The Club of 50: Data on State Chief Information Officers

Who are the people leading technology in state government? What career paths do they come from? How long do they stay in position? We gathered data for 206 state CIO terms going back to 1994 to find out.

by / June 3, 2019
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Career Paths

For the majority of state CIOs, the position has been a road from government to the private sector.

That's painting with a broad brush, but in the past couple decades the trends have been pretty clear — for 59 percent of state CIOs, the last position they held before taking on the role was in the public sector. Combined with K-12, private and higher education, the number rises to 68 percent. The government positions they come from are varied; many come from lower positions within the IT department, but others have come from IT leadership roles in other departments, the federal government, from local governments or sometimes from court systems. A few, such as Teri Takai and Alex Pettit, went from one state CIO position to another.

After serving as state CIO, 52 percent go to the private sector — and keep in mind, only 28 percent were in the private sector immediately before becoming CIO. These new jobs, too, are quite diverse. Many go on to work for technology companies, often those that sell to government, but others have taken positions at robotics companies, banks, fast food corporations and miscellaneous others. Some have gone into business for themselves, acting as consultants.

The data only takes into consideration the positions held immediately before and after a person was CIO, so it misses the nuances in careers that come to define many of their perspectives. If a person had a long career in the military, for example, but went to work in the private sector for a couple years before becoming CIO, the data would simply show them as coming from the private sector.

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Ben Miller Associate Editor of GT Data and Business

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.

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