premise that past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. 

To answer these types of questions, use the S.T.A.R. technique to structure your response.

Plan ahead for such questions with ready examples and remember to keep the tone positive.

Analysts may face the below behavioral interview questions:

35. How do you handle difficult stakeholders?

How you deal with difficult stakeholders will show how successful you are in completing projects. Show that you can be objective, control your emotions as well as reach an amicable resolution.

36. Can you tell me of a mistake you made? How did you handle it?

The key to this answer is honesty. No one can do their job perfectly so do not try to cover up your errors. The interviewer wants to see that you took responsibility and corrected the error.

37. Have you ever had to pitch an idea to a senior employee? How did you handle it?

The interviewer is looking at your communication skills as well as independent thinking. Outline the steps you took to prepare and the results of your pitch. If you have never had such an opportunity, explain how you would handle a pitch if given the chance.

38. Have you experienced conflict with a peer at work? How did you deal with it?

Using the S.T.A.R method, explain how the conflict arose and how you resolved it. Emphasize on communication skills and your conflict resolution strategy. Demonstrate the ability to understand other people and reach an agreeable solution.

39. Tell me of a time when you had to deal with a lot of stress or work under pressure.

This will reflect your ability to deal with pressure in the future. Provide tactics you use, such as adequate preparation, relaxation techniques, and your change of mindset when under pressure.

40. What is the biggest goal you have achieved as an analyst? How did you achieve it?

Prepare by having your proudest goal in mind. The key is to focus on the steps you took to achieve that goal.

41. Tell me of when you had to learn a new skill. How did you master it and how has it helped you in your career?

Using the S.T.A.R method, describe the type of training you underwent in relation to BA and the quantitative results. You want to show that you are open to learning and are capable of putting theory into action.

42. Tell me of a time when you did not achieve a goal.

Respond by showing that you are capable of handling failure. The interviewer wants to see that you learned from the experience, and can do things differently if faced with a similar situation.

Functional Analyst Interview Questions

Functional questions will focus on what an individual can do. They allow the hiring manager to evaluate your skills, education, and have a glimpse at your desired career path.

Some questions include:

43. What is your experience as a business analyst?

There is almost a 100% chance you will have to answer this question. Be prepared to break down your experience, and summarise it all concisely.

44. Why should we hire you?

By understanding the job description, you can link your specific skills and experience with what the company wants. If your skills are not up to par, emphasize passion and commitment.

45. What are your current job responsibilities?

This is to see if your duties match the job requirements and those on your CV. Expand on the points in your resume and give a clear picture of what you currently do.

46 What is your educational background?

This is one of the simpler questions. Give relevant information on your education and how it could be applied to your career as a BA.

47. What does your typical day look like?

There is no ‘typical day’. This is aimed to see how you plan and how efficiently you organize your time.

48. What is most satisfying about your job?

Your answer will reveal what you believe in as an employee. Speak of an element of the job that applies to the job you are interviewing for.

49. What is the most challenging part of your job?

Breakdown your job and decide which challenges you face, but focus on the ones that can be solved. Choose a skill area that won’t affect your core tasks but can be improved.

50. Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years time?

HR will want to know if you plan on being with them in the long-run. Even if you do not have a concrete plan, show a sense of ambition and a desire to grow.

Analytical Interview Questions

Analytical questions are aimed at assessing your critical thinking. It is a chance to showcase your problem-solving skills and use of data to analyze processes in the organization.

51. How does analytical reporting provide value? Does it have any shortcomings?

Prove you understand the importance of analytical reporting. Do not, however, make it the ‘end -all’ of all decisions. Be sure to include the fact that other factors may not be well represented in data, yet they will influence the decision.

52. In your professional opinion, what does requirement analysis entail?

Requirement analysis needs you to analyze, document, validate, and manage software. Use this definition and the ‘SMART’ technique to show how you have used it in your previous experience.

53. Can you describe the requirements analysis process?

The process involves 4 steps, namely:

  • Eliciting requirements
  • Analyzing requirements
  • Modeling requirements
  • Reviewing requirements

54. What is the most important aspect of analysis reporting?

Explain the impact that analytical reporting has had in your previous roles. Show how you have used tools to provide value. This is a chance to show analytical and critical thinking skills.

55. Have you ever encountered conflicting data during analysis? How did you deal with it?

Show your problem-solving skills. Describe your process (e.g.: how you found the source of the problem and escalated the issue).

