The Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, sets a company’s technological course, develops long-term technological strategies for its growth and sustainability, and often helps steer its product development. The CTOs on this list are all examples of people who have advanced to leadership positions in technology (albeit not always at technology companies), and includes authors of Drupal, Ruby on Rails, and OAuth, amongst other technologies. Collectively, these pioneers are literally and collectively helping to invent the future.
In the spirit of supplementing your formal education with some inspiration, consider following some or all of these these brilliant thought leaders and innovators on Twitter to better understand how they think about and apply technology today, and how they may do so tomorrow. All of them use the platform actively.
Sauvik Banerjjee is the Vice President of Digital Initiatives at Tata Industries as well as the CTO of TataCLiQ. Banerjjee has a particular interest in deep learning, machine learning, natural language processing and the Internet of Things (IoT). Banerjjee has worked at such companies as SAP, Accenture, and Infosys and holds a PhD in Search Engine Cross Language Translation from the University of Sunderland and a PhD in Search Engine Cross Language Retrieval from Durham University.
Dries Buytaert is a co-founder and CTO of Acquia, but perhaps more important is his hand in creating the Drupal open source web publishing and collaboration platform. Buytaert serves as president of the Drupal Association, a non-profit organization designed to help Drupal flourish. Buytaert has a PhD in computer science and engineering from Ghent University.
John Carmack became CTO at Oculus VR in 2013, before the company was acquired by Facebook. Carmack still serves as CTO of Oculus. Prior to joining the virtual reality company, Carmack co-founded id Software as well as Armadillo Aerospace. At id, Carmack was the lead programmer on a number of hugely popular games, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and Rage.
Tom Conrad is the former CTO at Pandora Music and current Vice President of Product at Snapchat, Inc. Conrad holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan and has experience at such highly respected companies as Apple and Pets.com. With his range of experience in product development, Conrad is one to look towards as a trendsetter and thought leader in the startup tech space.
Doug Cook is the CTO of eProvenance, a company that provides technology to monitor temperature and humidity of wine and art during transportation. Prior to joining eProvenance, Cook was Director of Search at Twitter, and VP of Engineering at Yahoo!. Such a respected resume makes Cook a sought-after thought leader. Cook also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of California at Davis, where he won the College of Engineering medal as a top graduate.
Leah Culver is a co-founder and CTO at Breaker, Inc., an iOS app for listening to podcasts. Prior to joining Breaker, Culver worked at Dropbox and Medium.com. Culver is an author of OAuth 1.0 and wrote the first open source library (in Python) from the specification, in addition to being an author of oEmbed which is supported by websites such as Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo. Culver holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Sally Eaves is the CTO at Mind Fit in addition to being the Director of Innovation and Intraprenuership at Intrapreneur International. Eaves has worked as a consultant throughout the UK and holds a PhD in Online Media from Aston Business School. Eaves is recognized as a thought leader in emergent technology such as virtual reality and AI.
Chad Fowler is the CTO of Education, OneNote and Wunderlist at Microsoft, where he has worked since 2015. Fowler has a long technology resume, having worked at the likes of FedEx, GE, and LivingSocial. Perhaps surprisingly, before his technology career took off, Fowler studied music composition and jazz saxophone at the University of Memphis.
Dan Gaul is the co-founder and CTO of Digital Trends, a publisher of consumer-targeted websites. Gaul has also been a member of the Forbes Technology Council in addition to work at Microsoft and RealNetworks. Gaul studied programming and Thai at the University of Washington.
Mathias Golombek is the CTO at Exasol AG in Nurnberg, Germany. Exasol is a scalable in-memory analytic database. According to one LinkedIn review, Golombek is a strategic thinker who is "able to conceptualize ahead of the market, but also nimble enough to take Big Hairy Audacious Goals that deliver immediate market impact."
Brett Haase is the CTO and co-founder at Peapodicity, a STEM and STEAM educational technology company. Haase uses his large social media following to promote STEM and STEAM education, but also has a passion for politics, having taken a sabbatical from his tech companies to work on a governor's campaign in Illinois. Haase studied at Northern Illinois University, which was also the site of his first software consulting business.
