Walking the talk


As a CTO, I want hands-on experience with the latest technology and techniques so that I can give my clients the best advice on digital transformation. Without that experience it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. It’s easy to get complacent about the rapid pace of change in the IT industry, especially since I serve client executives who don’t work hands-on with technology themselves. But the day you stop working with technology is the day you start getting out of touch. So I see it as my responsibility to keep my skills current.

I’m not the only one with this viewpoint. In fact, at DXC Technology we expect every one of our chief technologists to have hands-on experience with the latest technology and techniques regardless of whether they serve the smallest client or a multi-billion dollar organization.

Are your tech advisors doing this?

Let me give you a few examples of our selection criteria for chief technologists:

  • Do you know how to write user stories to develop requirements? Hint: The structure of a user story is “As a (type of user), I want (some goal) so that (some reason).” And yes, that is the structure of my opening sentence in the first paragraph.
  • Do you know how to capture and manage your user stories and issues, plan sprints and distribute tasks using Jira, ZenHub or a similar fit-for-purpose tool? Hint: It’s the experience that matters, not the specific tool.
  • Have you forked, updated and committed code in GitHub? Hint: This time the tool probably does matter, but not more than the experience.
  • Have you worked with scripts to perform simple IT automation — thereby ending repetitive tasks like cloud provisioning, improving speed and quality, and freeing up DevOps teams for more strategic work — using a tool like Ansible, Puppet or Chef? Hint: Once again it’s the experience that matters, not the specific tool.
  • Have you built digital recipes to orchestrate scripts and enable continuous integration and delivery using a tool like Jenkins, BitBucket or CircleCI? Hint: Once again it’s the experience that matters, not the specific tool.

These are the kinds of questions we ask to identify candidates who are qualified to be a chief technologist (they answer “yes” to every question) and those who are not. At DXC, these kinds of experiences are “table stakes.” Without them, a candidate just isn’t good enough to consider. Technology is changing too fast. It’s the fundamental driver of business transformation today. And that’s the business we’re in.

So the next time someone wants to give you advice on technology — whether they call themselves a CTO, and enterprise architect or a consultant — make sure to ask them a few of those questions. You’ll be glad you did.


Transforming to a digital enterprise

Accelerating digital transformation: Overcoming the illusion of expertise

Is there such a thing as too many questions?


  1. Wow this is amazingly informative!


  2. Michael, Absolutely! Python/Java or Go 4 u?


  3. Go for me.


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