56. Can you describe the difference between design models and analysis models?

This theoretical question will test your working knowledge. Design involves raw data collection, planning, and creation. The analysis is the execution, fixing, and reporting of the model.

Marketing Performance Analyst Interview Questions

A marketing performance analyst provides solutions based on insights around marketing performance. They investigate marketing trends that can influence organizational tactics and strategies.

Some questions you may encounter during a marketing analyst interview include:

57. How would you build a predictive model? Can you describe it and the process you would go through?

You will need to demonstrate your ability to forecast future trends and probabilities from historical data. Use your past experiences to give an example of where you used a logical thought process to create a model.

58. What is the most surprising finding you have come across? How did it affect your work?

As a marketing analyst, you should be able to put preconceived notions aside when interpreting data. Showing your ability to be unbiased and open to new ideas could be the difference between you and the next candidate.

59. What type of CRM and analysis software have you worked with?

Be ready with an explanation of the different software programs you have used and how they have helped you as a BA.

60. What recommendations have you used that have increased sales?

Use work experience to show your ability to use data to add value. If you have no prior experience, give a scenario that you would implement in your future job.

Taking the Next Step

Start preparing to ace your next interview and land your perfect job with these questions. By ensuring you have the credentials required and a healthy amount of confidence, you will be well-equipped to level-up your career.

Why not follow Patrick’s example…

How to Become a CMO: A Complete Guide to Attaining the Chief Marketing Officer Role

Wondering how to win the top position in the marketing world? Imagine waking up every day to a fast-paced, prestigious job that leverages everything you ever learned about marketing (and pays to reflect that!)

Becoming a Chief Marketing Officer takes planning and dedication to your profession. But this dynamic, high-powered role is completely within reach for master marketers with the right experience and business expertise. We’ll show you how.

We’ll examine what a CMO does and why your professional experience matters so much. You’ll also get clear advice on what education to pursue, and insights on the types of MBAs available for you. You’ll discover common pitfalls to avoid, plus inspiration and wisdom from CMOs at some of the top companies.

By the end, you’ll know exactly where you stand and what steps to take as you advance to the boardroom. 

You bring the passion for marketing – we’ll provide the answers to all your questions about becoming a CMO in this handy guide. Ready? Let’s go!

A Day in the Life of a Chief Marketing Officer

Imagine this: it’s Monday morning, and you’re perusing your email over the rim of your coffee. You’ve got emails from the:

  • Head of Sales: a product’s performance
  • Marketing Department: an interesting brand mention on Facebook
  • CEO: some ideas about expanding into a new market

It’s only Monday morning, and you’ve already got your hands full with product performance reviews, social media response management, market research, strategizing, a meeting with the CEO – that’s only a small part of what a CMO does. 

Oh, and that meeting with the CEO? You can even expect to throw in a meeting or three with the COO and CFO to discuss some of those strategies later this week. They’ll impact the company’s budget and operations, so other board members will need to be kept in the loop.

Career Outlook: Your Experience and Education Matter

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the field of marketing managers broadly is experiencing a growth rate of 8 percent per year. That’s 50 percent faster than related management positions, such as those in sales-related fields (growing at 5 percent per year). 

CMOs play an especially direct role in maximizing a company’s revenue, and you can expect to be well-paid as a result. In 2020, PayScale estimated that CMOs make $174,192 annually on average. LinkedIn agrees, noting that the median annual earnings for the CMO hover around $180,000

However, that compensation is heavily dependent on how long you’ve been a CMO overall. PayScale notes that CMOs with only one year of experience in the role may earn as little as $99,000 per year, while those with over 20 years of experience will earn $197,000 per year.

Speaking of Experience…

According to PayScale, some 49 percent of CMOs have identified themselves as “late-career” individuals possessing more than 20 years of experience as a CMO. Another 35 percent identified themselves as “experienced,” with at least 10 years of experience in the role before seeking their current position. 

In other words, it’s a role that people tend to stay in for a very long time. That can make it difficult for you to break into a position unless you’re experienced and educated. In other words, unless you can demonstrate the same years of experience, or you’ve got an advanced degree to make up for it.

LinkedIn also notes that education plays a large role in what you can expect to earn. CMOs with a bachelor’s degree can expect their earnings to peak at $175,000 per year. In contrast, an MBA may allow you to earn as much as $225,000 per year – and 55 percent of LinkedIn’s survey respondents hold one.