David Heinemeier Hansson, who simplifies his name on Twitter to DHH, is the CTO of productivity and product management application company Basecamp. Hansson is somewhat of a celebrity in the web development world as the creator of the Ruby on Rails web development framework. In 2005, Ruby on Rails helped him be named "Hacker of the Year." Hansson is also widely known in the racing world, having participated in 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver.
Alice Hill currently acts as CTO of Kelleher International and President of Kelleher Digital, both branches of a longstanding matchmaking service. Before moving into this business, Hill worked as CTO of Classifieds at eBay in addition to stints at Maker Media, Slashdot Media, and Dice.com. Hill holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Sarah Lawrence and continued her studies at Oxford University.
Jez Humble is the founder and CTO of DevOps Research and Assessment in addition to being a lecturer at the University of California Berkeley. In addition to his tech credentials, Humble holds a Bachelor's Degree in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford as well as a Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London.
Charlie Isaacs is the CTO for Customer Connection at Salesforce, a cloud computing company. Isaacs has had a long career in technology, starting with a 15 year stint at GTE Government Systems. Since then, Isaacs has worked in engineering or as a CTO for a range of companies, in addition to his mentoring and volunteer work with organizations such as Black Girls CODE.
Sanjay Katkar is a co-founder and CTO at Quick Heal Technologies, an antivirus solutions provider. Katkar built and maintained the Quick Heal scanning engine on all platforms and now leads a team of engineers in further development. Katkar holds an MCS in Computer Science from the University of Pune in India.
Mark Russinovich is the CTO of Microsoft Azure, where he is also a Technical Fellow. Russinovich holds both a Bachelor's and a PhD in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Master's Degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Russinovich has also written two novels, in addition to technical nonfiction works.
Dharmesh Shah is the co-founder and CTO at the Boston-based marketing automation software company HubSpot. Shah founded HubSpot with fellow MIT Sloan School of Management graduate Brian Halligan. In 2013, Shah authored the HubSpot Culture Code, which has since earned more than 2.5 million views on SlideShare. Shah is extremely active in the Boston entrepreneur community where he is an angel investor as well as a speaker. Shah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Master of Science in the Management of Technology from MIT.
Rhonda Vetere is CTO of Global Infrastructure Services at Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., a global cosmetics conglomerate that include brands like Bobbi Brown, Clinique, and Jo Malone. Vetere has spent her career at large companies like Barclays, JPMorgan Chase and AIG. As far as education, Vetere hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Mason University and invests significant time in speaking as well as writing as a thought leader. Vetere is a published author and has received multiple accolades, including a place on the Top Women Executives in Cloud Technology 2014 list and being named the Top CIO/CTO Executive Leader in STEM.
It is impossible to talk about the technology space without mentioning Amazon. Amazon CTO and VP Werner Vogels has spent more than 12 years at the Seattle giant. Vogels has has a significant influence on the cloud computing branch of the Amazon business. A native of the Netherlands, he holds a PhD in computer science from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
On LinkedIn, Heather Wilde indicates that her job at ROCeteer is both CTO and Unicorn Whisperer. While we cannot be certain what the latter entails, her work as CTO is well documented. In addition to her "9 to 5" professional work, Wilde contributes to such diverse causes as Women's Startup Lab, the University of Nevada, and TED Conferences. Wilde holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Mathematics from St. John's College.
Dennis Yu has been CTO at BlitzMetrics, a creator of word of mouth marketing tools, for more than a decade. In addition to his work as CTO, Yu is decidedly a thought leader in the social media space, contributing to such sites as Social Media Examiner, Business 2 Community, and AdWeek.
Kevin Yu is a co-founder and CTO of Socedo, a company with the mission of bringing social leads to every business in the world. Yu is highly educated, with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Beijing Institute of Technology, a Master's Degree in Management Science from Peking University, a Master's Degree in Engineering from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from the University of Washington. Yu also works as a mentor with The Founder Institute.
Each of the members on this list has been chosen through research based on the following criteria: