Career Paths: Higher Education CIOs


In the 2015 ECAR IT Workforce Survey, we asked respondents to share information about their past and current careers, as well as about their future career plans (n = 1,188). These data provide insight about the pipeline to key IT positions and the probable career trajectories for the current IT workforce. In this third interactive report, we use data on respondents’ previous two jobs (e.g., CIO, other executive, information security, academic computing, networks and systems, research computing, administrative IT, service delivery, desktop services, application development, analytics, design) to identify the general paths they took to arrive at their present CIO positions. Additionally, we explore the general paths higher education CIOs expect to take over the course of their next two positions.*

Key Findings

In terms of historical career paths, two main trends are apparent in our data:

The future career paths of higher education IT CIOs are more difficult to pin down:

EDUCAUSE IT Workforce Research: Focusing on Our People and Professions

This interactive graphic is part of the IT Workforce in Higher Education, 2016 research series, which includes interactive graphics on the career paths of higher education IT professionals and reports on IT leadership. The research helps colleges and universities reinvest in the IT workforce by defining professional competencies and laying the foundation for tools that can guide professional development and career planning.

* The smallest categories—research computing and design—were collapsed into “Other or don’t know” for this graphic. Also included in the “Other or don’t know” category are IT consultant and managed services positions, IT student workers, and non-IT positions. For more information on non-executive positions, see the interactive report on Career Paths: Higher Education IT Sectors.