Skills and Competencies: 5 Things You’ll Need to Know How to Do

Working with many different departments and handling such a wide variety of marketing-related responsibilities means you’ll need a combination of technical expertise and soft skills. CMOs are generally expected to master:

1. The fundamentals of marketing and digital marketing. From social media campaigns to effective marketing at events, you’ll need to know almost everything related to marketing in the physical world and marketing online. 

2. Pricing strategy. Pricing strategy gets overlooked a lot, but it’s an underrated skill that can set you apart in the world of marketers. You should know how to tie pricing to value. That’s what helps your marketing strategies maximize profits.

3. Business and corporate strategy. Marketing directly impacts revenue and business growth. Therefore, you will need to understand how your efforts connect with and support broader business and corporate strategies

4. Data analytics for marketing. Much of marketing is data-driven these days, with metrics letting us know exactly how a campaign is performing. That makes it critical to understand things like one-variable statistics and A/B testing.

5. Leadership. You’ll lead teams and manage people almost every day. To do so effectively, you’ll need to understand organizational behavior.

CMO Education Requirements

If you want to become a CMO, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. LinkedIn, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale all agree that a four-year degree is the minimum you’ll need to achieve due to the number of technical skills you’ll have to develop. The most common degrees are business-related, but LinkedIn also notes some interesting alternative majors:

  • International business
  • Economics
  • Marketing, marketing management
  • Psychology

Indeed also adds to the list:

  • Journalism
  • Communications
  • Public relations

Going Further: Certifications, Master’s, and MBAs

Since your competition will have a bachelor’s degree, it might have occurred to you to seek out an advanced degree to set yourself apart. That would be a great idea, especially if your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in business. 

When you’re looking into going further, you’ve got three options:

  • Certifications. Organizations like the American Marketing Association offer certifications for marketers and marketing managers. You may also want to consider industry-specific certifications to deepen your insight. Alone, these will only be enough with your bachelor’s degree if you’ve already got significant professional experience.
  • Master’s degree. It may be tempting to pursue a master’s degree in marketing or a similar field. If you choose this route, round out your studies with plenty of elective courses in business-related topics.
  • MBA. Most job sites, including LinkedIn and Indeed, indicate that an MBA is the most popular option for advanced degrees. You’ll want to look for an MBA that offers a marketing specialization, or an executive MBA that specifically prepares you for life in the boardroom.

The CMO Career Path: What to Expect

Get ready to double down on achieving professional experience. The CMO is unique among board positions in that your ability as a marketer matters more than your industry experience. Compare that to a role like the CTO, where industry-specific technical experience matters almost as much as your business acumen. 

Many CMOs, like Kate Jhaveri of the NBA, have a resume that runs the gamut of digital marketing positions across numerous industries. Others, like David Edelman of Aetna, have worked in a variety of sales, consulting, digital marketing, and business strategy roles. 

Of course, if you’ve found an industry that you like, then you’re welcome to remain in it. The CMO of Warner Media Entertainment, Chris Spadaccini, has worked in marketing for the entertainment industry for over 15 years.

(By the way, all three professionals have MBAs.)

Can a CMO Become a CEO?

Yes.

However, it’s not easy. According to Diego Scotti, the CMO of Verizon, it can be difficult for CMOs to progress to CEO. That’s because the position emphasizes expertise in marketing rather than the bigger picture mentality embraced by other C-level positions. In other words, the best CMOs are ultra-competent marketers who might not have the business-mindedness to fulfill the CEO’s role.

If you’re viewing the CMO role as a stepping stone to CEO, take note. It’s one more reason to consider an MBA as it can help broaden your business expertise.

How to Become a CMO

On the road to becoming a CMO, it’s your professional experience in marketing that will set you apart and tip you toward the position. That’s why most CMOs identify themselves as “experienced” or “late-career” professionals.  

As you scope out your next steps toward becoming a CMO, here’s what we recommend you do:

1. Earn a degree that lands you a marketing job. You’ve got a little bit of freedom here, but if you’re still deciding on your degree, opt for something either business or marketing related. Otherwise, get yourself into a marketing position as quickly as possible. After you’ve completed your degree, expect to spend between one and three years here.

