Tech Skills Every CEO Should Have

Tech Skills Every CEO Should Have

What does it take to make a good… no, great CEO? There’s no shortage of advice out there. Some say to work on soft-skills to better connect your team on a deeper level. But, the fact of the matter is that each business, each team, and each CEO is different. While some challenges are universal, the nuances of those challenges can be astronomically different. 

Forbes recently gave some advice that the great CEOs we all know and mostly admire had at least one of two invaluable skills: financial prowess and technical knowledge. It would seem that being wise fiscally is a bit of a given, but we rarely hear advice that encourages CEOs to have technical skills. 

Know the Laws, Everything Else Is a Recommendation

Take Elon Musk, for example. According to employees, he is a challenge to work for. He demands that unless the task is literally against the laws of physics, there is no reason why he should hear that it can’t be done. It is this train of thought that has led to his most notable development as of late, Neuralink, a brain implant that will allow people to control a computer and other devices using only their mind. Not to mention all of his other impressive, well-known projects. 

A screengrab of Elon Musk’s Twitter post
A screengrab of Elon Musk’s Twitter post

Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and so on all share a lack of people skills that is replaced by technical brilliance. Now, it’s not to say that you should forget about learning people skills. In fact, quite the contrary, as having them can help you surpass these Titans of the industry if you’re able to find the right balance. 

But, in this technological age, technical knowledge in a leader is the law. To have underdeveloped technical skills can be the difference between being an okay CEO and a great CEO. So, take Musk’s advice and make sure you know the laws because everything else really is just a recommendation.

Getting the Tech Skills You Need

How can you effectively manage your tech team if you have the bare minimum understanding of what they’re saying? If you have ever thought to yourself during a technical meeting that they seem to be speaking another language but hope that your team leads are catching everything, you could be fooling yourself.

No, it’s not a matter of doing it yourself if you want it done right. Rather, it is understanding the issues on a deeper level to better guide your team. Of course, with the wide range of tech jobs out there, it can be somewhat daunting to try and keep up.

Gaining these skills does not necessarily mean that you need to go back to college to obtain several degrees. Coding bootcamps are growing in popularity thanks in part to their flexible schedules for busy professionals and are much less expensive than degree programs. 

Bootcamps also have the added benefit of being highly focused on one topic to get you the skills you need faster and back to focusing on building your business. Depending on the industry you’re in, you can get the necessary tech skills you need through a data science bootcamp, web design bootcamp, or one of the many other bootcamps that cater to different niches.

Think of your business as a chess game. In order for you to get the checkmate, you need to have an intimate understanding of the significance of each piece, how it moves across the board, and planning your strategy all while anticipating your opponent’s moves. Combining your leadership skills with more technical skills can help you plan your moves better and faster than if you don’t know how each piece correlates to the others. 

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Artur Meyster
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

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