At RecWorks we have recently created a new initiative designed to inspire and develop a diverse new generation of CTOs within London and beyond.
It is called Aspiring CTOs. The group has just over 50 members, here are some of the recurring themes we have seen in the reasons they told us made them sign-up:
1. To understand what the CTO role actually looks like
Our membership told us that they’d like to understand how specifically the CTO role differs from a slightly more junior leadership role. What are the new challenges and stresses that it brings? How do these change across companies or industries — what are the patterns?
2. To build a loose plan to get your first CTO role
Our members want to hear about the journey that CTOs already in position have been on — so that they can clarify paths, steps and actions that others have taken. They want existing CTOs to reflect on the lessons they have learned and what tips or advice they can pass on. What are the shortcuts, what are the pitfalls and what should be the focus in a plan to make it into the role? Some people are also looking specifically for CV and interview advice.
3. To find out what knowledge and skills they lack, and advice on how to fill the gap
Many of our members want to know what skills are absolutely crucial in the CTO role so that they can understand where their weaknesses are and focus on improving. Several are also looking specifically to get advice on directorship and how to transition from the technical team to the leadership team.
4. To understand how they compare and contrast to other members
Several of our members commented that they are looking to connect with a group of like-minded individuals, on the same journey, to understand how they compare. Have they shared similar challenges, do they come from similar backgrounds and have a similar skill set? Do they share motivations?
5. To build a network of like-minded individuals and experts
Many of our members tell us that they are looking to find a network they can learn from. Others say that they want connections that they can discuss problems with. Some have mentioned looking for people that can help them when it comes to sourcing work.
6. To meet a mentor
Several of our members have mentioned hoping to find and be paired with a mentor as a key reason for joining the group.
7. To share knowledge
One of the most commonly recurring things that came up was people looking to share knowledge or their own experiences with others that are in the same boat.
8. Support and self-confidence
A few members mentioned things around looking to feel the support of being part of a community of others on the same journey. I’ve heard from various CTOs, in the past, that it can be immensely reassuring and confidence building to know that you’re not the only one that is struggling with a particular challenge. Even better if you can find people that have solved that challenge and can offer you support.
9. Positive vibrations
This was the response from only one of our members but could be my favourite of all the reasons.
Now you know why you should join, here’s more information about what you can expect from our group.
What is the aspiring CTOs initiative?
It’s a small group of people who are interested in stepping into a CTO role at some point in the next 1–3 years.
What would I be joining? Where do discussions take place?
Essentially you are joining an email group. It is designed to suit those that are keen to move quickly AS WELL AS those that are thinking about their future plans but are not yet in a position to progress.
It is administered through Google groups and we also have a dedicated Slack channel on the Meet a Mentor Slack group.
What is it all about? What happens within the group?
Whilst it’s only a few months old and growing constantly, here are a few of the things we have:
- Q+As — Private Q+As over zoom with experienced CTOs. You’ll be part of a small group and have a chance to submit questions and speak directly to our guests
- Mentoring roundtables — Regular events in which you’ll get a chance to meet a variety of experienced CTOs for events that run almost like a blend of speed dating meets Q+As
- Mentor introductions — A chance to be matched with CTOs that are happy to pair with you directly
- Shared content library — A chance to share content related to becoming a CTO and to see relevant content from other members
- Buddy system — We are introducing a buddy system in which you can be paired with people that have been a member of the group for a while and are happy to talk you through their experience
Who are the members?
Engineering managers, architects, team leads, tech leads, developers and new CTOs. We have circa 60 members at the moment, across a diverse membership base representing different nationalities, race, gender and ethnicity groups. All are welcome to join, we are currently looking at BAME CTO and women CTO mentorship programs.
As with everything we do, we have a strong focus on being friendly, respectful and supportive within the group.
I want to join what do I do next?
Sign up and enter your details here. One thing we would strongly recommend is to connect with a buddy, you can do this by selecting yes when prompted on the sign-up form.
I am intrigued, but I’m not yet ready to apply for roles, can I join and be passive?
Absolutely. If the CTO role is something you aspire to one day but maybe not right now, then you can sign up and passively absorb the information until you are ready to get more involved.
Can I join if I’m not based in London?
Definitely. The bulk of our members are London based because that is where our business, clients, communities and hence most of our network is based. You are, however, welcome to join no matter where in the world you are. We already have members from around the world. Plus, our Q+A’s and lightning talk events are currently held on zoom, so the world is your oyster.
Good luck! Any questions email firstname.lastname@example.org