2. Gain job experience. For the next five to nine years, it’s not necessary to stay at the same company, but you can. Build your resume by taking successively higher-level marketing jobs to help you gain deeper insights into the field and demonstrate your growing experience.

3. Earn an advanced degree. We recommend choosing an MBA with a marketing specialization as it will amplify your effectiveness in your career while giving you the business skills you’ll need at the executive level. You can go for it at any point after you’ve completed your undergrad. Keep in mind that most CMOs have between ten and twenty years of experience before seeking the role.

4. Grow your professional network. Like other C-level positions, your ability to become a CMO will hinge on who you know. This may take a year or longer, but doing this while in an MBA program with a strong professional network can accelerate this process.

5. Look for CMO roles that match your experience and interests. You may already have an industry in which you’re interested and settled in, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Keep your eye out for positions that interest you and match your background. This process can take over a year, but it can also happen quickly if you’ve got a strong network.

Choosing an MBA Program to Become a CMO

An MBA is an invaluable asset if you’re gunning for the top role in the marketing world. However, not all MBAs are created equal. You’ve got options to consider … three main ones, actually:

  • Traditional MBA. Well-regarded and rigorous, a traditional MBA program at a major school can put you in touch with high-caliber contacts in your field. It might also require you to stop working and can get expensive.
  • Online MBA. Online MBAs are ideal for people who want the flexibility to take courses while they work, or who don’t want to relocate to attend a specific school. Many don’t offer career networks, which can hinder your ability to connect with other business professionals. Others, like Quantic’s program, do. That’s something to consider when investigating this route. (Here are some more thoughts on traditional versus online MBAs.)
  • Executive MBA. A specialized type of MBA, it’s geared toward professionals with considerable experience who are taking steps toward the boardroom. Consider this route if you’ve got your targets locked on becoming a CMO, as it’ll prepare you for the challenges of serving on a board. We’ve covered the differences between an EMBA and MBA right here.

Summary: How to Become a CMO

There you have it – how to become a CMO! The CMO is an interesting position in the boardroom because of its emphasis on marketing expertise – according to Diego Scotti, sometimes at the expense of being able to focus on the bigger picture. Hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas on how to avoid that pitfall. 

We’ve looked at the hard and soft skills you’ll need, the types of career paths that are common when becoming a CMO, and what you should consider when pursuing an MBA. By rounding out your professional experience with solid business credentials and education, you can attain that wider focus and become a more effective corporate professional all around.

Want to discover more about why our online MBA works? 

Read the Case Study Now

How to Become a CEO 🚀 Your Path to Chief Executive Officer

Dreaming of becoming a CEO? You can turn that dream into a reality with some sweat, smarts, and a whole lot of dedication to the climb. No matter what industry or company, you’re going to overcome many challenges while you position yourself to take a shot at the top.

We built this guide to help make the process clearer. No matter where you are in your career right now, you can start planning to become a CEO one day. We’ll cover:

  • What a CEO really is (and what it isn’t!) 
  • What skills and competencies you’ll need
  • The degrees you should strongly consider in preparation
  • The different paths you can take to become a CEO

We’ll break it down so that you know exactly what you need to do right now to take that next step forward. Ready? Let’s get started.

A Deep Dive into the CEO Role

As the CEO of a company, you’re the highest-ranking individual in the organization. You’re the final authority on any and all decisions made by other executives. The buck stops right there in front of you. And if you’re cut out for the mega responsibility associated with that, the thought of it should thrill you. 

Of course, it’s just as important to define what a CEO is not. There’s a tendency these days for entrepreneurs to call themselves the CEO of their startup. We’re not talking about that. Real CEOs are:

  • The point of communication between board members
  • The public face of a company
  • Elected by shareholders
  • Maybe the founder, but maybe not

In other words, you’re a real CEO when the company is bigger than your title and when you’ve got major responsibilities and a corporation to run.

Just What Are Those Responsibilities?

The CEO is often a visionary leader who guides the overall direction of a company. Your exact role and responsibilities will vary according to your company size. In large companies, expect to:

  • Draft high-level corporate strategies that your board implements
  • Manage overall resources and operations by authorizing the decisions of other executives
  • Set the tone and culture of the organization itself
  • Represent the company at civic and professional engagements
  • Research and make final decisions on company acquisitions
  • Evaluate the company’s overall trajectory and achievement of stated goals
  • Meet with other executives like the CFO and CTO for advice

In a smaller company, you might find yourself engaged in lower-level, hands-on responsibilities. This may include day-to-day functions similar to those handled by the COO

What Does a CEO Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CEOs earn $193,850 per year on average … or about $93.20 hourly. Of course, major companies can easily go well over that. Some of the highest-paid CEOs rake in over $100 million per year.

