In a recent post, former IT boss-turned-recruiter Alan Mumby listed six key attributes that employers are looking for when they hire a new CIO. Interestingly, he says employers are after IT leads that aren't overly interested in IT. They need to focus on the business need instead.

Some readers have responded, saying that they agreed with Mumby in principle. But, they pretty much all maintain that a good knowledge of IT will help IT bosses from being managed by their team or by vendors.

Director of Centro Denise Plumpton said: "I don't believe it's necessary for IT leaders to have a deep background in IT. It's more important to be able to identify the skills and resources needed to build a team that can deliver the IT that supports and advances their company, and have the ability to lead and motivate that team.

"That said, I do think it is vital to understand what's involved in IT. How else will you be able to ask the right questions of your staff and your suppliers to assure yourself that you're getting the best solution, delivered in the most efficient way and for best value?

"Unscrupulous suppliers, and some staff, alike, have historically been cute in assessing the IT Director's level of technical knowledge and experience and would use any weakness or gaps in understanding for their own benefit.

Other IT leaders' views on this issue can be viewed here.

Pic: mize2005 cc2.0

Response Summary

What do you think? Can a CIO get away with a layman's knowledge of IT or do they need to have been a practitioner for a while to do the job effectively?

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