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Attributes Of Technology Leaders

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Industry-Academia Collaborations

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.300.1 - 12.300.8



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Paper Authors


John Robertson Arizona State University

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John Robertson has been Professor of Microelectronics at ASU’s Polytechnic campus since 2001. He was previously a Program Director with Motorola. He serves on the JACMET Technical Advisory Board and delivers a number of courses in the Chief Engineer Certificate program.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Attributes of technology leaders


A consortium of companies and universities has developed a certificate to help prepare senior engineers to become technology executives. One of the learning outcomes is that the target jobs are very diverse and demanding. To qualify that outcome, the participating groups have prepared a list of the attributes they consider to be essential in a technical leader. The desired attributes can be broadly considered in four groups: personal features, communication ability, operational (management) capabilities and technical skills. The paper concentrates on personal attributes since they are essential to the successful application of the other skills. A simple process has been identified to develop the personal skills in early industry training and in academic technology programs.

Introduction and scope

Over the past 30 years, most high-technology companies have developed dual paths to technology leadership. One route is for technical specialists. It is often called a ‘Technical Ladder’ and it is a way to retain and recognize the depth of expertise needed for the business. The other path is through project management which requires broad experience in many contributing functions. The paths are represented in figure 1 which shows the trade-off between breadth and depth. New engineering or technology graduates enter the job market with specific discipline skills and would normally stay with that specialization unless they make a deliberate move into project management.

Project manager

Technology executive Breadth


New graduate

Depth Figure 1. Technical career path options

Robertson, J. (2007, June), Attributes Of Technology Leaders Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1780

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