High-tech careers: CIOs who took an alternative route to the top

Funky career choices can pack a competitive edge, as these four IT leaders can testify.

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A high school physics teacher. A hockey coach and referee. An intern at the National Science Foundation.

What do these seemingly disparate positions have in common? They were all early career choices for CIOs and CTOs who are now successfully immersed in IT strategy and technology leadership at major institutions, including a university, a commercial real estate company and a telecommunications start-up.

road not taken

Instead of following the traditional trajectory to a C-level tech position -- a computer science or engineering degree, followed by years of help desk work, programming and project management -- these tech leaders took an alternative route to the top IT spot.

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