What you earn as a CEO depends on your ability to run a company and your experience. PayScale notes that skills like business strategy can increase your salary by another 10 percent, which you can gain through earning an MBA. After attaining those skills, most CEOs attain the average income level at around 20 years of experience. If you’re still early in your career (such as in the first ten years), PayScale puts the average income much lower at $132,000 annually.

The Three Different Types of CEOs

Three main types of CEOs exist, and they reflect the main paths that you can take to the position. Here’s an overview of them: 

  • Founder CEO. These are the people who founded their company. Founder CEOs can be extremely influential in a company’s trajectory. Research suggests that they tend to outperform non-founder CEOs because they consider the company to be one of their lifetime achievements.
  • Non-Founder CEO. A Non-founder CEO is elected or hired to become the CEO of a company. This can have several advantages, especially if the founder has other enterprises, or lacks the skills needed to truly be a CEO.
  • Successor CEO. Individuals who become CEO through succession are known as successor CEOs. According to Harvard, this normally happens when a CEO who is also serving as board Chairman steps away from the former role. However, successor CEOs may also be groomed and elected by a board of directors.

The Profile of a CEO: Skills, Education, Personality

The CEO position is unique among other executive roles because of the public role that you’ll take. You’ll be the public face in most cases. Should you become the CEO of a massive company like Facebook or Amazon, it’s possible you could become famous. If landing such a high-visibility position is a goal for you, consider whether you need to develop your abilities in areas like public speaking, and whether you have the right personality for it. We’ll cover both here.

Critical Skills & Competencies

To competently drive your company in the desired direction, you’ll need to know how to do a lot. The skills and competencies you require will broadly fall into six categories:

  • Strategic management. You’ll need to know how to manage departments, processes, and people to guide your company to success. A strong grasp of organizational behavior is a must.
  • Business and corporate strategy. Knowledge of corporate-level strategy is imperative to understanding how your company functions and what it needs to succeed. 
  • Industry-specific technical skills. You’ll need industry-specific technical expertise. This is particularly important in the tech sphere, where your company will look to you to guide it through uncharted waters.
  • Financial skills. Competence in financial matters is critical for understanding the effects of your actions, and also what actions to take.
  • Ethics. As the primary decision maker in the company, expect to grapple with difficult decisions. Having a solid foundation in business ethics will make the right path clearer. 
  • People skills. Much of your role will be a public one. From negotiating to public relations, be prepared to polish those people skills until they shine.

Education Statistics

Unless you’re the founder of a startup, you need a degree. Likely, you need an advanced one. 

CEOs are well-educated. According to one survey by Study E.U., 97 percent of all CEOs worldwide hold a bachelor’s degree. Some 64 percent of all CEOs hold a master’s degree, while 10 percent hold a doctorate degree. 

There are also trends regarding what degrees future CEOs pick. According to a 2018 survey by LinkedIn of over 12,000 CEOs, some 35 percent of CEOs held a bachelor’s degree in computer science. The next most popular degree choices were:

  • Economics
  • Business
  • Banking and finance
  • Accounting

CEO Personality Traits

From Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, CEOs often catch the public eye with their personalities. 

We aren’t saying you need to emulate any eccentric behavior. However, be aware of the research surrounding CEO personality and company success. For example, according to the Harvard Business Review, the most successful CEOs are: 

Introverted and Conscientious 

Companies headed by introverted CEOs or highly conscientious experience increased returns when the company makes riskier decisions.

Not Afraid of Failure 

All successful CEOs have made significant material mistakes, with 45 percent making mistakes that resulted in significant career setbacks.

Quick to Act 

High-performing CEOs are 12 times more likely to describe themselves as “decisive.”

Adaptable 

CEOs who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to succeed in a venture.

Visionary

CEOs also spend 50 percent of their time planning for the long-term, compared to other executives who spend about 30 percent of their time.

Want to Become a CEO? You’ll Need an MBA

Although the Harvard Business Review found that as many as 8 percent of CEOs don’t have bachelor’s degrees at all, you’ll need one if you aren’t a founder CEO. Some 50 percent of all CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have MBAs. 

