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Top Feeders to Tech and Silicon Valley

Updated July 2021

Many young coders, programmers, and designers dream of one day being welcomed into an elite Silicon Valley company where the future of the world’s technology is conceived and developed. In addition to being at the heart of American innovation, those who land jobs at prestigious tech firms enjoy high salaries and countless workplace amenities like, for example, Google’s famed free food, climbing walls, and lavish parties. In order to maximize your chances of personally enjoying these types of perks, you will want to consider undergraduate institutions that have direct pipelines to the premier companies within the technology sector.

To identify “top feeders” in the tech world, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of approximately 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 44,000 entry-level engineering and information technology employees across fifteen of the most reputable American tech companies, including Adobe, AirBnB, Apple, DocuSign, Github, Google, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, NVIDIA, SalesForce, Slack, and Twitter . We then constructed two lists. The first list looks at the raw number of alumni employed by this select group. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but that still send a significant number of graduates directly to these prestigious companies.

Finally, we identified two top employers for each institution. The first top employer is the tech company employing the most undergraduate alumni from a particular school. The second top employer is the tech company with the highest share of employees from that undergraduate school. For example, Carnegie Mellon's first top employer is Google, because more CMU (undergraduate) alumni work at Google than at any of the other ten tech companies. Carnegie Mellon's second top employer is LinkedIn because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at LinkedIn than they do at any other company in our analysis. If a school's second top employer and first top employer are the same, we indicate the tech company with the second highest share of employees instead. Measuring both total graduates employed and the institutional share of a company’s employees allows us to identify schools offering the best pipelines to smaller yet highly prestigious tech firms, such as LinkedIn and Adobe, which may draw heavily from one particular institution but wouldn't otherwise make an institution's list of top employers because of their relatively small size.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total employed)

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1,224GoogleAirbnb
2University of California, Berkeley1,003GoogleLyft
3University of Southern California964GoogleLinkedIn
4Georgia Institute of Technology894MicrosoftHubSpot
5University of Washington752MicrosoftDocuSign
6University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign650GoogleTwitter
7Stanford University634GoogleSlack
8University of Waterloo 610GoogleSlack
9University of California, San Diego600GoogleLyft
10University of California, Los Angeles577GoogleLinkedIn
11University of Michigan512GoogleLyft
12Columbia University507GoogleAirbnb
13Cornell University491GoogleLyft
14University of Texas at Austin457GoogleApple
15Northeastern University381MicrosoftLinkedIn
16Purdue University369MicrosoftSalesforce
17Massachusetts Institute of Technology360GoogleHubSpot
18University of California, Irvine328GoogleLinkedIn
19New York University322GoogleLinkedIn
20University of Toronto318GoogleTwitter
21University of Pennsylvania306GoogleSlack
22San Jose State University300GoogleApple
23University of British Columbia248MicrosoftSlack
24Duke University234MicrosoftAirbnb
25University of Maryland229MicrosoftAirbnb
26University of California, Davis215GoogleAirbnb
27Brown University212GoogleTwitter
28Harvard University199GoogleAirbnb
29University of Virginia192MicrosoftGoogle
30University of Wisconsin, Madison186GoogleTwitter

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1,224GoogleAirbnb
2Stanford University634GoogleSlack
3California Institute of Technology82GoogleApple
4Harvey Mudd College74GoogleLyft
5Columbia University507GoogleAirbnb
6Massachusetts Institute of Technology360GoogleHubSpot
7Georgia Institute of Technology894MicrosoftHubSpot
8University of Southern California964GoogleLinkedIn
9Rice University176GoogleAirbnb
10Duke University234MicrosoftAirbnb
11Princeton University179GoogleLyft
12University of California, Berkeley1,003GoogleLyft
13Cornell University491GoogleLyft
14Brown University212GoogleTwitter
15University of Pennsylvania306GoogleSlack
16Harvard University199GoogleAirbnb
17University of Washington752MicrosoftDocuSign
18Santa Clara University118GoogleAirbnb
19Northwestern University175GoogleLyft
20Northeastern University381MicrosoftLinkedIn
21Swarthmore College33GoogleTwitter
22Yale University119GoogleTwitter
23University of California, San Diego600GoogleLyft
24University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign650GoogleTwitter
25Washington University 145GoogleLinkedIn
26Johns Hopkins University101GoogleLInkedIn
27University of California, Los Angeles577GoogleLInkedIn
28University of Waterloo 610GoogleSlack
29University of Chicago108GoogleLyft
30University of Michigan512GoogleLyft
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