Top Feeders to Tech and Silicon Valley

Updated July 2022

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 175 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 70,000 entry-level engineering and information technology employees across 12 of the most reputable American tech companies, including Snap, AirBnB, Meta, DocuSign, Stripe, Google, HubSpot, LinkedIn,  Microsoft, SalesForce, Twilio, 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 Dropbox because its graduates comprise a larger share of all employees at Dropbox 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 Meta, 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 University1,356GoogleDropbox
2University of Southern California1,252GoogleSnap
3University of California, Berkeley1,212GoogleStripe
4Georgia Institute of Technology1,094MicrosoftTwitter
5University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign877GoogleDrppbox
6University of Washington876MicrosoftDocuSign
7University of California, San Diego795GoogleTwitter
8University of Waterloo 793GoogleStripe
9University of California, Los Angeles704GoogleSnap
10Stanford University661GoogleAirbnb
11Columbia University651GoogleLinkedIn
12University of Michigan632GoogleMeta
13Cornell University612GoogleStripe
14Northeastern University604GoogleHubSpot
15University of Texas at Austin578GoogleMeta
16University of California, Irvine482GoogleSnap
17San Jose State University470GoogleLinkedIn
18Purdue University469MicrosoftSalesforce
19University of Toronto466GoogleStripe
20New York University464GoogleSnap
21Massachusetts Institute of Technology405GoogleStripe
22University of Pennsylvania352GoogleSnap
23University of California, Davis333GoogleLinkedIn
24North Carolina State University329GoogleLinkedIn
25University of Maryland309GoogleDrppbox
26Duke University304GoogleDropbox
27Harvard University260GoogleMeta
28University of Wisconsin, Madison249GoogleSnap
29University of Virginia244MicrosoftDropbox
30Brown University236GoogleStripe

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer (Total)Top Employer (Share)
1Carnegie Mellon University1,356GoogleDropbox
2Columbia University651GoogleLinkedIn
3Stanford University661GoogleAirbnb
4Massachusetts Institute of Technology405GoogleStripe
5California Institute of Technology78GoogleAirbnb
6Harvey Mudd College72GoogleTwilio
7Georgia Institute of Technology1,094MicrosoftTwitter
8University of Southern California1,252GoogleSnap
9Rice University235GoogleAirbnb
10Harvard University260GoogleMeta
11Duke University304GoogleDropbox
12Cornell University612GoogleStripe
13Northeastern University604GoogleHubSpot
14University of California, Berkeley1,212GoogleStripe
15University of Pennsylvania352GoogleSnap
16Princeton University170GoogleDropbox
17Brown University236GoogleStripe
18Santa Clara University180GoogleAirbnb
19Northwestern University226GoogleDocuSign
20University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign877GoogleDropbox
21Swarthmore College36GoogleMeta
22University of California, San Diego795GoogleTwitter
23University of Washington876MicrosoftDocuSign
24Yale University115GoogleMeta
25Washington University183GoogleLinkedIn
26Johns Hopkins University143GoogleMeta
27University of Chicago156GoogleTwitter
28University of California, Los Angeles704GoogleSnap
29University of Waterloo 793GoogleStripe
30University of Michigan632GoogleMeta
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