Choosing an MBA program involves a lot of considerations. Fortunately, we’ve got a few thoughts to help you with that.

Best MBA Programs for a Future CEO

When it comes to MBA programs, you’ve got three main routes:

  • A traditional MBA from an accredited university
  • An online MBA from an accredited university
  • An executive MBA (EMBA) that’s either online or traditional

Online and traditional MBAs both have their advantages. People choose traditional MBAs when they need structure and have the time to devote to the program. They turn to online MBAs if they prefer the flexibility to continue working. (We’ve covered both in-depth right here.)

Given the nature of the CEO’s role, however, we strongly recommend that you consider an EMBA. These programs are geared specifically to professionals seeking to enter the boardroom. They emphasize core skills like:

  • Corporate governance. As a CEO, you’ll need to understand how rules, processes, and practices are used to manage a company.
  • Supply chain and operations. You should understand how supply chains impact business costs and profits to make smart decisions.
  • Advanced business strategy. This will allow you to make better decisions that affect the future of the company.
  • U.S. business law for corporations. Corporations may be subjected to special laws and regulations – you’ll need to understand them.

An EMBA is especially valuable if you’ve already got a background in business, or you’ve got a highly technical background with deep industry expertise. With so much hinging on your ability to lead an organization and make business decisions, this specialized MBA is uniquely equipped to position you for success. (Here’s a closer comparison of the two types of MBAs.)

The Career Path of a CEO

There’s no single path to becoming the CEO of a company. Historically, many CEOs were successor CEOs, usually the COO or another executive. However, in 2019, the Wall Street Journal noted that externally hired CEOs had become more common than those chosen from an internal pool. That means you’ve got more chances than ever at landing the role without spending 20 years at the same company.

We’ll look at both the internal and external paths now:

Internal Selection: Working Your Way Up

If you want to be tipped for the role someday, prepare for the grind. It’s not uncommon for CEOs to start at an entry-level role and work their way to the upper echelons of the company. That’s what Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, did. He started loading trucks as a teenager and became CEO 25 years later. Likewise, Chris Rondeau, the CEO of Planet Fitness, started as a front desk receptionist in 1993 before becoming CEO in 2013.

Working your way up has many advantages. You can:

  • Gain deep familiarity with the company
  • Make connections with internal mentors and champions who can help your advancement
  • Start working before you’ve gotten your degree or MBA (and often keep working while you earn them)
  • Establish a strong reputation and track record with the company

External Selection: Career Networks

Getting hired as a CEO is not easy, but entirely possible. To pull it off, you’ll need a proven track record in the position or within your industry. Generally, you can expect to hold one or more executive positions before striving for CEO – often at different companies. 

Consider Satya Nadella’s resume. Before becoming the CEO of Microsoft, he sat on boards for the University of Chicago, Starbucks, and Fred Hutch. Robert Buchsbaum, the CEO of Blick Art Materials, worked in roles ranging from financial advisory to non-profits for youths.

If you choose this route, it will take you between ten and twenty years. Keep these things in mind:

CEO Homework! 5 Books You Should Read

To round things off, we want to leave you with five of our favorite books that you should read on the road to becoming a CEO:

1. Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed. It’s a close look at the relationship between talent and effort – and why we should praise the latter, not the former.

2. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. Do you have a job or a career? There are two sides to organizations: management and labor. This book explores where you fall and how you can land where you want to be.

3. Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. Why do some companies make it, but many others don’t? That’s what this book explores. It can help you change your attitude toward business.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the best self-help books of all time, it can help you improve your people skills at work and in life.

5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. A story of a CEO facing a leadership crisis, it provides thoughtful points for building a cohesive, effective team.

Summary: How to Become a Great CEO

Becoming a CEO isn’t quite like attaining other executive positions in the boardroom. You’ll need a rock-solid foundation in business, plus a visionary outlook that can guide your company into the future. That can make determining what to do a little tricky, but we’ve provided our best tips right here. However you choose to do it, make sure that you develop a strong understanding of the business world, cultivate the personality you’ll need, and choose your MBA program wisely.

The road to becoming a CEO requires vision, planning, and a lot of hard work. But whether you pursue the top role internally or externally, it’s entirely within your reach.

Happy advancing!