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Ask HN: What does it mean to work in the 'Office of the CTO'?
4 points by coffeeCashew on Feb 3, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
I have been recently running into people that work in the 'Office of the CTO' at their respective companies. They tend to be engineers, sometimes with graduate degrees, that may be doing in research, integration, or advanced development. Is there a broader definition or guideline for understanding someone's role when I encounter this terminology?



If it's an engineer, it's normally touted as a kind of progressive gloat.. Such as "We get free water AND it's organic!", "Our desk chairs are made from recycled plastic bottles!" and "Our company doesn't really have a hierarchy or chain of command, I sit near the CTO!"

Joking aside. It's tough to draw a conclusion from that single statement. I've 'sat in the in the office of the CTO' as a 1st line engineer, and he spent 90% of his mingling with other engineers performing engineer duties (such as technical support or hands on switch installs) and 'sat in the office of the CTO' as a Product Manager where I conducted more 'organisational' duties alongside him.


At the companies I'm familiar with, they're either programmable pundit (technical pre-sales or social marketing) or project manager for trendoid stuff beyond the interest/budget of engineering.

In larger companies, CTOs have become like VPs at a bank - lots of them with little if any strategic influence. The "office" can be so large that a member may never see or even talk to the CTO proper.

I once looked into one of those jobs but decided I'd rather be honest and work in sales or marketing.


I would have assumed that they are secretaries, but I suppose, in this case, they are more likely to be independent researchers who report directly to the CTO in an organization that is hierarchically structured.

Too intelligent or useful to let go, but too independent to toss into the regular worker pool. I would say that they are mid-level management ranking, maybe less depending on the business.


At my first real job I was working for the CTO I basically just developed internal tools. The goal was to improve the workflows. So I guess an engineer working for the CTO work to improve the workflow.




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